Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Black Eyed Peas – Meet Me Halfway

Comin’ for that #1 spot. Again…


Martin Kavka: Now we know how Project Runway and Fame Academy would spawn: Tim Gunn gives aspiring songwriters 30 minutes to search all the satellite radio channels for song ingredients! Novice trainspotters will easily find the one-note guitar bit from the opening of “Maps”; intermediate ones will pick out the synth line from “Time After Time” and will argue about how much money is due Cyndi Lauper; advanced ones will know the source of the drum pattern or timpani fills. But my appreciation for BEP as bricoleurs, begrudgingly granted for this album’s prior singles, has met its match in will.i.am’s assaults against English grammar (“I will try until I die for you and I”) and Fergie’s whiny-bitch voice, which has never sounded more authentic.

Matt Cibula: will.i.am is smugger than Kanye West, and backs it up by being about one-eighth as interesting. He may possess hook-knack and pop-chop, but his lyrics are horrid at best — and this is not his best.

Al Shipley: I was somewhat in the minority here in my enthusiasm for “I Gotta Feeling,” but that singularly exhilarating piece of delightful crap didn’t leave me salivating for a lesser retread.

Hillary Brown: Well, I’m confused and surprised, yet again. About a third of this song seems like classic BEP (the stupid bits with will.i.am making noise), but the rest of it seems to have sprung from a completely different place, as though they spent a few months with Daft Punk stuck in their stereo. It’s not unappealing, though, despite (because?) of the utter unrecognizability of the vocals as being provided by Fergie.

Edward Okulicz: The one-note guitarwork is particularly onerous on the ears, which at least takes the focus off Fergie.

Alex Ostroff: The song itself is insubstantial, not as hooky or silly or fun as their usual fare, and lacks the depth that would make up for this loss. However, my growing disenchantment with their songs post-Monkey Business has been accompanied by an appreciation for the band’s increasingly deft touch sonically. “Halfway” is the lushest and smoothest pop song this side of The-Dream/Tricky. The song is saved by the details: the trilling “Maps”-esque guitar under will.i.am’s verse, the relative restraint in Fergie’s chorus, the light choral harmonies and the gentle house glide.

Martin Skidmore: Wiki implausibly assures me that this is co-produced by Keith Harris of ‘and Orville’ ‘fame’, but they still let Fergie sing it. I’ve never liked her voice much, but the comparison with a duck at least is favourable: she is okay on this, and the pulsing bass and string flourishes on the production are very good.

Rodney J. Greene: Stacey Ferguson usually sounds like either a twerp in permanent adolescence or a trumpet sawing itself in half, each of which has an appropriate moment or two but is generally unwelcome. I don’t know if she took some inspiration from the Cyndi Lauper-quoting melody or what, but somehow she found this remarkably full and warm voice inside of her for this one song. Fergie is captivating enough here that I barely notice the shitty rapping that intercedes her parts.

Ian Mathers: Goddamn, Black Eyed Peas mk. II seem to have finally dug themselves out of the hole of being the pop-R’n’B equivalent of Nickelback. Fergie sounds as if she’s actually having an emotion! The music isn’t bad, in a cavernous 80s synth kind of way! The other three are interchangeable but get through the entire track without a really wince-inducing line! I actually won’t change the radio station when this comes on!

Jonathan Bradley: Black Eyed Peas have the knack of taking gleeful stupidity and turning it into offensive ignorance. They sound less like they’re switching their brains off to have a good time and more like they’re actively elevating anti-intellectualism in the hopes of realizing the post-apocalyptic dystopia of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy. How punk rock of them if they are, but that’s nothing to celebrate, not when it involves will.i.am vomiting the kind of lines Hallmark considers too hackneyed for general consumption. “Girl, I’ll travel the world and even sail the seven seas,” he intones. Worst of all, though, is that it comes accompanied by a tender keyboard figure, and a Fergie hook that is, miraculously, pretty. Pop music, even stupid pop music, is capable of better than this, and this hook demonstrates the Black Eyed Peas are too.

Michaelangelo Matos: Tempting though it was to write “Insipid, saccharine, clumsy” and leave it there, this is mostly just tinny and dull, albeit with some fairly nifty production tricks. Though the words are whatever, most of the blame goes to the totally uninvolving hook singer, who would have been better off sticking to TV, which isn’t to say that, by joining BEP, she didn’t.

One Response to “Black Eyed Peas – Meet Me Halfway”

  1. OK this is driving me INSANE because I can not figure out what 80’s music or movie that the ooooh, ooohhh on this song is from? Does anyone know?