While media outlets regularly mark milestone anniversaries of iconic albums, it’s not every day you see a retrospective on a project we all wished we could forget. That’s why I’ve decided to revisit The Black Eyed Peas’ fifth studio album, The E.N.D., which turns 10 today.
As an impressionable preteen who had minimal exposure to “critically acclaimed” music in the early-aughts, I was obsessed with Black Eyed Peas ever since I heard “Let’s Get it Started” in 2003. Come 2009, I was 100 percent dialed into The E.N.D. (short for ‘the Energy Never Dies’) before it was even released. The memory of me willfully blasting this in my car, and the album’s horrid fusion of pop, hip-hop and EDM, are painful snapshots of the era.
Listening through the album’s 15 tracks, it’s hard to believe how much it slapped for me at the time. Fergie’s memorable “Boom Boom Pow” line, “I’m so 3008/You so 2000 and late,” ironically could not have aged worse. With its distasteful usage of Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock’s early hip-hop classic “It Takes Two,” “Rock That Body” preys on my affinity for electronic music and samples in the worst ways possible. “Imma Be” still grooves, but now it’s fodder for Bee Movie memes. “I Gotta Feeling” and “Party All The Time,” are both fun, but only the former will be on bad wedding playlists from now until eternity.
If you want to pull any lyrical themes introduced in The E.N.D., it should be to NOT party ALL the time, because it makes you a lazy songwriter. Case in point: the rhyming of ‘ring-a-ling’ with ‘ding-a-ling’ on the song “Ring-A-Ling” is either the mark of a severely intoxicated individual or an actual 12-year-old.
I do like how the Peas were ahead of the #Millennials craze with “Now Generation,” but the musical delivery is tone-deaf and ham-fisted. Similarly, “One Tribe” is an earnest, cheesy attempt at “Where Is The Love 2.0,” but of course it falls flat at matching the inspiration of their breakout hit.
It’s funny how your tastes mature over time, and sometimes change completely. The E.N.D. was an album of its time, and of mine. Let’s keep it there.