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Ah yes, The Black Eyed Peas. A definite part of mainstream music, as anyone hearing their songs constantly spammed on the radio can attest to. Being forced to listen to their inane lyrics and rap music repeatedly made me develop a morbid fascination with them, and thus this liveblog will chronicle their history through their individual tracks. We shall begin with their first single, Falling Up, from their debut album Behind the Front. If you wish to follow along, here's the song.
My first reaction to this song is amazement at how different their style used to be from what they are today. This is their debut "I Am" Song, and what a song. The music video shows them as frontiersmen and indeed the lyrics talk about them innovating and exploring new frontiers in hip-hop while not being fakes like the establishment. Yes, quite the aneurysm moment considering what they have become now, but I'll be interested in checking out more of their older songs.
I plan on covering their singles at minimum, but if anyone would like to see other songs on display or even the members' individual albums, I'll be willing to oblige.
You are a brave, brave man for this.
I sure hope you have cotton swabs and tissues at the ready...
There will be ear pain going on! Imma be. Imma be. Imma bee, bee, bee.
♪I gotta feeling that this liveblog's gonna be a good one...♪
♪That this liveblog's gonna be a good one...♪
♪That this liveblog's gonna be a good, good one...♪
Didn't thay do a song with Macey Grey way back when?
edited 24th May '10 4:55:05 PM by Marky_Markk
It will be a while before I get to the shitty stuff, but just you wait and see what I'm going to do with all that junk inside their trunk when I do.
Anyways, their next single from Behind the Front, Joints and Jam. It's all about the rhythm. Literally. It's repetitive, but catchy, like their recent output, except actually good. At face value, it may sound inane, but when you actually pay attention to the lyrics, there's an anti-discrimination undercurrent concerning how everyone can be united in jamming to the music. It's not overly Anvilicious, but their passion is evident. This was one of the major themes of their music, but alas we all know their Motive Decay is a foregone conclusion.
The music video is kind of weird, though. The band gets their faces stuck to the screen at various points while Kim Hall simply stands in the centre grooving during her turn. At some point, the song suddenly changes to an instrumental and the Peas change their tune to a different version of Falling Up. I can't comprehend all this, but I suspect I don't have to.
edited 27th May '10 6:18:01 PM by Cliche
Ain't no runnin' from:
The music video is quite unsettling. It takes place in a busy hospital with will.i.am, bleeding on his shoulder, walking by and being pushed around. Medical personnel come in to condemn him throughout the song, and it even samples the lyrics of "One Way or Another". The video concludes with will.i.am falling on the ground, struggling to move. Yeah, High Octane Nightmare Fuel right there.
Next time, we'll be Bridging the Gap with their next album.
edited 6th Jun '10 12:54:32 PM by Cliche
Bridging the Gap. An oddly appropriate name. After all, Elephunk comes next bringing that fourth vocalist we all know and not necessarily like. Considering that they're still a relatively under-the-radar entity at this point, it's odd that they'd release BEP Empire acting like they're on the top of the world, but eh. Might as well enjoy their enthusiasm.
Here we have a parody Infomercial advertising hip-hop. The most amusing part of the video is the part with "Gold Fronts" which "actually look like real gold and real diamonds!" while making a person look hideous. In fact, much of the lyrics, including an entire verse, is dedicated as a Take That! to sell outs. Easy, guys.
There's sampling of "Joints and Jam" and "Falling Up", since it's a song about them. Speaking of which, I find it unnecessary considering they already did a song like this, and this one seems too proud, like they let the fame get to them. Well, we still have a couple of singles from this album of merely moderate success.
edited 9th Jun '10 7:00:29 PM by Cliche
The next single of Bridging The Gap: Weekend featuring Esthero on the chorus. Will.I.Am is a working guy getting a four day weekend and deciding to spend it partying at the club with his buddies. Pretty simple and self-explanatory. The Peas are moving and Esthero plays the club singer grooving in skimpy clothing.
Finally, we come to the main attraction of the album, the one with Macy Grey: Request + Line. It's a song about the radio and calling on the line to request a favourite song. The music video is, in a word, trippy. The Black Eyed Peas dance to random colourful lights and Macy is in a room acting the DJ. It's catchy, and the band's love of music really shines through. It's the purest expression of how their favourite topic to rap about is rap itself.
Well, we've crossed the bridge, and now it's on to Elephunk next time. Let's see what's in store with the new member of the...oh crap◊.
To be perfectly fair to the Peas, Elephunk wasn't quite as bad as some people say. It's when you get into the albums after that where things start to hit a downward slide. I blame "My Humps".
edited 13th Jun '10 6:15:18 PM by WillyFourEyes
The first time I heard about the Black Eyed Peas, it was in a Dr Pepper commercial. It was very strange, hearing people talk about them and how they were (then) "alternative" hip-hop.
I never liked Request Line...
But that was a long time ago
After the mediocre performance of their previous two albums, the Black Eyed Peas decided to reluctantly go more mainstream. The result: Elephunk. The difference? Fifty-three chart positions from 67 to 14 in the U.S. And since this was 2003 (though it began development in late 2001), what could be more mainstream than an anti-war song? Thus, their first single: Where Is The Love? with Justin Timberlake singing in the chorus.
