Black Eyed Peas: Translation Album Review

15 Dec

RITMO:  Takes a sample of an old favorite and twists it.  Spanish. “Do it like whomp there it is” it’s  such a good reference.  Takes a lyric from the same early ‘90s time period of the sample.

FEEL THE BEAT:  I’m not familiar with the sample song on this one, but it’s also got some Spanish language as part of a modern twist.  Socially, I like the addition of Spanish even though I can’t understand any of it (bad Arizonan) because ‘Hispanic’ is the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.. I like the rap breakdown.  I like all the references, like J-Lo and grande that just take you back to the 1990s.

MAMCITA:  Good beat on this one.  The Spanish portion is fun to listen to, and dancy and sexy even with the language barrier.  The female parts are empowered and fun, not to mention an ear-worm.  More interesting word play, which is really smart.  “Sweat like wasabi” and “wet like tsunami” are two examples of smart writing.

GIRL LIKE ME:  Possibly the catchiest bit on the album is Sharkira’s wail on the “eye-e-eye”.  I like how the lyrics are very complimentary toward Shakira.  I like the check-ins of different types of Hispanics (what’s the correct term now, I read nobody really likes “LatinX” except Latin-trans).  With Selena’s name called out.

VIDA LOCA:  Everyone who lived in the 1990s knows this beat, and it’s sentimental and catchy simultaneously.  Also, taking some Ricky Martin lyrics for this cements the throw-back.  I do NOT, however like the, “it’s my life Bitch” peppered frequently throughout.  Whether it regards a female or not, “bitch” is a derogatory term for women, historically (or used to emasculate a man) and it drops the whole album a level for me.  It could have been anything different and still conveyed the point they’re trying to make.

NO MANANA:  I don’t really know the difference musically between all the different Latin groups.  This one reminds me of a Miami club though, very dancy.  The rap interludes strengthen the song.  And the distortion and slow downs are interesting.  The driving beat lends to the club feel.

TONTA LOVE:  There is not enough female rapping in music, so i like this.  It’s still soft-clubbing, but with a dreamy element that sets it apart.  The “la la la” “fa la la” and “cha cha cha” are effective attention-getting devices used to emphasize, and complete phrases.

CELEBRATE:  I’m pretty sure the sample song is a Gloria Estafan song, but there might be a 2nd sampled instrumental piece.  And here is some Spanish I can understand.  That vamenos andale` andale` is something Speedy Gonzonlaz would routinely say on Looney Tunes, so I can gather what the lyrics mean.  Not that it has precluded enjoyment of the album to not get the Spanish translations.

TODO BUENO:  If there is a weak song on the album, it’s this one so far.  I don’t know if listening-fatigue set in or if it says the same thing too many times, but I tuned out a little on this track.  I do like the extended rap portion.

DURO HARD:  An explicit song.  Too incessant.  Needs more lyrics.

MABUTI:  The sample is insanely catchy.  I like the car speeding noises and auto-tune for a millennial audience.  This is one of the songs that works best when updated and given a Spanish-language flair.  

I WOKE UP:  I like the name checks for the NBA players.  There’s the weed verse.  There’s the wealthy celeb verse. But it’s way too many repetitions of one phrase–to the point of annoyance.

GET LOOSE NOW:  The repetition is used to effect.  Hand claps and snaps give this song a street feel.  When they get faster, it increases the tension in the song.  It’s a simple word play (vs. singing, or even rapping) which goes with the sample “ooo yay”.

ACTION:  The trills and vocal snare ( tah tah tah tah tah) aren’t overdone as they usually are in songs.  The rap section is riveting, because there are references sprinkled throughout.  There are a lot of vocal (onnawannapias?) in this one that remind the listener of other songs that had that sound.  I think it’s another interesting way to reference other material, aside from sampling the song, saying those lyrics, mentioning pop culture from that time period.  This album features all of that, so it’s very inventive they can take it a step further.

NEWS TODAY:  A Covid-19 song was tacked on to the end of a finished album.  It doesn’t go with the rest, which is very homogeneous.  Though, I can tell the song was stuck in, it’s a nice ballad, with relevant lyrics, and it’s timely.  It would have been nice to seperate it in some manner, like making it a secret song–which WOULD have gone with the theme of this album.  The 1990s were full of secret tracks.  There also could have been a voice memo telling the listener, this wasn’t really part of the album, but the band felt it was imperative to include it, because–2020.  I’ll just imagine that was there…

Every song could just blend together on this album.  The theme is perfectly executed, where the individual songs can hold up on their own, but the album could be played and the listener might never know when one song ended and the next began.

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