Black Eyed Peas – Translation
A Black Eyed Peas without Fergie doesn’t feel right. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound good. In fact, Translation is pretty great.
This is the second album produced in the band’s shrunken formation, however Filipina singer J Rey Soul, who was discovered on The Voice of the Philippines by BEP’s apl.de.ap, substitutes in spectacular fashion, contributing her excellent voice to seven of the 15 songs including global hit MAMACITA. Halfway through the album, she isn’t even explicitly credited anymore – she’s simply accepted as the new band member.
Whilst the alliance with J Rey Soul is a subplot, the main narrative of Translation is that this is a new Black Eyed Peas entire. Following The E.N.D, the band’s subsequent efforts barely registered in comparison. Going back to the drawing board for this record, will.i.am, Taboo and apl.de.ap shift the focus – and even the previously US-centric subtext – by looking towards South America and offering a compilation of the hip-hop-reggaeton fusion that’s flooded the zeitgeist since Despacito blew up. The new album opens with RITMO – the biggest song in Latin America this year so far – and doesn’t let up, serving top-to-bottom bangers from start to finish, assisted by big-time features such as Ozuna, Maluma and Shakira, who flexes her range on GIRL LIKE ME.
RITMO significantly samples Corona’s Rhythm of the Night, warping the 90s hit until it’s arranged into a Latin trap bop. The best songs of this eighth studio album follow the same formula: take a classic song and flip it into a trapeton record. VIDA LOCA is an instant favourite, turning Rick James’s Super Freak into something familiar yet fresh and flavourful. The memorable 80s sounds of Madonna’s La Isla Bonita and Miami Sound Machine’s Conga are reinvigorated infectiously in MAMACITA and CELEBRATE respectively. On the other hand, the worst songs (ACTION, GET LOOSE NOW) run on autopilot with nothing distinctive in their beats.
The lyrical throughline is that we have to live like there’s no tomorrow (there’s even a song titled NO MAÑANA). It’s this maxim at the centre of the Peas’s vision that’s key to their cohesion – with its butter-smooth transitions and consistent sound, this album is designed to be played and replayed in its entirety each time with no breaks. It’s going to be exciting to see how fans match Translation’s endless energy in a concert setting, particularly at a music festival.
Photo: Nabil Elderkin
is released on 19th June 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Black Eyed Peas – Translation’s website here.
Watch the video for FEEL THE BEAT here: