Will.I.Am’s unapologetic pursuit of pop music gets him labeled “fake” by so-called hip-hop purists who hate his intersections of rhythm with dance floor stuff, capable songwriting, and the bohemian dress of his base group the Black Eyed Peas. These people would have preferred if the Los Angeles native had stayed on Ruthless Records and followed the ways of its Gangsta rapping founder Eazy E. But Songs About Girls is evidence that someone other than Lionel Richie can command a guileless balance between white and black music audience tastes while staying true to the trailways of the blues. Although he appears to be an exclusive member of a trendy Black leftist music club the image shifts when he serves crude compliments for the voluptuous butts in the room with wildly droning synths buzzing at the pace of a techno attack, Snoop reprising his famous G-Thing rap and android-sounding girls chanting about owning a donkey for a backside. “The Donque Song’s” sexist creed is almost passable in its seemingly satiric fonk frenzy but the shadow of the Hottentot Venus as well as the worn image of the thug sacrifices too much painful history for a lazy objectification of the gluteus maximus. Fortunately, these cornball tactics do not waste much space on the album that addresses women from different sexual and romantic standpoints.
Past colloborator Atlanta-based producer Polow Da Don joins Will notably on the cosmic electronic “You’re A Star” a dedication to a woman on par with the lights in the galaxy who’s bling are the rays of her love a feeling accented by his ethereal use of the vocoder. “Heartbreaker” confesses to damaging the affections of a past girlfriend within aerial shapes and Western movie guitars as Will’s muffled voice repeats a plea for pardon. The emotional weight subsides for the house lite booty anticipating “Impatient” restoring love’s excitement in the four/four body movement destined to succeed to the bedroom. Hip-hop’s biggest
reference here save for Snoop, is the allusion to the old school Boogie Boys classic “Fly Girl,” verbally sampled by Will and used as the title but the original one was sparse boom-bap and in his hands becomes a Randy Newman meets the Bronx type trip. Songs works well as a concept and its author sounds free playing to his inner ears because his relationships with these girls are round truthisms that don’t pander to any one party of listeners but exposes a neat survey of urban sounds that erases the shame from that thing called pop.