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Meeting The Black Eyed Peas Halfway In Honor Of 'The E.N.D.''s 10th Anniversary

Black Eyed Peas

Photo by Christian Alminana/FilmMagic

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Meeting The Black Eyed Peas Halfway In Honor Of 'The E.N.D.''s 10th Anniversary

14 years after their formation, the pop behemoths' GRAMMY-winning fifth album found will.i.am, Fergie & co. at peak body-rockin' power

GRAMMYs/Jun 21, 2019 - 07:26 pm

Listen—do you really think will.i.am thinks he's Kendrick Lamar? The first step to appreciating the Black Eyed Peas is recognizing that rap fans unfavorably comparing them to Nas or something would be like comparing KC and the Sunshine Band to Bob Dylan. Actually, let’s run with that KC thing for a moment, because that’s almost certainly the analogy. Those guys had "That’s the Way (I Like It)," "Get Down Tonight," and the ever-so-meaningful "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty." These guys (and gal) had "Boom Boom Pow," "Don’t Phunk With My Heart," and a very special self-love serenade entitled "My Humps." In fact, we should give will.i.am credit for realizing he is very much not Kendrick Lamar (or Posdnous or Black Thought) no matter how perfectly pleasant his group’s earlier, backpacker-targeting efforts were ("Joints & Jam" remains both a joint and a jam, especially the “Instant Flava Remix”). What exactly did they have to sell out, the chance to tour with Jurassic 5 forever?

If this is all a bit defensive, well, have you read any defenses of the Black Eyed Peas lately? 15 years on and the world still isn't quite ready for Fergie's "lovely lady lumps." But that doesn’t explain who was buying all the copies of their fifth studio album, The E.N.D., in 2009, which was this Gap Band meets Bar Mitzvah band's saturation point: for 26 weeks of the year they held the number-one spot on the Hot 100 with some inescapable song or another. So let’s rip the scab off the Chicago White Sox’s shameful Disco Demolition Night and go one further by calling The E.N.D. a front-to-back damn good album. If that requires people to have a decade of distance from these songs being blasted in their faces everywhere they go, then so be it. But for once the silly acronym really did mean that the Energy Never Dies.

It’s easy to call will.i.am cheap because he throws everything at the wall to see what sticks. But this method doesn’t get enough credit for its madness. Blink and you’ll miss that his first true hit, "Where Is the Love?" was a sappy unity plea with Justin Timberlake that at one point names the CIA as terrorists. Then there’s the majestically tasteless "Let’s Get Retarded," which managed to be ableist twice ("bob your head like epilepsy," holy moly). None of that wildness found its way onto The E.N.D., which is probably best for its all-ages dance party, though "Ring-a-Ling" does manage to slip in another "retarded" at the end, courtesy of Roxanne Shanté, who at least had the excuse of being 16.

But the understated Fergie classic "Meet Me Halfway" did sample the Yeah Yeah Yeahs like that's a totally normal thing for an electro-pop-hip-hop outfit to do. There’s plenty of trippy sound effects, like when will.i.am echoes infinitely beneath Fergie’s pre-chorus build on "Boom Boom Pow," or the Nintendo synth squelches that punctuate the title recitations of "Party All The Time," which may as well be the theme song for these Andrew W.K.'s of rap: "If I could party all night / And sleep all day / And throw all of my problems away / Life would be easy." Like Avicii or Skrillex but sliding in just before EDM boomed, the Peas had a winning willingness to do anything to make you dance, whether it's challenging Grandmaster Flash on "Rockin' to the Beat" or leading a turnt-up electric guitar through the all-purpose pregame anthem "I Gotta Feeling," or even giving Will and his trusty Auto-Tune an awfully pretty disco ballad to warble on "Alive."

Almost everything on The E.N.D. is better than you remember, starting with "Meet Me Halfway" (if you only give one BEP song another shot, make it this one) but also the futuristic, molten synth drips and Chipmunked hypeman of "Rock Your Body" and the multipart Zapp goody bag "Imma Be," which was the album’s third and final chart-topping smash. After their last two albums made the Peas the only act in the history of the world to work with both Sting and Papa Roach, their fifth album had a streamlined purity of purpose. Somehow there were no guests, or even super-familiar sampled hooks (which means Dick Dale's Pulp Fiction theme didn’t return for a sequel to "Pump It"). For reasons known only to these goofballs, they wanted to do it on their own. This may have resulted in Fergie's questionable patois on the otherwise Diplo-worthy "Electric City," but it also made these unlikely geeks the biggest pop stars on the planet for one long summer. If you’ve ever found yourself unconsciously humming along with "I Gotta Feeling," you owe it yourself to find out if the energy really never dies. I won’t spoil it. But you’re so two-thousand-and-late.

