The Black Eyed Peas, 'The Beginning' (will.i.am/Interscope)

7
The Beginning
Critical Mass
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Label: Will.i.am/Interscope

by Kevin O'Donnell

Pop's reigning peddlers of dumb fun are actually starting to sound stylishly avant-garde on their sixth album. Peas leader will.i.am mixes up house and disco beats, Chic and Slick Rick samples, wonky Moog hooks, crunchy guitars, and '70s funk bass into one of the year's wildest sonic stews. Cloying anthems persist ("Own It" could soundtrack the 2012 Olympics), but the heady robo-funk of "XOXOXO" and the ravey, atonal fist-pumping of two-part monster "Do It Like This" give a glimpse of what the Top 40 could sound like in the not-too-distant future.

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