No phrase, besides possibly “we’re just in this for the money” has destroyed more groups than “indefinite break.” And since it looks like it’s going to be curtains for mainstream radio’s resident Billboard-friendly rappers, the Black Eyed Peas, a retrospect is in order for one of Top 40’s more polarizing forces. Sure, songs like “Imma Be” and “My Humps” are as immature and painfully trite as most of Justin Bieber’s singles, but here’s a rundown of three Black Eyed Peas songs that actually don’t suck. At least before we have to endure another round of overblown solo efforts from Fergie and will.i.am, that is. And of course, those other guys who are pretty much anonymous.
1. “I Gotta Feeling”
Remember when the Black Eyed Peas released The E.N.D., which disappointed listeners who actually thought it would be the end for the hip-hop group, but was actually just a poorly thought out acronym for “The Energy Never Dies?” Well, sandwiched between the futuristic beats of “Boom Boom Pow” and “Meet Me Halfway” was “I Gotta Feeling,” the Peas’ most fun single ever. With a thumping rhythm and a bouncy synthesizer riff, it’s hard not to imagine throwing your hands in the air and shouting along. Not many of the group’s songs make you want to do it. And do it. And do it. “I Gotta Feeling” hits all the right synapses. Mazel Tov!
2. “Where is the Love?”
From one end of the spectrum to the other, we get a serious orchestral rap number called “Where is the Love,” a socially conscious track from Elephunk. Fergie’s voice is at its absolute best in an understated chorus pleading for change. Looking back on this lamentation of 21st century problems, it’s hard to believe that such a politically charged group evolved into something out of Tron.
3. “Like That”
There might not be a more fitting song for an album called Monkey Business than “Like That,” an energy-driven rap track rife with guest spots and cameos. Everyone from the always soulful John Legend and Cee-Lo Green to the stinging flow of Talib Kweli show up, and with the Peas on top of their game and in their lyrical heyday, the song is a bona fide riot and kept the group in that space between critical acclaim and radio airplay juggernaut status.