Black Eyed Peas — TRANSLATION — Album Review
Dance Pop | Electronic | Dance | Latino Pop
The majority of people reading this article, would probably remember Black Eyed Peas most fondly when think back to the days of their 2000’s work. Albums such as 2003’s Elephunk, 2005’s Monkey Business, and 2009’s THE E.N.D were all absolute icons of my childhood soundtrack.
However, everything was seemingly going south for the formerly four piece group, when they began to feel a bit gimmicky and trend-hopping with the likes of their early 2010’s dance-heavy material.
But after a long hiatus, and the exit of vocalist Fergie, the 2018 album, and the Peas’ first in eight years, MASTERS OF THE SUN VOL.1, did a really good job of rekindling the old-school Black Eyed Peas aesthetic, while fusing it with their more newfound aesthetic, ultimately making the album feel like a perfect balance of old and new, and making me hopeful that the group have still got what it takes, despite the changes they had been through.
But fast-forward to June 2020, and we now have the second full-length record to come out of the Black Eyed Peas’ return from an almost decade long break, titled TRANSLATION. It arrived to me completely out of the blue it seemed, as the two teasers for this album had apparently slipped away from my complete attention.
I’m guessing that this albums title is linked to the fact that the trio have chosen to take a Latino-pop approach to this album. And given that the Peas now consist of an African American, a Filipino, and a Californian whose parent both came from Mexico, it seemed as if they should have no trouble pulling something like this off.
But the sad truth about this album, was that after one short skim-through, I knew that the Peas have reverted back to their trend-hopping selves.
And while this may sound like its going against my point that the Peas should be able to execute something like this well, it seemed clear that they wanted to make this sound as accessible as humanly possible. And while I would agree that it was a smart move to release such an upbeat album in the height of summer, I feel that it is far from a project with any real soul or care put into it. As a result, my hopes that Black Eyed Peas were beginning to make a real comeback were flipped completely on its head after just a brief listen of TRANSLATION.
After forcing myself to delve a little deeper into the album, I was only left more confused, with a jumble of tracks titled in either Spanish or English, with the use of different language covering the lyrics as well. And while I would normally appreciate a mixture of different languages on one album, the Peas have just sort of spilled both onto the foundations of this project, and have left them in their jumbled state.
Even the over-abundance of featured artists, which include the likes of Shakira, French Montana, Tyga, and many more, don’t save this albums sound from being extremely generic, which is a massive sin in itself.
But that just about hits the nail perfectly on the head; the best way to describe TRANSLATION would undoubtedly be “generic”. There’s very little in the way of passion or colour to be found on this project at all, and this left me disappointed to say the least.
The moral of the story is, I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that Black Eyed Peas are far more enjoyable when they aren’t jumping on the latest music trend, and are instead developing their own signature brand.
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