'It's Blitz!' At 10: How The Dancefloor Classic Marked A New Era For The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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"GRAMMY Effect" Spikes Sales

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

"GRAMMY Effect" Spikes Sales
The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards drove a 3.3 percent increase in album sales compared to last week, according to a Billboard report. The 2010 GRAMMY Nominees album jumped to No. 5 with sales of 71,000 units, a 55 percent increase. Top GRAMMY winner Beyoncé's I Am…Sasha Fierce rose to No. 14 with sales of 32,000 copies, a 101 percent increase. Other GRAMMY performers experiencing sales increases include Pink (up 234 percent), Dave Matthews Band (up 114 percent), the Zac Brown Band (up 82 percent), the Black Eyed Peas (up 76 percent), Taylor Swift (up 58 percent), and Lady Gaga (up 17 percent). Lady Antebellum, who also performed on the telecast, remained at No. 1 for the second consecutive week. (2/10)

Grainge Promoted To UMG CEO
Universal Music Group International Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge has been promoted to CEO of Universal Music Group, effective Jan. 1, 2011. He will succeed Doug Morris and report to Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman of the management board of Vivendi. Grainge will relocate from London to New York to serve as co-CEO of UMG in tandem with Morris for six months starting July 1. Morris, who has served as UMG chairman and CEO since 1995, will remain as company chairman. (2/10)
 

The Week In Music: New Judges On The Block
Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson at a press conference for "American Idol" season 10

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

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The Week In Music: New Judges On The Block

"American Idol" redux leads The Week In Music

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

And your next "American Idol" judges are…"Jenny From The Block" and the man behind "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)." At a press conference on Wednesday, Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler were announced as the two new judges for season 10 of the revamped show. Contestants seemed to be brimming with sweet emotion regarding Tyler's new venture: "I'm super excited," said Kaeli Filpi, a contestant from Los Angeles. "My parents are all into '80s classic rock, so I'm a huge fan of him. I'm so excited." After nearly a decade with the predictably supportive Paula Abdul and skeptical Simon Cowell, viewers could be in for a pleasant change. How will J-Lo, Tyler and top dawg Randy Jackson fare? We'll find out when season 10 launches in January 2011.

Katy Perry is one California gurl that runs a little too hot for Bert and Ernie, Grover, Big Bird, Mr. Snuffleupagus, and the gang over at "Sesame Street." The show issued a statement saying it would not air a taped segment featuring Perry and everyone's favorite tickle buddy, Elmo, due to "feedback" they received. It appears Perry's wardrobe choice during her skit with Elmo and performance of "Hot 'N Cold" was deemed too revealing for the kids. A representative for Perry said the pop star enjoyed her time on the show. Elmo could not be reached for comment but did exclaim, "That tickles!" Meanwhile, the clip in question is available to view at Perry's website.

In real estate news, the last home of late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia is up for sale. The asking price? A cool $4 million. The 11-acre, 7,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style estate is located in Marin, Calif., just north of the famed psychedelic rock act's San Francisco base. The previous owner renovated the house shortly after Garcia's death in 1995, selling many of the home's fixtures to raise money for charity, including the guitarist's…toilet. Heading just six hours south you'll find the residence of late heavy metal icon Ronnie James Dio up for grabs. The 5,000-square-foot, English Manor-style home located in Encino, Calif., is on the market for approximately $3.4 million. Amenities include new appliances, a pub bar, 200-year-old wood floors, five bedrooms, and five bathrooms featuring five toilets that can be potentially sold for charity.

Billboard reported that the Michael Jackson estate has entered a licensing deal with SEE Virtual Worlds to create an online virtual world, "Planet Michael." The planet will live inside the Entropia Universe, a massive, multiplayer online game that has approximately 100,000 active users. Game play will focus on Jackson's dance moves and reflect his belief in nonviolence, which will be seen as a departure from other online multiplayer games such as "World Of Warcraft." "With Michael Jackson, we're aiming at different game play," said Martin Biallas, SEE Virtual Worlds CEO. The "Bad" virtual world is slated to be unleashed in late 2011.

Speaking of games, the Huffington Post released its list of Game Changers, celebrating 100 innovators, visionaries and leaders across entertainment, technology and media, among other categories. The main criteria for being included on the list? A willingness to take a risk by saying, "I think I have a better way." The lone musician game changer is will.i.am., who knows how to get things started. Other notables include Kalpen Modi, who parlayed his role as Kal Penn in films such as Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle into a position with the White House and has participated in The Recording Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill advocacy event; and Apple chief Steve Jobs, who started an iRevolution.

