Black Eyed Peas

The E.N.D.

As far as titles go, the words behind the Black Eyed Peas’ fifth-album acronym feel downright unnecessary. The Energy Never Dies? Ever since the group’s three core members transformed themselves from a middling conscious-rap outfit into the platinum hip-pop juggernaut of 2003’s breakout Elephunk, featuring lithesome onetime child star Stacy ”Fergie” Ferguson, their energy has appeared to be virtually unkillable. Indeed, indefatigable Auto-Tune anthems like The E.N.D.‘s propulsive lead single, ”Boom Boom Pow” (already the band’s most successful to date), seem fueled by some mysterious slurry of dance-floor plutonium and diet Red Bull.

For those without access to the Peas’ ? power smoothie, repeated exhortations to be a ”Ring-a-ling,” ”Party All the Time,” and ”Rock That Body” (featuring a sizable chunk of Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s 1988 classic ”It Takes Two”) can grow exhausting. And yet, the BEPs are — to borrow from those other old-school greats, A Tribe Called Quest — ”devoted to the art of moving butts,” and even if they do it with a minimum of subtlety and pacing, they still do it pretty well. Group mastermind’s attempt at social commentary on ”Now Generation” comes off more like an ”I just got DSL!” laundry list (”MySpace and your space/Facebook is that new place…Google is my professor/Wikipedia checker”). But when the group’s glitchy future-funk beats sync up with Fergie’s unabashedly feminine melodies, as on the sweetly insidious ”Meet Me Halfway,” they find pure Top 40 nirvana. B

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The E.N.D.
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