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In Review: Are The Black Eyed Peas Cooked Without Fergie?

Photo: Photo: Neil Lupin/Redferns (Getty Images)

The Black Eyed Peas have had an incredible amount of success. Their catalog includes catchy songs like“I Gotta Feelin,” “Where is the Love?” and “Boom Boom Pow.” Everyone’s so “2000 and late,” when you think about it.

It was surprising, then, when the group went radio-silent after playing the Super Bowl in 2011. There wasn’t much of anything put out by the group for over seven years. Then, this October, the band dropped Masters of the Sun Vol. 1. It’s an album where every song title is written in ALL CAPS, making them look bombastic.

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One important distinction with this version of the Black Eyed Peas is they’re missing their humps. Specifically, their lady lumps. More more specifically, Fergie. She left the band earlier this year to work on her solo career. This means the Black Eyed Peas are without Fergie for the first time in over eight years.

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No matter what you think of Fergie, her absence shows. Masters of the Sun Vol. 1 lacks the kind of frenetic energy of the group’s previous hits. Fergie brought a brash, loud swagger to the outfit that just isn’t there this time around.

Songs like “Dopeness” (sorry, “DOPENESS”) have confidence but they aren’t the chest-thumping bangers like their earlier songs that were played to death, dug up, and then played some more. Those coming for new club anthems will be disappointed.

Masters of the Sun Vol. 1 isn’t a terrible album; it’s just not what people come to the Black Eyed Peas for. If you want introspective, insightful rhymes, and some pretty amazing beats (it is after all), you’ll be plenty satisfied.

“BIG LOVE” is a powerful song with an even more powerful message:

The band still knows how to lay down a beat, but they tease the hooks out. It’s not catchy song after catchy song, but traces of dance mixed with stuttering loops and more than a little distortion. Their songs tackle heavy subjects, and it’s not all fun and love.

What that means is hard to tell. The Black Eyed Peas built a sterling reputation on delivering catchy, danceable beats with some great verses occasionally thrown in. This new album tries a lot of new things and feels more grown up. But in 2018, do we really want to grow up?

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It’s going to be interesting to if the band can sustain this new version, and how fans will receive it. Will they keep pushing forward or go back to their comfortable (and catchy) past?