will.i.am is an
interesting producer. He's very easy to dismiss, as his most known and visible
contributions have been bubble gum beats of the present-day, Fregie-fied Black Eyed Peas sound (My
Humps anyone?). However, upon closer observation, it's pretty easy to see
that will.i.am is one of the best
producers today - when he's not working on BEP
shit. After crafting excellent and varied beats for Common, The Game, Talib
Kweli, John Legend, Justin
Timberlake, and Nas, it's become
abundantly clear that will's production
chops aren't just poppy garbage. So how does his album Songs about Girls fare?
It turns out that will.i.am's
album works exactly the same way as
his other production ventures; it's interesting when he tries new things, and
incredibly annoying when he churns out the same simplistic sound found on Elephunk and Monkey Business.
The album starts off with Over, a jazzy song about relationships (why do you think the
album's called "Songs about Girls?"). The beat has a nice bounce to it, and is
oh-so-smooth. It would probably be an apt time to discuss the lyricism on this
album, so I will. People don't buy a will.i.am
album for the lyrics. They buy it for the same reason they'd by Timbaland's - dope beats. Fortunately, will.i.am is a much better rapper and
singer than Timbo. While Timbaland has the ability to
single-handedly ruin an incredible beat with his non-flow, will.i.am's flow stays
on beat and is more than digestible enough to create a solid song.
The first misstep on the album is I Got it From My Mama. You know the drill: repetitive chorus,
simplistic beat...yes, everyone, this is the first Black Eyed Peas reject song on the album. She's a Star gets things right back on track with a far-out beat -
far more engaging than the last. Unfortunately, Get Your Money is another uninspired track which would've been
better left off of the album. Fortunately, it gets a little more consistent as
the next group of tracks is all bangers. Donque
features the lone collabo on the album with Snoop Dogg, and the beat is simply ridiculous. It would've been
nice if Snoop didn't damn near
recycle his famous first verse from Gin
and Juice,"but it's easy to
forgive considering how fucking dope the beat is.
Impatient has an
interesting sound, as it finds itself somewhere in between disco, 80's rock and
techno. Invisible laments women who
don't appreciate the men who love them over light guitar strumming, and the
result is a relaxing song that's easy to zone out to. Onto the cream of the
crop - Ain't It Pretty. I cannot stress to you people how fucking great
this song is. One listen and you'll be completely hooked; this is probably the
most complete song on the album, as both the sounds and will's singing and rhyming almost paint a picture of the object of
his affections. Fellas, take note - this is the song you'll want to have on
when you bring a girl home for the night.
The album ends on a serious note, which is inconceivably
strange. S.O.S. (Mother Nature) is
about global problems; this is an admirable topic to tackle, but why now? Why
at the end of an album where the first 14/15 tracks are about women?
people dying, people lying, people blind /People don't see the sign, watching
money all the time/Get the pennies, get the dimes, get the dollars is the mind state/Of
the human race, people on the paper chase/The environment is fragile, and we
been on the gradual/Declining in a lifetime or lose the battle /Get burned by
volcanoes, get blown by tornadoes/Cause mother nature signals, is trying to
warn NATO/We got a new terror threat, it's called the weather /More deadlier than
chemical and nuclear together /It's hotter in the winter, even hotter in the
summer/Jesus, or Buddha, somebody come and help us out."
The baffling inclusion of this song does two things: first,
it kinda kills the cohesion of the album. Second, it makes one wonder that
could've happened had will.i.am decided
to make more meaningful tracks on this album, and less party joints. S.O.S. is a great song, but really
My advice when concerning Songs about Girls is this: take it for what it is. If you want
lyricism, look somewhere else. If you want an album to drive around with or
zone out to, this is what you're looking for. It's relaxing, laid back, and
even has a few songs you could throw on at a party. While it's somewhat
disappointing that will.i.am didn't
channel his considerable creativity in other ways, this album has enough
entertaining tracks on it to remain in your playlists for a good while.