It has been eleven years since the mighty splash of Black Eyed Peas member, Fergie. Her solo debut, The Dutchess, was a widespread success, showcasing a playful and vulnerable Fergie. Her return – cheekily dubbed Double Dutchess – does not steer from this description. The Fergie brand is still very much intact, this time branded with videos for each tune. The starlet picked up where she left off, but one can’t help but get the feeling that nobody was really asking for her to do so.
Charting territories that reign between mellow and bold, this body of work offers many parallels to her debut album, even if done so clumsily. “Like It Ain’t Nuttin,’” an old-school hip-hop sounding joint, features hard-hitting rap verses from the singer reminiscent of her classic hit “London Bridge.” “Save It Till Morning” is one of the album’s heart-wrenching ballads, even enlisting the soft guitars that carried her other massive track, “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” The delightful Axl Jack-produced dancefloor anthem “Enchanté” is a success for the album, as well as the 80s-tinged closer, “Love Is Pain.”
While Fergie branches out on this LP, in certain respects, the project overall is a hit-or-miss effort. The urban-leaning tracks ultimately fall short or feel devoid of excitement, while the softer tracks feel like weaker companion pieces to adult contemporary hits. At times, it’s a versatile project that shows her talent, but other times it’s hard to feel moved by this record.
Double Dutchess is a fun and nostalgic rebrand for the singer, but the lack of cohesion mixed with the variety of sounds employed often seem difficult to navigate through. In the end, what saved the LP is the visual aspect, which carries each song to new heights; it is refreshing to see an artist of this stature use their resources to pull that off, even though it’s extremely unlikely a return on investment will be seen in this case. At this rate, I suppose we will have to wait until the 2020s for the third Fergie album released in tandem with a virtual reality experience.