CD Review: will.i.am, "Songs About Girls" (Interscope)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

As a producer-for-hire, the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am has managed to earn some respect from his music industry peers despite the hokey pop for which his group is known. His discography includes tracks for a wide range of artists such as Too Short, Common, Justin Timberlake and Sergio Mendes. However, he's best known for producing at least two of the most awful but unavoidable songs in recent history -- bandmate Fergie's "Fergalicious" and the Peas's "My Humps."

On his major label solo debut "Songs About Girls," will.i.am mines that similar silly terrain, with two odes to female posteriors -- "I Got It From My Mama" and "Donque," featuring a lazy verse from Snoop Dogg. The rest of the disc is an infuriating collection of often awkwardly phrased rhymes over mostly emotionless, '80s-inspired dance music tracks, and surprisingly inviting soul-pop ditties about when relationships go south.

It's those latter moments, when will.i.am veers into more melodic territory -- as on the opener "Over" and later on "Invisible" -- where the disc displays glimpses of his less contrived self. If will.i.am wasn't so beholden to (and adept at) producing the type of radio-friendly hits that become so painfully ubiquitous, then "Songs About Girls" would have been memorable for more of the right reasons.

-- The Associated Press

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