Fri, Jul 21, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Peas about to popin Taipei

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei doesn't get that many big-name bands so perhaps we should all head to Zhongshan Soccer Stadium (中山足球場) and get retarded with the Black Eyed Peas (黑眼豆豆).

Riding on the back of last-year's album Monkey Business, the troupe's world tour alights in Taipei on Tuesday after stops in Tokyo, China and Moscow.

William, Fergie, apl.de.ap and Taboo have made their mark and this tour is the payoff for one great album and years of honing their skills in the relative wilderness of Los Angeles' club land, where they got it started.

Back then, in 1989, there were just three Peas called Atban Klann and they took the name Black Eyed Peas (BEP) in the mid-1990s.

After producing a couple of critically well-received albums they asked Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson to join the cause, after which they hit the big time with Elephunk in 2003.

This LP is a riotous mix of hip hop and pop that elevated funk once more to global proportions. Tracks like the sonorous Where is the Love?, the catchy Shut Up and Mama topped the charts around the world.

We're still listening to them now in night markets and shopping malls. To date the group has sold well over 7.5 million records, received four Grammy nominations and picked up five Grammy awards.

I was hooked for weeks three years ago but my interest has waned since then and the latest album seems to be a pale imitation of Elephunk, despite the elegant production.

The lush strings and overworked production of Dum Diddly failed to excite, while tracks like Gone Going and My Style are irritating after a few listens. Pump It, despite the nod to Quentin Tarantino, is in the same mold.

Like many follow-ups to breakthrough albums the formula has been repeated and the result is a diluted version of the original.

For me, BEP's zany, colorful approach to its music, videos and stage performances is like OutKast-lite, undoubtedly louche but lacking in raw energy and unable to break free from the chains of pop blandness.

It's hard to imagine Outkast changing the song Let's Get Retarded to Let's Get it Started in order to make it more acceptable – though to be fair it did garner a Grammy as a result.

But let's face it, getting retarded at a party makes more sense than just getting started – even it isn't politically correct.

Performance Notes:

What: The Black Eyed Peas are to perform at Zhongshan Soccer Stadium, Taipei (台北中山足球場,北市玉門街1號) There will be ab afterparty at Luxy.

When: Tuesday. Doors open at 5pm

Tickets: Cost between NT$1,300 and NT$2,800 and are available through ERA ticketing. Call (02) 2341 9898 or visit www.ticket.com.tw

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