I dug the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” when I first heard it a month back, but its pulsing dance-floor energy has really grown on me since then, to the point where I regularly play it on repeat. Seems like I’m not alone on that: “Boom Boom Pow” is the No. 1 song at the iTunesMusic Store as I write this, one day after its rush digital release.
The Peas told me all about their latest hit’s genesis when I spent some time with them in Miami this past weekend. “I love etymology,” will.i.am explains. “I love words. First it was ‘Boom Boom Boom.’ But in Fergie’s verse, she says, ‘I like that boom boom pow,’ and that stuck out to me.” Will says the potent phrase inspired him to craft a beat that switches up midway through the song. “The structure of the song is actually the title of the song. We hit you with the boom, boom in the first verse and the chorus. The pow is at the end, when [Fergie] goes, ‘will.i.am, drop the beat now!'”
The Peas also discussed their decision to treat their vocals with the robotic Auto-Tune effect. “I was like, if the lyrics suggest that we’re on some 3008 s—, and I got that future flow, [the vocals] should have Auto-Tune, because computers are going to rule even more than they are now,” says Will. “[Auto-Tune] is definitely the zeitgeist of music right now. You don’t ignore it, because then you’re not relevant.”
Fergie chimes in: “For me, I was worried a little bit that we were all going to sound computer-generated. Sometimes on the radio I can’t tell who it is, because everyone’s using [Auto-Tune]. But Will was very cognizant of that. He did it very tastefully, so that it adds some flavor to it, but without taking away the personality.”
I also got the chance to hear a handful of other new tunes that suggested June 9’s The E.N.D. will dig even deeper into the banging electro sound of “Boom Boom Pow.” Though sequencing and track selection aren’t close to done yet, expect miles of layered dance beats to back up the Peas’ trademark fizzy flows and brassy hooks. “This beat be bumpin’, bumpin’/this beat go boom, boom,” Will sings on their current single. Consider it a mission statement for the voyage into clubland that the Peas are taking with their next album.
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