When I listened to this record I made a promise to myself that my outlook on it wouldn’t be biased or skewed by previous opinions I’ve had of the Black Eyed Peas, and that I would give my honest standpoint of the art itself. With that in mind, ELEVATION is potentially the worst album of the year. I like to think of The Black Eyed Peas as that one popular Chad that every high school has. They peak for a crisp three to four years before moving on to greater things, only to realize that their popularity has quickly died. So, in order to salvage their relevance, they return to the scene that once made them popular every now and then to “check up on things,” only to find that everyone has long moved past them. This LP is so corporate safe, it’s hard to find any redeeming quality about the music itself.
ELEVATION tries its best to bite latin pop and revive the Black Eyed Peas sound of 2009. Both of these chief aspects in the music make it excruciating to listen to. It's unbearable how lacking it is in both production and performances, as every contribution to this record sounds like the group’s primary end goal is to stuff a few extra bucks into the back of their pockets. Take the track DOUBLE D’Z as an example. The song starts off with the most miserable interpretation of a “Free DJ Mustard Type Beat” YouTube instrumental before segueing off into one of the most painful opening verses you will ever hear: “Holy f**k, holy f**kin' f**k, The body of yours is absurd… may need to see the booty make it twerk, Seriously f**k that booty is superb, Watchin’ your ass jiggle-jiggle on the table will permanently scar me, So come on baby put it on me…You got me drooling like a zombie.” If you thought that was unpleasant, look at the track IN THE AIR which is riddled with an exhausting, repetitive chorus that builds up to an outrageously mid beat drop. There are an abundance of low points throughout ELEVATION rounding it out to be a chore to listen to. I’d say the only way to stoop below this abhorrent, soulless, feeble attempt at a cash grab is if XXXTENTACION’s estate released a three hour album of his past interviews over an array of half-assed trap beats. As expected, ELEVATION has performed terribly amongst audiences having horrendous album sales in the first week, and opinions about the album skewing towards negativity, with one reviewer stating that “this album sounds like it was made for sweaty, burly, bald, hairy chested men all packed into a tiny dance floor to create a foul odor that is guaranteed to deter any woman within a 10 mile radius.” Additionally this project is doing equally as terrible amongst critics with The Telegraph giving it a 4/10 and stating that “the group continues to take accessible pop to its worst, most soulless extreme.” On top of this record being essentially worthless, it’s currently one of the most embarrassing feats made by a musician, and the musician in question is will.i.am. In the case of will.i.am, you’re looking at a man who was a titan of the music industry. In the 2000’s, he was considered one of the most respected producers in the industry working alongside artists like Nas, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Common, Talib Kweli, The Game, Sean Kingston, and even Michael Jackson. He made absolute classics, my personal favorite of which being American Boy by Estelle. To go from that kind of industry status to a washed up loser who can’t seem to make a feasible hit without Shakira, constitutes one of the worst fall offs in all of music. All the beats on this project sound so cheap and ugly, it’s like will.i.am downloaded GarageBand two months ago. Not only has this man recreated what only some would consider to be the most offensive rendition of reggaeton and latin pop, but he has the absolute gall to state that the Black Eyed Peas take on these genres is “simply the best” and that “it don’t get better than this.” If you’re truly looking to waste fifty six minutes of your entire life, then go ahead and listen to the monstrosity that is ELEVATION.
Favorite tracks: none of them, retire already