Some months ago, the Black Eyed Peas made a very discreet comeback with their Apple music release, Yesterday. The end of the hiatus of this mega hip-hop group is something we had all been eagerly waiting for. For me, the feeling was beyond just “eager”. A quick look at my various playlists would show that this group clearly dominates. Never mind the quality of the comeback song (we will come back to that later), I was deeply saddened by the absence of Fergie on this single, much like most of the Black Eyed Peas fans. As I will discuss later in the article, she was the one who completed the group and gave them the sound that took them to the top.
Lets briefly rewind back to the beginning of not the album, but the inception of BEP. From 1995 till the addition of Fergie in 2003, the group released three albums, none of which worked. The continuous regrouping, additions and departures finally led to the addition of Fergie and Black Eyed Peas as we know them today were formed. Their album Elephunk was an introduction to their newly acquired style and and a peek into what would become of the group in later years. Where Is The Love, their first big hit was the first time they made music that could be appreciated, in my opinion. This was, of course, with a little help from the then rising pop sensation Justin Timberlake. Not every song on the album was as head bangingly good as the others, but I feel they accomplished a great deal with Elephunk. They found themselves, their true sound which they had been looking for over the past several years. Having started out as Atban Klann, The Black Eyed Peas were now complete and they had Fergie to thank.
For whatever reasons, the group took a hiatus right after they reached the peak of their success with their next album in 2005. I think Monkey Business was the group’s way of teasing their fans who, by now, were plenty crazy. This is what made them a perpetual dweller of the charts all over the world. By now the Black Eyed Peas had become the new big thing. With songs like Pump It, My Humps, Bebot etc. the group showed the world they were here to stay. Then, mockingly, the members went ahead and took a break from Black Eyed Peas. Fortunately, it was not a hiatus from making music. We were treated to some more delicious music in the form of the members’ solo work. Fergie’s The Dutchess and Will.I.Am’s various productions and collaborations must not go unmentioned here.
Skipping over the (first) hiatus, and forwarding to the release of their next record breaking release, The E.N.D, a rather misleading abbreviation considering it stands for Energy Never Dies. The sound of the Black Eyed Peas had changed. They had been producing their own music, and this, combined with their older sound, gave us their modified sound in 2009. We see a little more of electro and a little more of auto-tune. However, this is not something that the faithful fans of the group minded and they continued to own their place on the charts. I am not someone who usually goes by the charts. For me, what was more important was that the group I had grew up listening to was back on the scene. I see these changes as something they did to cope up with the overall change in the music industry at the time, and also to make an impactful comeback and I really admire them for that. For me, Boom Boom Pow remains one of the all time favourite BEP songs.
They went a little further with the next album, The Beginning. From taking tidbits from the Dirty Dancing classic, to greatly auto-tuning Fergie’s vocals, it sounds like they were going all out to fit in with the pop music of the time, having almost completely abandoned their earlier R&B influences. It does seem to work on some tracks, but at some other places it just sounds a little too stretched. Maybe they were exhausted, or they had finally had had enough (get it?), but they went for a second hiatus without giving any hints as to what the future of the group would be.
Coming back to where we started, they released their comeback single. Even though I was very happy with the news, but like everything else that raises your hopes high, Yesterday was a little disappointing. It is a mélange of every possible sound borrowed from other artists, with hardly any structure. Moreover, there is no Black Eyed Peas with no Fergie. The rap is all good but where are the mind-blowing Black Eyed Peas beats? Even Iggy Azalea could make music like this.
I am really glad that the group is working together again but I wont consider it a comeback until I hear something like Lets Get It Started or any other from the huge pile of great Black Eyed Peas songs.