The party never ends for the Black Eyed Peas. Cue the club music, pan to the crowded dance floor, program elaborate dance choreography, sequence cheesy digitized vocals (with catchphrases like "Rock That Body") and you realize hip-hop's most homogenized hitmakers have returned with another great party mix, their first studio album in four years. The acronym for this newest record stands for "the energy never dies." The 15 tunes on The E.N.D. are exactly what you expect from will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo and Fergie — ultra-polished club rap canned for mass production — but this time it's faster, more futuristic and even cornier.
Let's face it — the Peas have already made this decade's two most embarrassing rap singles — "My Humps" and "Let's Get It Started" — but that doesn't faze the foursome. Why should it? They've sold more than 15 million records and will continue to make the same daffy dance hits, more hyper-produced rap singles and even bigger crossover music. The E.N.D. offers bouncy and bright dance rap ("I Gotta Feeling" and "Meet Me Halfway") with shameless lyrics ("A phone go ring-a-ling ling, and the girls want ding-a-ling ling"). Fergie captures it best. As the real star of the band, she sings, "If we could party all night and sleep all day and throw all of our problems away, my life would be so easy." It's all very sublime and ridiculous, but it's a formula that works exceeding well for hip-hop's ultimate party crew. — Keith Gribbins