The Black Eyed Peas have been on the scene longer than one would expect. They charmed smaller circles before and achieved some popularity with "Request + Line," their collaboration with Macy Gray. An image revamp and a dreadfully fine-looking blonde later, suddenly they are the hottest group to hit the waves. Fergie, the new addition, does not only make the group easy on the eyes but also adds enough vocals to make them sound less like an imposter Tribe Called Quest.
However, the music has become more manufactured and radio-ready. For example, the first single, "Where Is the Love?" is a hit too big for its own good, with a schmaltzy chorus sung by non-other than current poster-boy Justin Timberlake. The other hit, "Shut Up," starts on a good note but is then overwhelmed by its catchphrase.
The real star on Elephunk is "Hey Mama," a true dance number with enough dazzle to keep everyone shaking after many spins. The bass arrangement on that track alone deserves its own award.
Fergie shines on "The Boogie That Be" and "Fly Away." Papa Roach helps out with the only rock track on Elephunk, titled "Anxiety." The rest of the tracks fall short of even mediocre, like the disturbing "Let's Get Retarded" and the pointless "Labor Day (It's A Holiday)." Moreover, the summer-y "Latin Girls" is a genuine nag.
Elephunk carries hits and misses. However, downloading the songs will save you some hard-earned cash. The reconstruction of the band makes them more presentable and creates a niche for them in the pop market, but they still need to create a more complete record to earn some credibility.