CD: Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business


Black Eyed Peas have clearly found a magic formula for success: good-guy rap plus pop-profundity multiplied by numerous special guests. Here they put it to good use. The choruses are just as catchy as those on 2003's Elephunk; there are stripped-back beats and eclectic influences, including Astrud Gilberto's kitsch strings and Musical Youth's Pass the Dutchie.

But the lyrical inspiration has evaporated. The dance-floor fillers are - in every sense - arse: the band's obsession with the female form, or "lady lumps", takes precedence over their desire for world peace. Justin Timberlake returns for My Style, a boy/girl call song so bland it could have been plucked from the soundtrack of Grease 2. Union, featuring a sample of Englishman in New York and strained preaching from Sting, is excruciating.

Only James Brown comes out of the wreckage of ideas and ideals with any dignity. When he guests on They Don't Want Music, he demotes the Peas to mere coat-chasers while sardonically mocking the thumping music of today.


Betty Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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