The Dutchess | Interscope
By KATHRYN PERRY  |  October 10, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars
Fergie taking leave from the Black Eyed Peas was as predictable as Gwen Stefani stepping out from No Doubt. The solo Fergie (real name Stacy Ferguson) may have been a guarantee: that the album would be good was anything but. Fortunately, her Peas pal Will.i.am threw in his support, and with Fergie herself co-producing and co-writing more than half the material here, The Dutchess is an eclectic, danceable collection of hip-hop, R&B, and pop confections in which she gets electro-funky on “Fergalicous” and just a little bit nasty on the single “London Bridge” and even brings a little reggae to the party with “Mary Jane Shoes.” She certainly has an ear for catchy choruses (just try getting “London Bridge” out of your head) and block-party beats that force your hips to sway. Sassy tracks like “Glamorous” and “Pedestal” are typical of what you’d expect from an ex-Pea; “Here I Come” gets soulful with a Temptations sample. Only the melodramatic “Finally,” with its big string arrangements, feels out of place. Fergie doesn’t have her independent pop-star persona consolidated yet — right now she’s somewhere between funky sexpot and R&B balladeer — but she’s on her way.
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