Will.i.am‘s star-studded LP #willpower (hashtag willpower!) drops in just a few days, and in anticipation of that release, the album’s track with Miley Cyrus, ”Fall Down,” has been released. And, well, given the credits — Will and Miley, plus superproducers Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco and Cirkut at the helm — you’d expect it to be a monster. And it’s not bad! But it’s not the megasmash we had anticipated, certainly.
A militant beat with a muffled whistle evokes Britney Spears‘ “I Wanna Go” as Will and Miley take turns on the verses; the chorus soars enough to feel satisfying, but only just. For her part, Miley provides vocals ably enough, but the real problem, as always, is that Will’s lyrics are so mind-numbingly inane that it makes even his best songs feel stubbornly pedestrian. Even as the production gets unusually layered, shifting through various sonic modes — an electro break, then an unexpected string bridge — it never gets to be quite as effective as it should be.
Whereas her Snoop Lion collab “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks” packed a little bit more of an emotional punch, “Fall Down” feels mostly phoned-in. That said, it’s not a Miley song — it’s a Will.i.am song, which is a crucial distinction. We have every confidence that she’ll deliver when it comes to her own solo material, even if this left us a little cold.
Will.i.am and the universe, please — won’t you just let Miley Cyrus be great?