Fergie drops sophomore album eleven years after her debut
It does take some courage to come back eleven(!) years after your debut and casually drop another album. It is what Fergie did. The singer and songwriter who had her breakthrough as part of The Black Eyed Peas dropped The Dutchess back in 2006 and has been plotting her comeback ever since 2014 when ‘L.A. Love (La La)’ was released. A few more singles were released, but not one did grow out to be a proper hit. That did not stop ‘Fergie Ferg’ from ‘doing a Beyoncé’ by creating a visual album complete with a video for every song.
The road to the release of Double Dutchess wasn’t without struggles as an early version of the album leaked months ago. Fergie and her team still pulled through, and although they did not work with a budget like Beyoncé would have had by the looks of it, a whole lot of effort was put into this project. After listening to the album and watching the ‘visual experience’ I can’t help but be surprised that they made this album in such a big deal while hits and memorable songs are lacking to begin with.
Fergie goes back and forth between pop and hiphop from first track ‘Hunger’ (feat. Rick Ross) on. The lyrics which are meant to be inspirational fall flat and the track comes across slightly pretentious if you hear the rest of the album it is supposed to set the tone for. Last year’s single ‘M.I.L.F. $’ still sounds as messy in context to the rest of the record as it did before. ‘Like It Ain’t Nuttin” has a cool 90s hiphop vibe going on with a catchy piano sample on a loop in the production, but the money obsessed lyrics are both cringey and cliche.
It would be unfair to say Double Dutchess does not have its moments though. Single ‘Life Goes On’ is a well-written laidback pop tune with a soaring chorus and exactly the type of song that fits Fergie’s voice. ‘Enchanté (Carine)’, which features Fergie’s son’s Axl Jack’s vocals, is playful, insanely catchy and a creative use of the tropical bop trend. The music video featuring Kendall Jenner has some unique editing going on and probably is her best shot at a hit, both in terms of song and visual. On ballad ‘A Little Work’ Fergie deals with the demons of her past and especially the video is quite the moving experience. We witness her journey and a spiritual experience in a church, with some excellent shots and a convincing performance by miss Ferguson. ‘Save It Til Morning’ is probably the most radiofriendly ballad on the record with a big chorus dealing with a break-up, in a similar vein to Fergie’s hit ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’.
Nicki Minaj collaboration ‘You Already Know’, the current single, does have a contemporary production and a decent hook, but seems to be missing something that the whole record and the visual experience are lacking: that little bit extra that makes it stand out. Double Dutchess is not necessarily a unlistenable album, but the highs are too few and most of the tracks, and the videos for that matter, pass by without a lasting experience, which should not be an option for a record that was supposed to re-launch a solo career after eleven years.