Music of the Week
By Lauren Harris
Black Eyed Peas
By some act of contractual obligations, the Black Eyed Peas are getting the band back together. It's been four years since their single-smorgasbord Monkey Business, and in the meantime Fergie became chart royalty, Will.I.Am. was turned into a holographic pundit on CNN, and the other two managed to blend in pretty well.' The album's title coupled with rumors of discord amongst the two identifiable members might spell doom for the Los Angeles backpackers, but the title is actually an acronym for 'The Energy Never Dies.' Will.I.Am . is describing it as 'a lot of dance stuff, real melodic, electronic, soulful. We call it'electric static funk."
Growing old gracefully is difficult, especially for indie outfits who've been synonymous with downtown cool since the late '70s. Art noise rockers Sonic Youth survived the demise of punk and grunge, and are now releasing their 16th album, filled with the jagged guitars and inscrutable lyrics delivered in monotone (thanks Kim!) that have become the band's calling card. Finally free from their major label recording contract, the band are now signed to Matador Records, but that doesn't stop them from taking an Us Weekly-sized swipe at relevancy; 'Malibu Gas Station' is a song entirely about a starlet knowingly giving a panty-less crotch shot to paparazzi while disembarking from her car. There's something slightly sad about this turn of events ' Britney Spears certainly didn't include any songs about Sonic Youth on Circus.
Thank goodness for Mos Def. While his contemporaries have always been more concerned with the more material trappings of this world, Mos has always managed to turn out socially conscious hip-hop, even before the past election cycle took the cringe out of the term. In short, Mos has always made caring cool. The title of Renaissance Man Mos Def's latest album is apt. Throughout his fourth solo album, Mos insists that despite all that is wrong with the world, we are living in remarkable times. Featuring collaborations with the Roots' Black Thought, Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, Slick Rick and Talib Kweli.