Reviewed: 29/06/20

Rating: 3.5 // 10

Genres: Reggaeton, Pop-Rap

Released: 19/06/20, Epic

Black Eyed Peas’ previous success does not translate to a wildly new genre, with the novelty wearing off quickly, leaving the Peas clinging onto features as life support.

Hey, do you remember Despacito? That was a pretty big hit. A very big hit. Almost as if reggaeton could translate well to an American audience….

Test the theory with a single of our own, RIT MO. Play it slightly safe, with a sample from a retro disco hit. Let the nostalgia carry it, and hopefully the first leg of the album.

To be fair, the opening portion of this is somewhat bearable. But then, the creativity dries up, WILL.I.AM runs out of Spanish nouns he learnt from his travel guide, and this slowly morphs into a blur of pop-rap and reggaeton beats.

The songs flow nicely into each other, largely because they’re all based on the same RPM and rough beat inspiration.

Okay, claiming that this is just a cash grab would be harsh – apparently the Shakira feature comes from her She-Wolf era, so it was in the works a while ago.

But by the time we’ve reached VIDA LOCA, which ruins MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This (and Rick James’ Super Freak), my goodwill runs out. It also sort of retroactively ruins the sampling earlier on, mainly because he reveals how gimmicky every aspect of this album is.

After the opening tracks the album becomes a slog to even have on in the background, with all the songs merging into what the soundtrack to a night out in a club if you were 10 rum and cokes down.

Unfortunately during all my listens to this I was stone cold sober, and the loud, obnoxious yet monotonous beats are somehow obscured by even louder autotuned vocals from guests such as French Montana.

To go and analyse each individual songs would be equivalent to writing lines in detention – a punishment that involves me writing the same thing again and again.

The lyrics switch between English and Spanish whenever a rhyme is needed, and as stated before, WILL.I.AM certainly isn’t fluent in Español, to copy their tactic.

It comes across as tacky and lazy, as almost there is a quota of how much English and Spanish buzzwords a song should have.

As is style for the Black Eyed Peas, the ending of the tracklist is reserved for the tracks that don’t quite fit and offer us social commentary.

Up steps WILL.I.AM for his acoustic guitar led solo (on a highly electronic beat driven album) to tell us about Coronavirus.

Somehow the autotuned yet still tone-deaf lyrics doesn’t cure the planet of the pandemic. Odd.

On balance, this probably shouldn’t have existed beyond one or two singles. I was pleased with their last “experimental” effort in 2018, Masters of the Sun Vol1, and I think the addition of J. Rey Soul helps with the reliance on a female feature to break up a song and track list.

Luckily she’s a Spanish speaker, and for some reason she is credited as a solo-artist on this, despite being involved on the last project? Just more confusion on top of the mess this album already is.

And no, WILL.I.AM. No matter how many times you say the word, this is certainly not “Fuego.”

Track Listing

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