Obviously, the lyrics are targeted against George W. Bush's War On Terror and later, the Iraq War, pointing out that the USA has its own "terrorists" like the CIA and the KKK and the government withholds the truth of the war from the public. The third verse also speaks out against pursuit of money over all else and negative media images. The music video features question marks placed everywhere as a motif while the Peas preach love with, naturally, children, ending with everyone looking up at their "one world". It's derivative, somewhat naive, and still an alright song. At least their heart is in the right place. Nonetheless, the later songs in the album are significantly more upbeat and thus creates some Mood Whiplash, but I'll write about them in the next entries.
edited 15th Jun '10 7:16:04 PM by Cliche
Next in the album, we have Shut Up, your standard breakup song. As a metaphor for the drama, the music video is a stage performance with Fergie as the lead singer and her arguing with will.i.am. I remember finding that chorus of repeated "Shut Up" phrases annoying when I first heard it, but not I simply don't care for the song.
Opening with a bad Italian accent is the third single, Hey Mama, set to a psychedelic background and featuring much dirty dancing. This is their first explicitly sexual song, and of course, there's a lot more where that came from.
I remember when Shut Up came out.
People would NOT stop singing it...
That's precisely why I have such an issue with them. If it weren't for their omnipresence at dances and on radios, I wouldn't mind their more irritating songs as much.
We arrive at the last single of Elephunk: Let's Get It Started. Originally known as "Let's Get Retarded", the title and according lyrics were changed for obvious reasons, but the idea remains the same. Don't Think. Feel is the message, and along with the underlying drunk undertones, this was made to be ideal for parties. It's catchy, silly, and I find it enjoyable. Of course, the opening makes me question Fergie's singing ability, but at least overall in this album she was a more integrated presence compared to the later albums.
Next time, we listen to Monkey Business. Yes, this is the one with their most infamous song, but luckily I don't have to put up with it immediately.
edited 17th Jun '10 6:58:57 PM by Cliche
Now we move on to Monkey Business, and wow, they've really overdosed on the silly love songs.
The first single is Don't Phunk With My Heart, apparently a dating game show parody of The Price Is Right. The guy Peas all attempt to score with Fergie while Voodoo sabotages their efforts and she sings about whether they would still be loyal after the initial date.
The second single, Don't Lie, has the guys confess and apologize for lying to Fergie and flirting with other girls. Fergie just keeps repeating "No, no, no, no baby, no, no, no, no don't lie". Yeah, it's pretty similar to the first song in the idea.
Fergie now seems like less of a band member and more like The Wesley, constantly hogging the chorus sections while merely having the guys reduced to fapping to her. It's quite a shift from their old style, but I suppose that's what sells. After all, this album peaked at #2, even higher than #14 for Elephunk.
edited 19th Jun '10 11:11:54 AM by Cliche
So they're trying to make Fergie a Ms. Fanservice?
So it's come to this. I am now writing about My Humps. If you dare click here, brace yourself for certain psychological damage afterwards.
This...sound is the nadir. The lowest point in the entire Black Eyed Peas discography. It is innuendo pushed past the apex; one of the definitive examples of Erection Rejection's existence. This Ear Worm inspires not arousal, but mind-numbing embarrassment.
There is nothing subtle about this or the accompanying music video. You hear the dreaded words "My Humps" and "my lovely lady lumps" repeated ad nauseam in the chorus, and they even say the words "breast" and "ass". Speaking of which, after you watch the dancers shamelessly flaunt them, you will not want to ogle at female body parts for days. The verses are just as horrid, revelling in the hypocrisy of singing and dancing so erotically yet claiming to not desire the men's attention. According to our Parody Failure page, it was supposed to be mocking this kind of stuff. "Infinitely stupider than its source material" is too nice!
Fortunately, there is a much better version of the song out there, courtesy of Alanis Morissette. There's something to make one proud to be Canadian.
We now come to the final single of Monkey Business, though it is the first song of the album: Pump It. Now this is more like it. Sure, it's another ego song, but it at least has a good beat to it, and more importantly, it's not My Humps. The lyrics basically say "Haters hate on us because we're awesome and they're envious" and to drive the point home, the band engages in a series of dance battles with them effortlessly winning. Okay, this is the standard "Haters gonna hate" schtick of hip-hop, but that's not really the issue I have. Regardless, it's high-energy and enthusiastic, making it enjoyable to listen to despite being Misirlou with BEP lyrics.
Next update, it's the beginning of The E.N.D.
Oh, they Jumped the Shark long before then (though Elephunk was more Franchise Original Sin), but this album is indeed an all-time low for them.
So now we arrive at The E.N.D., an acronym for The Energy Never Dies. Apparently it's supposed to break away from the concept of an album by making it a diary of music and it features more "electronic, soulful" sounds. Pretty deep sounding stuff, but what does it really amount to in practice?
Well, if the first single, Boom Boom Pow, is any indication, it amounts to including more of that annoying repetition and Fergie's vocals that made My Humps so widely reviled. Of course, that won a Grammy and was a #1 hit, So Yeah.
The entire chorus consists of "Boom Boom Boom" to an electronic beat, which gets irritating fast. The verses essentially brag about how futuristic their music is (really? Synthesizeritis does not good futuristic music make, and that was omnipresent already in the 80's) and features some of the worst Fergie vocals to date. Admittedly the music video is weirdly intriguing with the touch screen at the beginning and the crazy images though.
For the record, this was the song that inspired me to write this liveblog, considering I had to hear this damn tune constantly at the dorm.
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