Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas' third album, Elephunk, is exactly what its title conveys: large funk. The lead single, "Where is the Love," is an infectious combination of pulsing horns and a Michael Jackson-esque chorus provided by Justin Timberlake. Lyrics like, "But if you only have love for your own race/Then you only leave space to discriminate," rapped by Will.I.Am, prepare you for BEP's blend of melody and conviction.

Will.I.Am, who produced the bulk of the album, relies heavily on trumpet horns, handclaps, hi-hats, scratches, and dull bass. Unfortunately the horns used as a backbone for many of the songs are too identical. Just as much of the funk on Elephunk becomes monotone, so do the lyrics. The first three tracks -- "Hands Up," "Labor Day," and "Let's Get Retarded" -- are so similar in theme and lyrical content that they merge into a bland twelve minutes.

Elephunk is at its best when the sultry vocals of newly acquired fourth member Fergie are completely integrated into the group's tracks and not merely relegated to hooks. On "Shut Up," Will.I.Am, Taboo, and question why it is so difficult to maintain their partner's trust while Fergie responds to each of their "lame damn excuses" by singing "shut up" on the chorus. Meanwhile "Fly Away" showcases her ability to sing in a style that dwells between hip-hop and alternative soul in the vein of Res. Though Elephunk's vibe is too similar to keep the party going, its shining moments promise better things from the quartet in the future.

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Christopher Sanders