Black Eyed Peas' "Alive"

Why do the Black Eyed Peas even pretend Fergie is not their star? She carried the hooks for "Don't Phunk With My Heart," "Don't Lie," "Shut Up," "Where Is The Love?", and "My Humps." Seriously. will.i.am's production may be top-notch, but this group is nothing without Fergie's signature rasp. Or, signature growl. Or signature vocal personality.

Fergie's a vocalist-of-all-trades. And Fergie's importance is evident in both of the BEP's new singles. "Imma Be" is a blast--leagues better than the atrocious "Boom Boom Pow"--with excellent base and drum work. (Shockingly subtle for a will.i.am production.) But Fergie's opening rap, complete with the quintessential Fergie Ferg and "hips" references, saves the track from sinking into a safe pocket musically.

"Alive," assumedly the third(-ish) single off the yet-to-be-released The E.N.D., surpasses any previous BEP efforts since "My Humps." The chorus is derivative lyrically--no surprise for the Peas--but the production here is superb. "Alive" opens with a piano-driven melody, and as the track builds, the piano chords are replaced with vibrant synths and increased vocoder use. It's incredibly underplayed; when any BEP song peaks during an electronic organ solo, you know there is a good deal of innovation at work.

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