A lot can happen in fifteen years. Empires can crumble, incredible technological advances can be made, social change can be affected, life can be created, and, just as quickly, snuffed out. As well, credibility can diminish, musical talent can be wasted, the quality exhibited on the 1998 Black Eyed Peas record, Behind The Front, can be all but forgotten as something like Will.I.Am’s new solo LP, #Willpower, is released, leaving you wondering what, exactly, the fuck is going on.
For #Willpower, Will’s fourth solo outing, is as far from those halcyon (?) days as it’s possible to be, and while he does lay down a few choice bits ‘o rap, it struggles to breath, squashed as it is amongst fold upon fold of club-oriented bangin’ beats ™, pushed to the side by the myriad guests contained on this cut, a record which eschews what the Peas were all about back in the day and basks in all Will.I.Am’s relatively newfound ‘respect’ and ‘glory’.
There is no doubt a good number of the tunes contained within (‘Scream & Shout’, featuring Britney Spears; ‘Let’s Go’, featuring Chris Brown; ‘#thatPOWER’, with Justin Bieber), will find space in many club DJ’s collections, but lyrically they fall flatter than the earth, circa 50BC. ‘Geekin’’ goes all right, as does ‘Freshy’, but essentially, this is highly polished beat masturbation with little thought to aesthetics.
To paraphrase the American writer Samuel Clemens, “There is [goodness] on [#Willpower], but for every [bit of goodness] there are five blushes, ten shudders and a vomit. The [goodness] is too expensive.”
Samuel J. Fell
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