The END of the Black Eyed Peas and the power of nostalgia
Over a dozen years ago, one of the most ubiquitous albums of the late 2000s came out with great commercial success, Grammy nominations, and enough attention that artists were chosen to make headlines. Super Bowl Halftime Show poster. Now, The Black Eyed Peas’ “The END” is often overlooked, relegated to a footnote in contemporary music history. Considered nothing more than the home of “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling,” much of the work as a whole has fallen into obscurity over the past decade despite the cultural throne it holds. once held.
My personal views on the Black Eyed Peas have changed over the years. As a longtime listener of the Peas, I was of the opinion that the quality of their music declined as soon as they adopted a pop aesthetic to attract the masses. Their debut album, “Behind the Front” and their follow-up, “Bridging the Gap” still resonate. From their third album, they found a sound that created more commercial success, but it came at the expense of the artistic value of their works.
Perhaps the music of the Peas was hurt in my eyes by their own success. Their music was really everywhere – especially in 2009 when they released their most successful album at the time, “The END”. his songs that define childhood: “I Gotta Feeling”, “Rock That Body” and “Boom Boom Pow”, among others. Despite my old loathing for the album, I decided to listen to it again last year to see if my opinions on it changed. To my surprise, he did.
The album is far from perfect. First of all, the best songs on the whole album are the first five tracks: “Boom Boom Pow”, “Rock That Body”, “Meet Me Halfway”, “Imma Be” and “I Gotta Feeling”. With all the stars on the album, this guarantees an immediate drop in quality. What follows is a test of endurance – the songs average over 4 minutes each, but they aren’t complex enough to warrant that long.
Plus, the Peas are at their best when making insane music, which is why it’s confusing that they take the opposite approach at the end of the album. Two songs in particular, “Now Generation” and “One Tribe” are guilty of hijacking inappropriate and poorly thought out social commentary. The first comments on the thinning of patience of the new generation, and the second is a call for unity, declaring that all mankind is “one tribe”. I guess they had good intentions making these songs, but the performance is so poor, with tacky lyrics, that it ends up being ironically funny, diluting their message as a whole.
If “The END” is so flawed, why did I like it so much on my replay? Well, it’s just such a sweet album. Yes, most of the time it’s stupid and stupid, but sometimes that’s just the point. Although not a masterpiece, I’m still drawn to electronic beats and electrifying verses. The first five songs on the album are about going out with friends and having a good time, and even after that there are some hidden gems, like “Showdown”, with a strong opening verse from will .i.am, and “Rockin to the Beat”, which concludes this album perfectly.
Listening to this album over a decade after its release is like opening my own time capsule buried by a past version of me too young to record current events. The content is simple, but full of life. The lyrics reflecting their tendency to live in the moment create a vivid portrait of the collective childhood of Gen Z, but you can’t help but feel nostalgic when living in the moment was an easier feat. When this album came out, I was a kid whose outlook on college life was a fun, never-ending series of parties. Instead, what we have endured since has been a long series of injustices, a pandemic and many more that make 2009 look like many lives. In a time when things seem so complex and difficult, sometimes it’s easier to channel the innocence we once had and relaunch “I Gotta Feeling” once again.