The Beginning

by: The Black Eyed Peas

Described by the band alternately as “a fresh new perspective” and “the beginning of a new era of Pea world domination” and “what is actually happening in the world right now,” The Beginning inevitably follows The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies), which boasted the number one single in America -- either “Boom Boom Pow” or “I Gotta Feeling” -- during fully half of 2009, including every single summer day (and then some). Although the lead single here prominently samples an ‘80s touchstone, and on the cover the Peas are displayed as pixelated preteens, Nintendo fashion, The Beginning isn’t a nostalgia trip. Barring a Slick Rick or Chic sample here and a Mr. Roboto reference there (plus buckets of hi-res synth driving the productions), nothing else directly evokes the ‘80s. As on their last two LPs, it’s heavily reliant on nightclub anthems and will.i.am’s throwback rapping, alongside Auto-Tune harmonies and waves of synth. David Guetta appears on only one track, but his production job for 2009’s “I Gotta Feeling” casts a long shadow on this record of don’t-stop-the-party jams and club-life tracks. It leads off with a pumping first single, “The Time (Dirty Bit),” built off “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” the inescapable duet by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes from 1987’s Dirty Dancing. Other highlights include that lone David Guetta production, “The Best One Yet (The Boy),” and “Don’t Stop the Party.” ~ John Bush

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