Friday, September 29, 2006

Black Eyed Peas... OWNED!
The absolute highlight of my week was this piece (1), in which the Winnipeg Sun gets spurned by the Black Eyed Peas and proceeds with one of the more impassioned rip jobs in recent history.

Let's go to the highlights...

To us, Black Eyed Peas represent pretty much everything that's wrong with music nowadays, from their supposedly socially conscious lyrics to their inescapable ubiquitousness (first Best Buy, then the world!) to their oh-so-calculated street image. Had we got some phone time with 'em, we'd probably have felt more generous. But since we didn't (and since we're small, petty people), we're just gonna point out the following

Awesome. Ever been involved in producing a record and had it receive a bad review? Well, this basically confirms everything you ever thought about music criticism. In other news, I have no idea why journalists are so poorly perceived these days. I'm dumbfounded, in fact.

Also: pop music shouldn't be ubiquitous. Wrap your head around that one kids.

Sure, the Peas aren't the first posse out there to take liberties with the English language. But two of the band's four members (will.i.am and apl.de.ap) have taken the practice so far they're like those Valley girls who insisted on being called Tyfanni, then dotted their "i" with a heart or a smiley face. And don't get us started on Fergie's new album The Dutchess. What, there's not a single person in the BEP camp who knows how to run Spellcheck? (No "t" in Duchess, kids.)

All right. Fair point.

Hey, even we thought Don't Phunk With My Heart was kind of catchy ... for about 10 seconds, until we realized we'd enjoyed it even more 20 years ago, when it was a Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam song called I Wonder if I Take You Home. My Humps rips off I Need a Freak by Sexual Harassment, the track Union "interpolates" Sting's Englishman in New York (even drafting the once-great rocker for an embarrassing cameo), and Pump It consists of nothing more than Dick Dale's Miserlou run in its entirety but with a bunch of annoying beats and ad libs slapped on. That's not sampling, that's a cover.

Sweet. A sampling debate. Didn't we all get over this in, like, 1994? No? Could we get Vanilla Ice on the line to comment? Hold on... Prince Be Softly from PM Dawn would like to say something: "Sampling artistry is a very misunderstood form of music. A lot of people think sampling is thievery but it can take more time to find the right sample than to make up a riff."

Yeah, Apl lived in poverty in the Philippines until he was 14, and he and Will (who grew up in the projects but was bussed to an all-white school) took part in breakdancing and emcee battles in their younger years. But Taboo's first industry job was shovelling horse manure at Disneyland, and Fergie was a child star on TV's Kids Incorporated (alongside future thespians like Mario Lopez and Jennifer Love Hewitt) before forming pop trio Wild Orchid, a teeny-bopper version of Wilson Phillips. And, yes, their multi-culti, positive-thinking vibe can be a welcome relief from the bling-laden boasts of rap contemporaries. But are we the only ones who think they seem less like a band and more like a middle-aged marketing exec's version of what a Benetton ad might look like if scored to some "phat beats" and "dope rhymes?"

Will... what a total sellout.

What exactly is the argument here? That black people from the projects shouldn't go to all-white schools? Or, if they do, they can no longer claim to be from the projects? Is this a call for a return to segregation? I'm confused. This is like the ultimate "When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong" moment for music journalism.

Also: multi-culti is a terrible phrase. Please let this never again appear in print.

During a concert in Australia, Fergie peed her pants while on stage. Yes, literally PEED HER PANTS... Keith Richards doing enough heroin to kill a herd of elephants, then heading back to the basement to crank out Exile on Main St.? That's rock 'n' roll. Peeing your pants on stage because you had too much champagne in the green room? That's just sad.

Sure. Urinary incontinence is funny. I think we're all with you on that. And, no, it's not very rock n' roll. But don't try to make that point with a comparison to Keith Richards' epic drug use because said drug use probably left Richards with much the same problem that apparently afflicts Fergie.

Just saying.

(1) Yes, it was a slow week.

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