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Album Review

The Black Eyed Peas, 'The Beginning'

November 29, 2010

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Stockholm syndrome refers to the condition in which hostages develop positive feelings for their captors, but there’s also a corollary in pop music. It happens when a group’s music — an album that sells 11 million copies, and yields five Top 10 singles, say — hijacks your aural space so aggressively that the listener is pummeled into acquiescence. On a related note, the Black Eyed Peas’ new record just came out. You can probably imagine what it sounds like: minimalist drum machine beats, techno-lifted synth pulses, plinky keyboard hooks, retro-fitted hip-hop callbacks, pitch-shifted vocals, and songs that chain your brain to the furnace and beat you over the head with their cursed affability. In some cases here it’s easier to cry “uncle’’ than others, like on the Slick Rick-sampling “Light Up the Night.’’ Then again, anything would sound smooth over that “Children’s Story’’ beat. More obvious, and oblivious, is the sure-fire hit single “The Time (Dirty Bit),’’ which shuffles in a few Auto-tuned boasts, De La Soul rhymes, and siren-squiggles under the hook from the “Dirty Dancing’’ classic “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.’’ It’s going to be the biggest song of the year, guaranteed, and you’re going to like it — whether you like it or not. (Out tomorrow)

LUKE O’NEIL

ESSENTIAL “The Time (Dirty Bit)’’