Fergie Strikes Back With a New Twist
by Coraima Camacho
On September 22, 2017, Fergie released her second solo album, titled “Double Dutchess.” The 42-year-old Californian, whose real name is Stacy Ann Ferguson, may be most commonly recognized as having been a member of the hip hop group, The Black Eyed Peas. “Double Dutchess” is the first to be released under her own imprint, Duchess Music, in a partnership with Retrofuture Productions and BMG Rights Management. The release comes a little over a decade since her debut solo album, “Dutchess,” released in 2006. For years, Fergie has reigned supreme at the top of the music industry. Now her fans, who have so eagerly awaited another solo project, can indulge in her latest release. Despite occasionally lacking lyrical strength, Fergie demonstrates that she is not afraid to take risks and cross musical genres. With a distinct mix of R&B, hip hop, pop, and reggae, the album as a whole gives off a fearless and daring vibe that befits its title, “Double Dutchess.” During the first few listens of the album, some fans might encounter mixed emotions regarding Fergie’s new sound. However, after a couple of more listens, fans can learn to appreciate her musical versatility. A wide range of vocals, guest features, and a myriad of rhythms give way to an artistic album full of fun, party-ready jams.
The album opens with “Hungry,” which features Fergie rapping alongside Rick Ross. This song pairs well with the other more hip-hop-based song on the album, the DJ Mustard produced “L.A. Love (la la)” featuring YG, which actually debuted during the 2014 American Music Awards. “Hungry” begins with an ominous beat that transitions into a heavy R&B bass. The song is a great introduction to the album, setting an upbeat tone. The second track, “Like It Ain’t Nuttin,” features a catchy chorus that serves to reiterate that, despite her absence from the music scene in recent years, Fergie still remains a dominant force in the pop industry. For fans of a more traditional, pop-oriented Fergie, tracks like “A Little Work” provide listeners with a similar sound to the renowned “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” which was a hit single from her first album, “Dutchess.” The song inspires listeners to face their personal battles in order to heal and continue personal growth while also shedding light on Fergie’s past methamphetamine addiction. Because of this, many critics are calling“A Little Work” one of the album’s most powerful songs. It showcases Fergie’s vocals, proving that she still has the talent that being a successful artist requires. The song, “You Already Know,” featuring Nicki Minaj, has major hit potential. “You Already Know” is anchored by a snippet of Lyn Collins’s “Think (It Takes Two)” and exhibits a modern sounding tribute to the past. Other tracks on the album incorporate anthemic lyrics with a rhythmic bass to ultimately give off a fun, nightclub vibe that allude to Fergie’s embracing of her hot-mom status.
There is no doubt that Fergie is in her best element when she sings. With her unapologetically real pop of “Life Goes On” and her heavily Sia-influenced track “Just Like You,” Fergie proves that, if she continues releasing music in rapid succession, she has the potential to augment her musical influence. While she does make a few odd choices, nobody can deny her natural vocal strength. “Double Dutchess” deserves credit for the risks it takes, such as featuring Fergie’s 4-year-old son, Axl Jack, on “Enchanté (Carine),” a culturally infused EDM track. The song is an ode to former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief, Carine Roitfeld, whom Fergie collaborated with to ensure that the record’s visuals displayed a softer, sensual side of herself.
Fergie demonstrates vulnerability as the album progresses. Somber themes of infatuation and heartbreak are expressed on the concluding tracks “Love Is Blind” and “Love Is Pain”. The first is a catchy reggae-infused tune that alludes to lack of affection and jealousy. The latter is an emotional ballad about the agony of heartbreak. As listeners hear these tracks, they gain an insight on Fergie’s emotional turmoil following her recent separation from Josh Duhamel.
“Double Dutchess” ultimately drives across the message of approaching any circumstance in life with fierceness and ambition. While this new side of Fergie might attract its fair share of detractors, her willingness to broaden her musical horizons is sure to showcase Fergie as the versatile artist she is, and will continue to increase her musical clout. The album might feature some unconventional music choices, but, at the very least, it still provides a fun listen.