Fergie’s successful (and rather schizophrenic) solo album, The Dutchess, must have gotten Black Eyed Peas’ frontman, Will.I.Am, pretty jazzed about putting together his own over-the-top solo album. And why not? The man is at a career high, riding a wave of accolades that includes some excellent production credits for talent such as Mary J. Blige, Talib Kweli and Kelis. Why, then, is the finished product such a horrible mess? Although Songs About Girls is a producer’s showcase that fuses a variety of eclectic genres, it remains remarkably scattered, and ultimately it’s hindered by Will.I.Am’s kindergarten rhymes.
As the title suggests, Songs About Girls is pretty much made up of fifteen songs about females — relationships with them, sex with them, and their butts. Sonically, the album does try to stretch beyond this apparently limiting title. There is a mash-up vibe to the production that grabs from house, disco, Michael Jackson, Prince, funk, and even Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian music. Sometimes it works, as on the spellbinding “Ain’t It Pretty,” a track that gyrates around a subtle Brazilian groove. Incidentally the track was produced by upstart producer Polow the Don, who is also responsible for Fergie’s “London Bridge” and “Glamorous.” (Polow also works his magic on the slinky “She’s a Star.”)
The sexy house flavor of “Get Your Money” is another standout, along with the Caribbean-style “Make It Funky.” But it seems all of the creativity in the album went to the production and not into the content. “I Got It from My Mama” and “The Donque Song,” although clever sounding, both contain call-and-response choruses. Just replace the “it from my mama” part with “donque” and you have a brand-new song.
Much of the album is full of filler, such as irritating tracks like “One More Chance” and the ’80s pop-trite that is “Invisible.” Will.I.Am is no singer, yet he repeatedly tries to do so here, and he fails every time. Regardless of what you think about Fergie, Songs About Girls would have benefited from a sassy duet with her. Instead what we get is a self-indulgent and silly album that never makes any lasting impression.