Black Eyed Peas Elephunk

If the treacly "Where Is The Love” single featuring Justin Timberlake wasn’t enough of a warning, the Black Eyed Peas third album isn’t shy about disclosing its lofty commercial aspirations. It’s a shame because it’s this focus that overwhelms the elements that made them interesting in the first place. Will I Am, Taboo and Apl de Ap’s first two albums captured a promising hip-hop group making up for their elementary lyrical ability with their eclectic musical sensibilities and energetic performances. Now joined to noteworthy effect by vocalist Fergie, the group under head Pea/producer Will I Am's direction, retain their wide sonic scope incorporating everything from Euro disco to Papa Roach. But the organic feel of the past has been replaced by a diluted accessibility that queries the musical motives especially when confronted with the excreable attempt at dancehall, "Hey Mama,” clearly hitching to the Sean Paul bandwagon. With the breadth of music the group attempts to cover, the dumbed-down lyrics now merely function as a means to get from one catchy chorus to another. It became apparent on the solo disc he delivered for BBE last year that Will I Am is a talented producer and on Elephunk his range at least must be respected. But the occasional surfacing of something worthwhile quickly submerged by the urge to pander for mass appeal just makes listening to Elephunk all the more frustrating. (Interscope)