- 22 Jun 20
Black Eyed Peas ignite a new and refreshing chapter with a dive into reggaeton.
Translation shows a brand-new, ultimately refreshed side of the Black Eyed Peas that overhauls their tried-and-true dance-pop formula. Heavily inspired by reggaeton and the broader umbrella of urbano music, the pop juggernauts pay tribute to the genre with a plethora of latin talent including Shakira, El Alfa, J Balvin, Ozuna and Nicky Jam, as well as American hip-hop staples French Montana and Tyga. Their collaborators' influences help transform Black Eyed Peas' sound into something that feels distinctly of the moment, a surprisingly welcome evolution from a group that feels almost synonymous with the aughts.
No track on Translation seems to immediately follow up the massive radio success of tracks like 'Pump It' and 'I Gotta Feeling,' but another track straight out of 2006 just wouldn't feel right. Amid the massive surge in popularity of reggaeton, proven by the commercial success of Luis Fonzi and Daddy Yankee's record-breaking 'Despacito' and the more recent love for Bad Bunny, usher in a refreshing new era of dance music.
The record is teeming with instantly recognisable samples, such as Gloria Estefan's 'Conga', MC Hammer's 'Can't Touch This' and Corona's massive 90's dance hit 'Rhythm of the Night', that make the switch to modern reggaeton feel more accessible and a bit less jarring in comparison to the group's previous sound. The familiarity combined with brand-new latin flairs and original songs make for immensely fun and catchy tracks, easily some of Black Eyed Peas' most innovative yet.
Opener 'RITMO' emerges as one of the most instantly memorable tracks, setting up the record for success with massive bass and club-ready beats. Strong rhythms drive the entire album forward, making the 56-minute runtime feel much shorter, like a party that ends just a bit too soon. Unfortunately, the record would have been more successful if it had ended just a bit sooner. Closer 'News Today' is an acoustic reflection on the current state of the world that feels jarring and out of place on the positive and dance-heavy record. The reflection is meant to be earnest, but comes out feeling sloppy. The message is somewhere along the lines of "we're all in this together, we're scared and confused," but it doesn't feel like the right thing to be saying anymore, especially as the song addresses the conspiracy theories regarding the virus spreading throughout the world. 'News Today' is easily forgettable amid other instant bangers, like new favourites 'Mamacita' and 'Todo Bueno'.
Ultimately, Translation is a major step in the right direction for a revamped Black Eyed Peas. The collaborations are seamless and the tracks as catchy as ever, cementing the modern global success of Latin-inspired dance music.