Review ·

Stacy Ferguson, a.k.a. Fergie, has had a long, hard journey to get to this point. She appeared on the cheesy '80s show Kids Incorporated before becoming a part of the girl group Wild Orchid. But it was her addition to the lineup of stagnant hip-hop group the Black Eyed Peas that made her a star, transforming the group into a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum monster. Hate her or love her, Fergie's strong voice, multi-cultural look and vibrant energy made all the difference for the Peas, so it was inevitable that she would release a solo project. With last summer's major hit "My Humps," Fergie established herself as a ghetto diva who kicks old-school rhymes and loves teasing men with her banging body. With The Dutchess, Fergie attempts to broaden her sound into various genres, but her attitude and style is best suited to playful teases.

 

"My Humps," full of throwaway charms, was meant to be a playful homage to old-school female raps and electro-bass conventions, and it was a massive hit. So it's no surprise that what works best on The Dutchess are the tracks with up-tempo 808 beats and silly throwaway rhymes. Tracks such as "Fergalicious" and "Here I Come" are fun and flirty and contain silly lines such as "My body stays vicious/ I be up in the gym/ Just working on my fitness." But they work because of the dance-floor productions that not only reference '80s hip-hop but also '60s Motown. The album's highpoints are the bombastic first single "London Bridge" and the brilliant "Clumsy," which contains a Little Richard sample over some blippy beats. When the album strays into other territories, things sometimes fall apart -- the cheesy ballad "Finally" and the even cheesier "All That I Got (The Make-Up Song)," for example. There are some successful attempts at depth as on the ska-flavored "Voodoo Doll," which frankly deals with Fergie's much publicized drug addiction, and on the sexy R&B of "Velvet."

 

Fergie is talented enough to compete with the likes of Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera, but the material on The Dutchess won't take her to those heights. She'll need to spend some more time in the studio if she truly wants to shine.

 

***

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Artist: http://www.fergie.com/

Band: http://www.interscope.com/

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