"Glee" kicked off its sophomore year this past Tuesday and the ratings sang to a tune of an impressive 12.3 million viewers. In the season's debut episode, the cast performed hits from Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Lady Gaga. Of course, music and television have always fit together like peanut butter and jelly, evidenced by Billboard's list of top TV themes that have impacted the charts over the past three decades. Themes on the list include "Theme From The Dukes Of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys) " by Waylon Jennings, "Theme From Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not)" by Joey Scarbury, "Moonlighting (Theme)" by Al Jarreau, "As Long As We Got Each Other" (theme from "Growing Pains") by Steve Dorff & Friends, and "I'll Be There for You" by the Rembrandts (theme from "Friends"), among others. Sadly, the theme to "Saved By The Bell: The College Years" did not make the cut.

After hosting the 82nd Academy Awards last year, actor/comedian/GRAMMY winner Steve Martin has gotten in the business of handing out awards himself with the creation of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. This year's inaugural award went to banjoist Noam Pikelny of the Punch Brothers, who received a cash prize of $50,000, funded by the Steve Martin Charitable Foundation. Pikelny was chosen by a group of board members, including Béla Fleck, Martin, Earl Scruggs, and Pete Wernick.

Elvis Costello is taking an old-school route with the release of four tracks off his forthcoming album, National Ransom, on a pair of 78 rpm discs. The GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter posted a semi-cryptic announcement on his website to alert fans of the limited releases. Details on pricing were not mentioned, but 25 pressings of the limited-edition releases will be made available, each of them personally autographed by Costello.

Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are" is tops on the Billboard Hot 100 while "Empire State Of Mind (Glee Cast Version)" holds the No. 1 spot on the iTunes singles chart.

Any news we've missed? Comment below.

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Last Week In Music
 

TLC, Chicago, Kelly Rowland & More Announced As Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Performers

TLC 

Photo: Alison Buck/Getty Images

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TLC, Chicago, Kelly Rowland & More Announced As Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Performers

The 93rd annual Thanksgiving celebration will make its way through Manhattan, with musicians, astronauts, Broadway stars—plus a gigantic Snoopy and Spongebob—helping spread the holiday cheer

GRAMMYs/Nov 1, 2019 - 11:47 pm

Today, Nov. 1, Macy's announced details for their forthcoming 93rd annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The performers slated to bring festive cheer to the colorful parade floats include GRAMMY winners TLC, Kelly Rowland, Chicago, Ciara and Black Eyed Peas.

Read: Meeting The Black Eyed Peas Halfway In Honor Of 'The E.N.D.''s 10th Anniversary

Current Latin GRAMMY nominee Ozuna will also be joining in on the fun, bringing his joyful reggaetón to the Sour Patch Kids float. You can find GRAMMY- and Emmy-winning "Pose" star Billy Porter looking fierce atop Coach's "Rexy in the City"—a fancy T-Rex and the first-ever luxury brand-sponsored float in the historic parade. Rexy will join the ranks of the huge Snoopy and Spongebob, as well as a new smiling sun float from world-renown artist Yayoi Kusama, featuring her ever-present polka dots.

Broadway—including "Wicked" and "Rent"—star Idina Menzel is also set to appear—you likely know her as the voice of Elsa in Frozen and the Disney film's ubiquitous "Let It Go." Singer and former "Glee" lead Lea Michelle, rising Nashville-based, Canada-born country artist Tenille Townes, and 12-year-old Houston-born, Atlanta-based rapper That Girl Lay Lay will also perform.

Other special guests include "Unwritten" singer Natasha Bedingfield, K-pop group NCT 127, the cast and Muppets of "Sesame Street" and former NASA astronauts Kay Hire and Janet Kavandi.

The event takes place the morning of Thanksgiving, Thurs., Nov. 28. It will air on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon during all time zones. More info can be found on Macy's site.

Nirvana Manager Danny Goldberg Talks 25 Years of 'MTV Unplugged In New York'

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Carrie Underwood Wins Big At CMT Awards

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Carrie Underwood Wins Big At CMT Awards
GRAMMY winner Carrie Underwood was the top winner at the 2012 CMT Music Awards June 6 in Nashville, garnering honors for Video of the Year for "Good Girl" and Collaborative Video of the Year for "Remind Me" with Brad Paisley. GRAMMY winners Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert earned Group Video of the Year for "We Owned The Night" and Female Video of the Year for "Over You," respectively. Also taking home awards were Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Scotty McCreery, and Thompson Square. (6/7)

Vevo Launches Certified Award
Music video site Vevo has unveiled the Certified Award, which will recognize videos that have surpassed 100 million views. Since launching the award on June 6, Vevo has certified 81 videos spanning 34 artists, including Justin Bieber and Rihanna (who have eight videos certified each), Lady Gaga (six), and Black Eyed Peas and Katy Perry (five each), among others. Vevo will kick off its Certified Award celebration on June 12 with special programming spotlighting Bieber, followed by Perry on June 25 and Selena Gomez on July 23. (6/7)