Single Review: Black Eyed Peas – ‘The Time (Dirty Bit)’

Well, that’s annoying. I have to quickly knock together a review only five days after hearing it because some high git at Interscope thought to speed release Black Eyed Peas’ new single just as soon as it starts getting UK airplay was a good idea. I can’t work under these conditions, d’you hear!? GUH! So STRESSFUL.


Ah, that’s better. So, let me ask you something. How would you feel if your favourite bake good or sandwich was sat before you after three days fasting, only it’s vacuum-wrapped in a sterile plastic casing that you can’t get into. You then are forced to watch it miraculously rot and grow a healthy layer of mould so you can’t enjoy it anymore.

That’s what it was like watching Black Eyed Peas evolve from the soulful ‘old skool’ sound of their first four albums; their trademark funk/neo-soul sound that advertised them as one of the coolest bands around whilst also giving the sense they didn’t even need to try, and then having to watch it turn into plastic, lifeless songs that everyone else was doing much better. Their super-funky back-catalogue has the real hits like ‘Don’t Phunk With My Heart’, ‘Pump It’, ‘Hey Mama’ and my personal favourite, and easily the best single of the career: ‘Where Is The Love?’, and they stamped their place as a unique, fresh, contemporary band carving their own niche in the industry and settling themselves comfortably in the minds of music lovers everywhere.

But, upon’s solo career, he went and discovered his love of producing his own electronic music, and from then on, his pretentious attitude to his music and his countless collaborations for big name US stars like Usher and Rihanna has “earned” him a status of a man who can make a hit out of anything. Of course, this appeared to be true as Flo Rida’s ‘In The Ayer’, Usher’s ‘OMG’, Cheryl Cole’s ‘3 Words’ were undoubtedly huge hits, but their substance and overall quality was up for debate.

It’s fair to say then, that Black Eyed Peas’ fifth album ‘The E.N.D.’ was an absolutely tragic amalgamation of half-finished songs; each track sounded like five different 1 minute-long songs copy-and-pasted together, and by the time you finished listening to each track, it was almost a completely different song to the one you were hearing when it started. Gone were the groovy beats and the funky, tribal-infused party tunes and songs with substance, and in their place ‘The E.N.D.’ left a stale, plastic conglomeration of tired electronic songs as shallow as a puddle and as interesting as listening to paint dry.

But how does the first single from their sixth album measure up? Is it a glorious return to form or a continuation of the soulless materialism that purveys arrogant raps about “gettin’ freaky” and “chillin’, sippin’ bubbly”.

‘Tis the latter.

And on that note, it’s not even annoying in a charming sort of way, like ‘Boom Boom Pow’ was, which at least had a theme to it. This… this is just awful, and a desperate attempt to recreate something that became tired the first time around in the hope that success ensues. Sampling Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes’ ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’ only makes the rushing out of the album more prominent, as it suggests there was little time for original thought. But it gets worse: the sample is used terribly, and once again another electronic Black Eyes Peas song fails to follow any cohesive structure or format, shoe-horning the chorus into the rest of the song. I’m all for bands evolving, but this is just hitting a downward spiral for them and then refusing to even attempt to rescue themselves by churning out the same song over and over again, each time with a series of futuristic blips and bleeps to try and spruce things up.

As soon as the raps start you begin to think “Haven’t I heard this before?”, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it, because the lyrics that aren’t part of the sample are basically the same as the ones on all seventeen tracks of their previous album. The only saving grace about this song is that you know it’s about to end once, and Taboo have finally said their parts and Fergie’s sung a little bit.

This is a rush release, so I doubt there’ll be a video. But it’ll be one of those video that’s kinda retro but at the same time very futuristic and computer-y.

It’s an all-new low for Black Eyed Peas’ single territory, topping even ‘Rock That Body’ and ‘Imma Be’ in terms of embarrassment. But it’s not just embarrassing to them band themselves: it’s near-on embarrassing to listen to. Imagine a well ‘ard person sat at the back of the bus blasting this out: they’d sound like some electronic snake charmer.

Rating: 0.5 STARS*

Download: November 8, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘The Beginning’

*This is the lowest rating I have given to date; the only other time I gave a song this rating was when JLS released ‘The Club Is Alive’.

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  1. Gerard McGarry

    Everything you said here is on the money. In fact, I was so disappointed when I heard a sample of this that I couldn’t even muster up the energy to even write the scathing review it deserved.

    Everything about this song is garbage. It’s the musical equivalent of the vomit you see on the pavement after a night on the tiles. Regurgitated, stale ideas that were hot in their time, but reconstituted in this way, sounding this bad. used to have an uncanny ear for a hook, but this is just, well, what you said. Embarrassing.

    It happens to all overhyped producers – you work your ass off while you’re hot and in demand, even when the creativity dries up. It happened Pharrell Williams, and it’s happening Will right now. And it’s a shame, because BEP could have released infinite albums like Monkey Business and Elephunk and still sounded fresh. There was nothing like them on the scene, and now they’re out of ideas and quickly running out of steam.

  2. Johnny

    Awful on every single level! The half a star star implies that the song has at least a small amount of merit, can’t think what it could be.

    If this is the lead single I’m terrified about what the 2nd and 3rd singles are going to be like.

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