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Album Review: Will.i.am - #willpower

1 May 2013 | 12:49 pm | James d'Apice

#willpower’s greatest flaws are those of its maker. Making your album’s title a hashtag is absolute bottom-of-the-barrel stuff.

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No reasonable person can ever truly have a problem with an entire genre of music, so it is a mistake to dismiss sugary, RnB-influenced pop music as irrelevant. That said, listening closely to #willpower, one might be forgiven for doing so.

Album opener, Good Morning – perhaps an unintentional echo of a seven-year-old Kanye album opener of the same name – sees Will imploring us to live our dreams over swelling strings. The idea is poor; the execution is worse. Hello follows. It's a soulless, would-be dance floor filler. Mostly, it's derivative; an echo of other songs we've enjoyed dancing to more. Scream & Shout featuring Britney Spears is awkward, and boring. Brit's performance is, at best, an underwhelming Madonna impression. #thatPOWER is a criminal misuse of Justin Bieber. One of the most charismatic voices in pop is reduced to a hook slinger. A wasted opportunity. Ghetto Ghetto is perhaps the most repellent presence here. Will wonders, “how (did) we let our children turn into goblins?” Too many will.i.am albums, perhaps. And at 18 tracks, the shortest of which (aside from Good Morning) stretches to more than three and half minutes, #willpower is l-o-n-g.

However #willpower's greatest flaws are those of its maker. Making your album's title a hashtag is absolute bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. Or, it would be, if our host hadn't somehow dived deeper by infringing copyright in respect of Let's Go, a track that sees Will uses Arty and Mat Zo's Rebound without their permission. He had previously hoped to work with the duo and they had turned him down. So… he just took the song anyway. It is the sort of conduct one might expect from the creator of an album like this. Awful.