The Black Eyed Peas have been one of the most popular hip-pop bands of the noughties. They were party animals (though not so hot on stage) and left their mark with a handful of huge singles - “I gotta feeling” above all.
There has been no official split of the group to date, but we do know that to their leader will.i.am the band feels like a tight fit these days. In the past few years we’ve seen him everywhere: endorsing Obama with the “Yes we can” anthem, coaching on “The Voice (UK)”, working as creative director of Intel Corporation (?), featuring on what seem like a million tracks and taking on the producers’ role including according to recent news the latest material by U2, operating as a counterfeit, poppy version of Jay-Z.
He’s more of a brand than an artist, and you can gather that from the name and the logo that identifies him which is enclosed within the recognized symbol for powering on electronic equipment. The record is entitled #willPower and you really need a huge amount of that to get to the end in good health.
#willpower is a long – an hour and a half in the De Luxe edition – and ugly collection of terrible dance music. A mixture of David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia (that by comparison sound like Earth, Wind & Fire) and all of the most fashionable sounds of today with the addition of an unhealthy dosage of auto-tune. So, this is a “trashy” record and bad imitation of music that has already been produced (better) elsewhere.
In “Ghetto Ghetto” the childlike voice of rapper Baby Kaely takes “Hard knock life” as a blueprint (which FYI has already been quoted by Jay Z), “Getting Dumb” seems like a Katy Perry track and “That Power” with Justin Bieber is a carbon copy of “Scream & Shout” with Britney Spears (with some ridiculous Daft Punk-like effects).
In all of this “everybody in the clob” with Britney Spears is one of the most interesting tracks on #willPower even though she decides to take up an absurd British accent without much of an explanation.
Still, the record contains a few tracks that will be inevitably blasted our way throughout the summer, also thanks to the long list of high-profile collaborators. It’s highly likely that the track “Fall down” with Myles Circus, with that recognizable whistling, will become the soundtrack of some mobile operator’s advert pitching the latest all-inclusive plan for the younger generations. Hip-hop inspired tracks like “Geekin” and “freshy” are the best of a bad bunch, but even these are copies of ideas originally developed by rappers like Kendrick Lamar or A$ap Rocky. And we don’t even want enter a discussion on the banality of the lyrics: reading the titles gives you a pretty good snapshot of the average level here.
Before closing, the Oscar for “worst song ever” is awarded to “Great times are coming”: starting with a piano that recalls “Let it be” by the Beatles it veers to become a Coldplay track and after mimicking Kanye West and stealing an aria from Johann Pachelbel ultimately morphs into the usual thump. Trying to be clever is one thing, but this is pushing it too far.
“This Is Love” feat. Eva Simons
“Scream & Shout” feat. Britney Spears
“Let’s Go” feat. Chris Brown
“Getting’ Dumb” feat. apl.de.ap and 2NE1
“Freshy” feat. Juicy J
“#thatPOWER” feat. Justin Bieber
“Great Times Are Coming”
“The World Is Crazy” feat. Dante Santiago
“Fall Down” feat. Miley Cyrus
“Love Bullets” feat. Skylar Grey
“Far Away From Home” feat. Nicole Scherzinger
“Ghetto Ghetto” feat. Baby Kaely
“Reach for the Stars”
“Smile Mona Lisa”
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