The Black Eyed Peas keep the party going with The Beginning, the follow-up to last year’s hit parade The E.N.D. Fergie, will.i.am, Taboo, and apl.de.ap serve up more funky beats and catchy hooks that are bound to keeping rocking well into 2011. Did next year’s Super Bowl halftime performers score a touchdown with critics? Find out below.
USA Today: The group’s newest concoction of spacey funk dance ditties is more like a live wire pointlessly sparking all over the place. The incessant thumping rhythms may find currency in the clubs and even on the radio, so long as you don’t listen to the banal lyrics too closely. 2 out of 4
Entertainment Weekly: If there’s a more germane complaint to be leveled at The Beginning, it’s that nothing here quite reaches the euphoric heights of The E.N.D.’s “I Gotta Feeling” or “Boom Boom Pow.” Still, standouts like “Don’t Stop the Party” come close. B+
Rolling Stone: With the Peas, you gotta take the inane good with the inane bad. And when they hit the right note of airhead, air-punching majesty—just check out the gorgeous “I Gotta Feeling”-style glide of “Play It Loud”—the good can be kind of inescapable. 3 out of 5
The New York Times: So it’s a much lesser record than The E.N.D., and yet it isn’t boring, even when the echoes of old songs are more than echoes. “Fashion Beats” hijacks Chic’s “My Forbidden Lover” as its backing track, and Fergie imitates the vocal timbre, rapping style and attitude of Debbie Harry from Blondies “Rapture.”
SPIN: Peas leader will.i.am mixes up house and disco beats, Chic and Slick Rick samples, wonky Moog hooks, crunchy guitars, and ’70s funk bass into one of the year’s wildest sonic stews. 7 out of 10
Chicago Tribune: Without huge sing-along moments clobbering listeners between the ears, the Peas’ limitations become more apparent. The vocals are slathered in Auto-Tune. The rhymes are simplistic or silly. And the music’s reliance on rhythmic and lyrical repetition becomes wearying. 1.5 out of 4
New York Daily News: Admittedly, the results have a certain zippy charm. Essentially, they present the Black Eyed Peas as the Kool and the Gang of this generation, spitting out celebratory dance hits not for actual club fans but for every bar mitzvah and wedding for eons to come. 3 out of 5
Boston Herald: Slightly less straight than last year’s The E.N.D., the Peas’ latest tracks inch toward edgier territory, and it’s a bad move: The electro-banger, wannabe gangsta “Do It Like This” is lame and unbelievable. The band is better when it subdues arty ambitions in favor of pop candy (see “Fashion Beats,” “Someday”). B-
The Washington Post: It grates as often as it entertains, but it does entertain, never missing an opportunity to bludgeon where it might caress. Parts of it are god-awful. Actually, most of it is.
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Light Up the Night,” “Love You Long Time,” “Someday”