by Daniel LeBaron
This reviewer was disappointed with a first listening of The Black Eyed Peas’ 2016 remake of “Where Is The Love?” known as “#WHERESTHELOVE ft. The World.” It was bland and lacked the energy of the original. If nothing else, it was “catchy” through techniques of technology. Later that day I couldn’t get the song out of my head, and since, it has grown on me.
Although in theory it would be best to review this new release on its own merits there is no escape from comparing it to its predecessor. Indeed, a knowledge of the original gives this new remake more significance. One can hear in this rendition a more somber tone. There is a weariness as if the artists are being tempted towards jadedness. Still they state bluntly the same questions as before reframed with greater recency. They want the world to wake up, look at themselves, and return to love.
The music integrates silence effectively. At times it is monotonous, at others funky. The diction of the lyrics is very clear. They have been updated along with images to reflect recent issues from police shootings to Syria. The message gets a bit more to a real, personal level than the original.
The new lyrics comment on the election “looking like a joke.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks recently echoed these sentiments at a BYU devotional when he called for more civility, mutual understanding, and a love for all. He said “The few months preceding an election have always been times of serious political divisions, but the divisions and meanness we are experiencing in this election, especially at the presidential level, seem to be unusually wide and ugly.”
The song begins with a computer voice asking “Where is the Love?” This might represent the distance from our own humanity that has been the result of our digital age. Instead of using technology’s potential to spread understanding, mankind often uses it to argue and become more rigid in a preferred worldview.
Elder Oaks, continuing to speak about the ugliness of the current political climate said, “Partly this results from modern technology, which expands the audience for conflicts and the speed of dissemination. Today, dubious charges, misrepresentations, and ugly innuendos are instantly flashed around the world, and the effects instantly widen and intensify the gaps between different positions. TV, the internet, and the emboldened anonymity of the blogosphere have facilitated the current ugliness and have replaced whatever remained of the measured discourse of the past.” This sense that social and other new media has separated ourselves more from love truly informs the style of “#WHERESTHELOVE.”
Even if a listener prefers the classic they surely can appreciate the artistry behind this “update.”