Boasting the best album-length production of the year, will.i.am's Songs About Girls is a tour de force of next-generation contemporary R&B, all of it devoted to girls -- girls he wants, girls he wants back, girls who are gone, girls he's glad are gone, and, of course, girls trying hard to make a living for their family as strippers. Although the trailer single, "I Got It from My Mama," had threatened to become even more obnoxious and unescapable than Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" -- replacing Fergie's awkward come-ons with will.i.am's clumsy rapping -- it's the lone note of pandering on this record. (Perhaps another should be guest Snoop Dogg lofting the word "donque" into the popular consciousness.) Recorded everywhere from Rio to The Record Plant, Songs About Girls percolates with more innovation, enthusiasm, and excitement than contemporary work by Pharrell, Kanye West, Mark Ronson, or anyone else remotely in the same league. Fortunately, will keeps the anthemic rapping to a minimum, instead sing-speaking or pleading plaintively behind a parade of filters and emoting rather than motivating. Musically, there's all manner of technical wizardry on display, including vocoderized electronics, surprisingly acid-washed synth on "The Donque Song" (how long has it been since Snoop Dogg rapped over a 303, doctored or not), and "Get Your Money," the latter of which may be the classic tale of a stripper with a heart of gold, but, powered by a swing-house M.A.N.D.Y. sample, should provide the requisite credibility to rehabilitate the man who unleashed "humps" on the populace.
AllMusic Review by John Bush
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