Are The Black Eyed Peas still world beaters?

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The last time we heard from will.i.am and friends, they were breaking every singles record known to man. In case you've purged your brain of the memory: In 2009, they had the number one song in the country from April 18 through October 17. "Boom Boom Pow" took roughly the first half of that, and "I Gotta Feeling" immediately followed. The latter is also the highest-selling digital download ever. And this week, they return to the charts with new material. Are we in for another year of Peas inundation?

There is early cause for concern: The new album's lead single "The Time (Dirty Bit)" is already number four on the Hot 100, and it's already the number one song on iTunes throughout Europe.

The song itself is a highly calculated, possibly deadmau5 jacking, bleepy dance song we have no trouble imaging in rotation as every third song on top 40 radio. We think it's terrible, but we've been thinking that about the Peas for a long time and it doesn't seem to matter much.

The video is pretty expected: Dancing in the club, will.i.am playing with gadgets, product placement. And speaking of jacking, does that album cover (and parallel aesthetic in the video) look familiar to anyone?

As for the big question here, whether or not The Beginning will have similar success to The E.N.D., we're guessing not. The production role played by David Guetta on the last album is being filled by DJ Ammo this time around, but a glance at the rest of the production credits indicate that will.i.am did most of the heavy lifting this time around.

With the exception of the unlistenable "OMG," will.i.am hasn't produced a hit since "Boom Boom Pow," which he didn't do alone. And since no one is accusing the Peas of being even mildly interesting singer/rappers, the production is what will make or break this thing.

Of course, "OMG" was a huge song and it's always possible that the this album has a couple smash hit productions on it. The bigger problem is that no one stays on top for long anymore in pop music. 2009's belonged to the Peas, 2010 belonged to Dr. Luke and 2011 will probably belong to neither.

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