Music Reviews
#willpower

will.i.am #willpower

(Interscope) Buy it from Insound Rating - 2/10

Due credit should be given to will.i.am for being a master pun-meister. The constant hitmaker and coding preacher sums up his identity into a condensed twitter hashtag, one that fittingly describes a self-determined producer with the mad talent of writing the sort of tacked-on, blasé beats that continues to architecture the scenery of pop music with drab, brutalist walls. Besides being fortunate enough to have such a versatile name, he continues to splice the sort of lopsided, pitch-shifting bangers that are flexible enough to potentially get all the seven continents to get along.

As his logic permits, success can only be equated with how far you reach, and not by how much of an impact you create. He’s a forward-thinker, an all-around entertainer who’s fully aware that the smartest minds dictate what the future holds.  But as with every tech guru he likes to compare himself with, he also struggles in keeping up with the permutations of time. His process hasn’t really changed since he shifted from soulful urban rhythms to digitalized dance pop, and as the crackpot, looping soundbytes and warbling textures of Let’s Go and This is Love prove, you can only do so much by manipulating an audio console before it begins to smolder due to overuse.  Will.i.am apparently hasn’t gotten over his eureka moment, the marvelous digital drop in Time of Your Life(Dirty Bit), and will continue to rewrite that very specific throbbing moment in different variations, as it is imperative to safeguard a winning formula. And in doing so, simplifying things to a ridiculous extreme in an attempt to please even the cutest You Tube-dancing toddler as part of his latest album, er, focus group research.

But there’s no hiding the sheer, meretricious indulgence in #willpower – he boasts, “I make Google money, that’s a lot of clicks", in Geekin’; pulls a Kanye on us by flashing his rags-to-riches status (“used to have a ticket thing, now I got that bigger bank”) in #thatPower; and in Ghetto, Ghetto, writes the obligatory, conscious anthem, that’s meant to raise awareness about the failures of the education system, with reeking hypocrisy. Of course, it could be said that will.i.am could take some of that responsibility, as he declares fist-pumping declarations such as “I be rocking with you” with foolproof confidence. And let’s not go over the fact that there’s a track in #willpower titled Gettin’ Dumber.

At this point, will.i.am is so deep-rooted with his mega status that he’s become the living embodiment of a machine that produces barely edible, mass-produced sludge to the point of no return. There’s no denying the dredge of artless fodder in #willpower, a big-tent statement coated in slapdash string interludes that ends up insulting the listeners’ intelligence by expecting them to accept its tawdry spectacle in all its glory. It’s nothing more than throwaway electro-pop, puffed up with a glut of minimum-wage arrangements that will only appeal to molly-addled club crawlers and TMZ readers. Conveniently, he’s premeditated every song in #willpower with a bevy of wishy-washy, quotable clichés that are meant to fit the space of 140 characters. Sadly, that's as deep as it gets.