Album: Black Eyed Peas, The Beginning (Interscope)

Hands in the air if you care to join the joyless party

There's something fiendish about Black Eyed Peas.

I first became aware of it when I noticed that the intro to "I Gotta Feeling" was calculatedly recorded at the perfect pitch and frequency to work as a ringtone on a mobile phone. And, once you've noticed it, you can't notice anything else about them: a relentlessly efficient stadium-pop hit machine into which market data can be fed, and the optimum product pops out the other end.

Consider current single "The Time (Dirty Bit)", which blatantly resulted from the question "How can we make a song that women on hen nights will love to sing along to when they're drunk?" A few whirrs and bleeps later, the answer comes: you take Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes' "I've Had the Time of My Life", chop it up, stick an electro beat underneath and watch the megabucks roll in. The resulting monster even nicks the "swagger/Jagger" rhyme from Kesha's "Tik Tok" and the "mirror mirror on the wall" bit from De La Soul's "Buddy", a policy of shameless thievery which continues on to track two "Light Up the Night" which is built on a sustained synth chord from Montell Jordan's "This is How We Do It".

Lord knows I'm no opponent of sampling, but it's only honourable to add something new to the musical gene pool while you're at it. Similarly, "Love You Long Time" sees will.i.am laying that Full Metal Jacket quote over KC and the Sunshine Band's "Give it Up", and so it continues.

Another three whole tracks on The Beginning, the follow-up to the world-conquering The E.N.D. (see what they did there?) pass by unnoticed, until they're dipping into a greater artist's pockets once again: "Fashion Beats" samples Chic's "My Forbidden Lover". Did Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson die for this? Elsewhere, they namecheck "Mr Roboto" by Styx and borrow from "Rockafeller Skank" by Fatboy Slim.

When they resort to plagiarising themselves ("I got intuition, tonight's gonna be a good good exhibition..."), pop truly starts to eat itself.

The sixth BEP album is typified by the unremitting thud of "Don't Stop the Party" (six minutes long, feels like 60). It's as though they're gripped by a joyless determination to create The Greatest Party Album in the World... Ever! That never-ending autotune, those rhythmic volume-surges, cannot be stopped. It's like having an aerobics lesson from a Dalek.

Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk