I-I-I-I’ve Had The Time of My Li-i-i-i-ife

25 May
(Originally posted 24/11/10)
I’ve had a confusing few days.
This has been entirely partly due to the new Black Eyed Peas track, The Time (The Dirty Bit), available to download now. When I first heard this song, my first and rational reaction to it consisted of ‘This. Is. Horrendous’. It seemed absurd to me that a band still riding high on the blockbuster success of their last album, The E.N.D (The Energy Never Dies), would return to the currently relatively saturated and rich landscape of pop with a Dirty Dancing cover. That is of course, if you consider it a cover at all.
The Time (The Dirty Bit) only actually uses the four line chorus of Time of my Life, so maybe it’s just a sample then? Loads of artists use a sample and it can make for a fantastically original song in the long run. I Need You Tonight and Just Be Good To Green by Professor Green immediately spring to mind although there are thousands of good examples over the years. However, once you remove the holler-back Chick-Flick chorus from The Time (The Dirty Bit), there doesn’t seem to be much of a song left. The Guetta-esque dance breakdowns are easily the best part of the song and would be fantastic as a stand alone dance track, but to say that the rest of the song’s lyrics were terrible would be like calling the conditions during Hurricane Katrina ‘a bit breezy’. The lyrics are so generically ‘in da club’ I’m not prepared to waste the one and a half minutes of my life it would take for me to copy and paste them into this blog from another website.
However, in a dramatic shift in logic, over the last few days, (specifically after hearing it three times during one drunken saturday night out), I’ve actually begun to enjoy it. As unimaginative and supposedly sacreligious (mainly to 35+ females who actually regard Dirty Dancing to be a good film) as The Time (The Dirty Bit) is, it manages to regularly bring a smile to my face. And whilst North Korea and South Korea are busy lobbing things over the wall at each other with the rest of the world cacking their pants over the resulting nuclear destruction of the planet, anything that brings a smile to my face at the moment is welcomed. Plus, even Gillian McKeith fainting over a leaf touching her shoulder stops being amusing after a while.
Today, (well, last night), marks the premiere of the ‘Peas video to The Time (Dirty Bit) which I first heard described as ‘The Peas dancing in a club followed by them turning into videogame characters at the end’. Immediately the alarm bells and metaphorical laser beams in my head sprang into action; perhaps this track really was as lazy and tedious as I’d first surmised. The videos to Boom Boom Pow and Rock That Body were a couple of the most clever and so blatantly expensive videos of recent times.  After viewing the new clip myself though, I found that, like the track, it wasn’t as bad as I’d first envisaged.
Ok, they do just dance in a club then turn into video game characters at the end, but there’s like pixilation and stuff in the middle alright? In no other video would you be able to see a pretty girl vom up pixels then wipe her hands of it, and see Fergie wiggle her pixilated ‘humps’ all in one place. Unless you have a particularly unsavoury Internet history, that is. Plus, it’s always fun to count the not-so-subtle instances of product placement. I counted three, anyone care to raise me?
My favourite part of the song is post the 3.47 mark where the digitisation of the track really kicks in and those immortal Hen-Party-friendly lyrics suddenly become distorted and auto-tuned into becoming almost cool and, dare I say the word, ‘hip’. I have been caught chanting ‘Coz… I-I-I-I-I’ve had the time of my li-i-i-i-ife…’ in various inappropriate locations over the last few days and for-god-sake-shoot-me, I actually enjoy it.
Admittedly, The Black Eyed Peas have never been the greatest lyricists, (‘I’m so three thousand and eight, you’re so two thousand and late’ springs to mind), but they do make great tunes that are loved across the globe by a vast range of audiences. Even my Dad is partial to a bit of Meet Me Halfway. Considering the mixed reaction voiced from both sides of the pond, it isn’t clear whether The Time (The Dirty Bit) will become one of those songs, however. It seems especially bizarre that the group would launch a brand new album, The Beginning, with a song so obviously divisive when the album already has an enormous amount of ground to cover to even attempt to live up to its predecessor. That said, I remember a similar (although admittedly less vocal) ambivalent reaction to Boom Boom Pow, a song which redefined The Black Eyed Peas and the notion of musical genre in general. Not since the heyday of Michael Jackson had so many genres of music been blended so addictively and inspired so many R&B/dance/pop crossovers.
Maybe this really is The Beginning of a new era in popular music, or perhaps, in a marked contrast from their last album, The Energy really can Die?
EDITED to add: How distracting is Will I Am’s licking of lips at the 0.24 mark. I now notice it EVERYTIME I see this clip.

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