Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Black Eyed Peas: Elephunk [A&M, 2003]
In which the unbelievably dull El Lay alt-rappers fabricate the brightest actual pop album of 2003. They remain unbelievable, but in pop that's just one more aesthetic nuance. Titles like "Let's Get Retarded," "Shut Up," and the guitar-driven "Anxiety" are what you'd hope except cleaner--tremendous ups every one. You can bet new member Fergie, a showbiz lifer who also put in a tour as JC Chasez's girlfriend, lured her pal Justin down for "Where Is the Love," an actual hit that actually called out "the CIA." Terrorists, the song claims. Rhymes with "The Bloods and the Crips and the KKK." A-