Album: The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D. (Polydor)

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The Independent Culture

The title apparently stands for "The Energy Never Dies",'s response to what he perceives as the end of a music industry "paradigm", but which is simply a shift in retailing structure.

Claiming "there is no album any more" when "you can put 12 songs on iTunes and people can pick at it like scabs", his response is to offer 16 songs instead – though to call these slim sketches songs is to bestow a dignity they don't deserve. The Peas overdo the auto-tuned vocals chronically, raising Fergie to chipmunk chirp on "Rock That Body" and rarely letting a line pass without robotising it, offering accidental ironic counterpoint to sentiments like "you make me feel alive". Contrary to Fergie's claim on "Boom Boom Pow" that "I'm so 3008, you so 2000-and-late", their supposedly innovative electro-beat stylings are tired, only exposing on tracks such as "Ring-A-Ling" the kind of airhead babble with which they helped transform hip-hop from urban bush telegraph to nursery-rhyme chant. Most embarrassing is "Now Generation", on which "Wi-Fi, podcast ... MySpace, your space, Facebook is a new place" sounds like your dad desperately trying to appear hip. A new place? Where have they been the past decade?

Download this: 'Boom Boom Pow', 'I Gotta Feeling'