Music critic, friend, and prolific freelancer Dan Weiss wrote a piece for the San Francisco Weekly called Here’s Why People Really Hate the Black Eyed Peas — and Why It’s Unfair. His piece was in response to Ann Powers’ similar article Pop’s Punching Bag: Hating The Black Eyed Peas, both addressing why people have such hatred for what is otherwise Just Another Pop Group.
Dan’s main point is essentially this:
Anyway, people hate the Peas not because of their lack of realism or accountability, but because their lyrics don’t even pretend to carry heft or lead listeners toward anything but a big, unspecific party. We “know” they glorify drinking, but their lack of specificity (some would say substance) couldn’t influence a dorm-mate to chug a shot.
Yes, the Peas have corny, nonsensical lyrics. But hating them on that basis betrays a misunderstanding of pop music’s great history of corny, nonsensical lyrics. From Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” to Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” the people who make these songs hits simply do not care. They want to dance and be as silly as possible, sometimes nonsensically. (Haters might, however, have a point that the Black Eyed Peas’ songs have no personality, or even that the members don’t “own” their futuristic getups the way Kanye and Lady Gaga do.)
He makes some good points, but he’s also a little off base here. If you ask someone why they hate the Black Eyed Peas, not their music, they’re unlikely to say it’s because of their lyrics or lyrical content–though this is a fair argument for hating their music in general. Rather, the reason that people hate the Black Eyed Peas is because of how they carry themselves.
No one hates LMFAO. They like to party. They make music for partying. And, despite not having the cultural cache or face recognition that the Peas do, LMFAO are dudes that live (or act like they live) the life of the music they make, that is, music to get drunk to. LMFAO are the new Andrew WK: when it’s time to party they will party hard.
The Peas have nearly the same formula, or at least it’s the formula that has turned them into the biggest pop act on the planet. But the Black Eyed Peas don’t love partying, they love being artists. And so they act tough, they dress tough, they try to present themselves as brooding, futurism-driven Artists. Fergie drops hackneyed battle-rap lyrics in the middle of their songs (“I’m so 3008, you so 2000 and late”). will.i.am pimps himself as a Serious Rapper and shows up on records acting harder than he has any right now.
Because, let’s be honest, there’s not a whole lot to hate about “Boom Boom Pow” or “My Humps”. They’re silly pop songs that were made to get people on the dancefloor. Now if only someone will inform the Black Eyed Peas that’s what they’re doing, we wouldn’t have this problem.