The Dutchess’ proves royalty

The artist known as Fergie was born as Stacy Ferguson and spent most of her youth as a childhood actress.

In 1996 she became a member of the all female band, Wild Orchid and after she left the group had battles with ecstasy and crystal meth. In 2003 Fergie joined up with the Black Eyed Peas and helped propel the group into its greatest success ever. In 2005 they won the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Grammy for their single “Don’t Phunk With my Heart.”

Now in 2006, Fergie has stepped away from her lead singer role in the hip-hop super group Black Eyed Peas and made her solo debut in “The Dutchess,” released last Tuesday.

Despite her pervasive image in Black Eyed Peas, Fergie’s individuality always was lost and deduced to the well-sung BEP choruses. However, interestingly enough, with her first album she delivers a musical experience of vast genres. If you are expecting to buy a whole CD that sounds like the hit single, “London Bridge,” again, expect to be disappointed. The CD is an eclectic mix of sounds and styles but manages to still display a distinct pop feel on every song. She doesn’t neglect her hip-hop, which is refreshing in light of the fact that much of her following is based from that realm. “London Bridge” is one example of that. “Glamorous,” although less flashy, features the likes of rap superstar Ludacris. “Fergalicious” also pays homage to her Black Eyed Peas roots by taking a sample from old school hip-hop JJ Fad’s “Supersonic.” The hip-hop ends there, and Fergie seems as if she is just waiting to showcase her versatility. Fergie explores her creative roots with the rest of her tracks. “Here I Come” uses an old-soul Temptations sample. “Mary Jane Shoes” is a reggae infused song and Clumsy is a hip-hop gone funk-pop track. John Legend-produced a track and this is where Fergie’s vocal performance sounds eerily like Christina Aguilera.

Based on her vocal performance, this album should be wildly successful. Fergie’s voice is that of which legends are made, as we’ve learned from her history with the Black Eyed Peas. “The Dutchess” showcases even more of her vocal abilities. Lyrically, the singer is weak. She co-wrote almost all of the songs, and leaves you wondering if the lyrics were intentionally written this way, or if she simply cannot write. If it was intentional, it appears to have done the trick. Even the hit “London Bridge” has caused up a stir lyrically, and when the Fergie was asked what the lyrics meant (How come every time you come around/my London, London Bridge wanna go down?) in an interview with Time magazine, she was displayed vagueness, saying: “That’s the magic question. I’m not going to be specific with it because it can have several meanings. People should use their imagination.” Her slow songs (“Velvet,” “Finally” and “All I That I Got”) are almost better than the fast offerings of the CD. While “The Dutchess” isn’t a spectacular debut, it’s an enjoyable listen and leaves us in continued admiration of Fergie as an artist, with the assurance that there is more to come.

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