Here's all you need to know: in the Black Eyed Peas' vision of the future, everyone has a Vocoder and a video game. Their new album, "The E.N.D.," sounds like it was made inside of a Pac Man machine inhabited by a kid who just got his new Garageband software update. It's proof that will.i.am saves all of his best stuff for everyone else. Yes, we can, will. Yes, we can.
Four years have passed since the Peas' last album, and the time off has morphed them from mere band to marketing machine. "The E.N.D." isn't just an album... it's a summer event. Or at least that's what we should believe.
No doubt, the last four years have been kind to Black Eyed Peas, Inc. will.i.am helped get Obama elected, Fergie married pretty boy Josh Duhamel, and apl.de.ap started a foundation aimed at helping Filipino youth. No one can doubt nor deny their goodwill or big hearts. I only wish they spent some of the time off working on songs.
"The E.N.D." is full of wannabe electronic dance voyeurism. The band has decided to reinvent itself as a multicultural Daft Punk or Presets (an Australian electronic duo whom apparently caught the ear and fascination of will.i.am). Daft Punk or Presets they are not. The album sounds like an overcrowded '80s dance club disc skipping under a dirty turntable needle.
And apparently no one had time to write lyrics either. Who needs lyrics? Lyrics get in the way. In fact, most electronic bands don't bother with lyrics at all. I get that. I respect that. Some of my favorite songs are instrumentals. But if you're gonna go to the trouble of printing a CD booklet filled with LYRICS, they should be a step up from the mindless drivel and Hallmark platitudes that fill "The E.N.D." Stuff like:
"I gotta feeling/That tonight's gonna be a good night/That tonight's gonna be a good night/That tonight's gonna be a good night/That tonight's gonna be a good good night"
"I spent my time just thinkin, thinkin', thinkin' bout you/Every single day yes, I'm really missin', missin' you/And all those things we used to, used to, used to do"
Copy-paste-copy-paste. It's an album written and recorded with the CTRL-X, CTRL-C, and CTRL-V keys. You try it at home. Anyone can do it.
Maybe that's the idea. Maybe "The E.N.D." is about the democratization of music. Thoughts, riffs, and sounds so basic and banal in their execution that no one has to feel fame and fortune are beyond their reach. Emotional intelligence, sincerity, or maturity not needed (another relief). Only problem? Wardrobe. This music requires serious wardrobe. Oh well, there goes my theory. Who can afford the clothes Fergie wears?
I guess it is the end.
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