Consumer Guide Album
Black Eyed Peas: The E.N.D. [Interscope, 2009]
How dare people call this wondrous album--actual quotes, now--"insipid," "saccharine," "clumsy"? Only I don't mean people--I mean journalists professional and self-appointed, from rockist sourpusses to keepers of the hip-hop flame. Just plain people love it--love it so much that various of its tracks topped the pop charts nonstop for the entire summer. "Party All the Time" is no more a recipe for living than is instant Wi-Fi for all, the message of the supposedly "political" "Now Generation." But in a party anthem it's the definition of intelligence. Sampling classic rap rapaciously and as cool with Auto-Tune as with getting their drunk on, they party beginning to end, which as it happens is a far rarer achievement than signifying beginning to end. Maybe this album is dumb on the surface, though not as much as fools claim. But sure as showbiz it isn't dumb underneath.