In the past few years, will.i.am has been in a couple of movies, coached on the UK edition of The Voice and been a creative director at Intel, and premiered a song on Mars (for real). Somehow during all of this, he found the time to make his fourth studio album, #willpower. The album was originally due out last fall, but Will pushed it back after his harddrive was stolen and some of the tracks leaked on the Internet. It got a release date of April 23rd in the US, and last week Will posted the album in its entirety on his YouTube channel for fans to stream early. The reviews are now rolling in; head below to see a roundup of what others on the Internet are saying about #willpower.
:: Rolling Stone calls #willpower “exactly the Death Star-size Jägerbomb you’d expect,” giving it three out of five stars and defining it as “thunderously stomping dance pop that manages to be both hilariously one-dimensional and obsessively high-def.”
:: Express also gives the album three out of five, commending the amount of collaborations: “So many it barely gives us room to talk about the music, for which we thank them.”
:: “#willpower is stuffed with sounds that, while in no sense as cutting-edge as he likes to make out, crest the wave of the popular, from the Guetta-esque stomp of the Swedish House Mafia on ‘This Is Love’ to the synth motifs that decorate tracks such as the Justin Bieber duet ‘#thatPOWER’ and the Britney Spears duet ‘Scream & Shout’,” says The Independent.
:: Digital Spy says “With a bulky 18-song tracklist to work through, sifting out the best bits requires a degree of patience, but it’s worth it,” also giving the album three out of five stars and commenting that the song “Far Away From Home” (featuring Nicole Scherzinger) “proves [Will.i.am] is more than capable of turning out solid pop hooks when left to his own devices.”
:: “If you’re a lover of superficial and auto tuned pop and having a good old wiggle on the dancefloor then you can’t go wrong with #Willpower,” Entertainmentwise comments. “The star-studded affair is overloaded with feel-good hits that’ll keep you smiling throughout the summer; but best avoided if you’re looking for something more meaningful.”
:: The Guardian was less than impressed, saying that with all his other current obligations, “it might look as if making music is no longer will.i.am’s chief concern. That suspicion is certainly borne out by this underwhelming fourth solo album.”
:: Virgin Media calls the album “a forensic snapshot of state-of-the-art 2013 chart-pop” but says “it’s supremely slick, polished and chart-ready and yet despite – or because of – the degree of calculation, it’s a strangely empty experience.”
:: “Say what you will about will.i.am, he has a knack for crafting earworm tracks that are impossible to shake, in part because of their ubiquity, but also his ingenious pop-craftsmanship,” says the Boston Globe.