willpower (will.i.am album)

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The correct title of this article is #willpower. The substitution or omission of the # is because of technical restrictions.
#willpower
Studio album by will.i.am
Released April 19, 2013
Recorded 2010—13
Genre electronica, hip house, Hip hop
Length 64:35
Label
Producer
will.i.am chronology
Songs About Girls
(2007)
#willpower
(2013)
Singles from #willpower
  1. "This Is Love"
    Released: June 1, 2012 (2012-06-01)
  2. "Scream & Shout"
    Released: November 20, 2012 (2012-11-20)
  3. "#thatPOWER"
    Released: March 18, 2013 (2013-03-18)
  4. "Bang Bang"
    Released: June 26, 2013 (radio)
  5. "Fall Down"
    Released: July 5, 2013 (2013-07-05) (radio)
  6. "Feelin' Myself"
    Released: November 26, 2013

#willpower[a] is the fourth studio album by American recording artist and record producer, will.i.am. It was released on April 19, 2013. The album was originally titled Black Einstein and scheduled for release at the end of 2011. It was then renamed #willpower and delayed several more times. The album's first single "This Is Love" features Eva Simons, the second single "Scream & Shout" features Britney Spears, and Justin Bieber is featured on the third single "#thatPower". There is a remix of "Scream & Shout" that features Lil Wayne, Hit-Boy, Diddy and Waka Flocka Flame. Other guest appearances on the album include Afrojack, Juicy J, Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus, Skylar Grey, Nicole Scherzinger, Korean pop group 2NE1, Baby Kaely and will.i.am's The Black Eyed Peas bandmate apl.de.ap.

The album was re-released on November 26, 2013; the re-release includes the brand new single "Feelin' Myself" featuring Miley Cyrus, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa, and DJ Mustard, to replace "Let's Go" featuring Chris Brown.[1]

Background and production[edit]

During the recording of The Black Eyed Peas' sixth studio album, The Beginning, band member Fergie revealed in an interview that will.i.am was in the process of recording a new solo album, tentatively entitled Black Einstein. Just days later, will.i.am confirmed the news, and announced that the album would be released in the fourth quarter of 2011.[2][3] It was announced by will.i.am in November 2011 that he had changed the title of the album from Black Einstein to #willpower. will.i.am confirmed that he collaborated with Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Cheryl Cole, Nicole Scherzinger, David Guetta, Ke$ha, Alicia Keys, Swedish House Mafia, Rihanna, Shakira, LMFAO, Eva Simons, Chris Brown, Mick Jagger, Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beatz, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne and Ne-Yo.[4]

The artwork features a photoshopped picture of will.i.am's head, with his shoulders removed from the image, imposed on an orange background with a hex code of #FD5800.[5] The deluxe edition of the album features exactly the same orange color background. The artwork however changes to feature an enlarged version of the #willpower insignia to replace will.i.am's head as the central feature of the artwork, with his head being the back cover on the deluxe edition. Album artwork and design was created by Pasha Shapiro, Ernst Weber and Eddie Axley.

Promotion[edit]

The #willpower insignia was a major promotional tool throughout the album's development, being featured in the artwork of all of the album's singles and the album itself. It also replaces will.i.am's head on the front cover of the deluxe edition of the album.

In April 2012, Italian car manufacturer Lancia commissioned two commercials, both featuring a track from #willpower, to promote their new line of Lancia Delta cars. The song, "Mona Lisa Smile", features Nicole Scherzinger, and was lent by will.i.am himself.[6] However, the final version on the album is called "Smile Mona Lisa", and does not credit Scherzinger, though a different song called "Far Away from Home" does instead.[7]

On August 13, 2012, will.i.am held a "wrap party" in celebration of cease production of #willpower.[8] A flyer, which unveiled a silhouetted variant of the album artwork, invited fans for an open event, which would feature performances from artists who have worked on the new album and others. The party also included a private listening party of #willpower attended by invited guests, and asked listeners to pick the next single, which would succeed as the third American single from the album. There was a rumor that the next single chosen would be "Scream and Shout" featuring Britney Spears, which she later confirmed on Twitter. The party featured a red carpet event, which featured the new album artwork on wallpapers surrounding the event. It features the back of Adam's head imposed on a white background, imprinted with the words "#WILLPOWER" across.[9] The party also featured experimental light and pyrotechnics which will be used on Adam's upcoming tour to support willpower.[10] The event was attended by Lindsay Lohan, Meagan Good, Nicole Scherzinger, Steve Aoki, Wilmer Valderrama, Corey Feldman, David Faustino and many others.[11] The party itself was held at the Avalon Hollywood, where will.i.am, Steve Aoki and DJ Poet played sets of music which included music from their respective albums and new renditions of popular charting songs.[12] Also at the party, will.i.am performed "Fresh Shit" (later mixed as "Freshy" on the final version of #willpower) and "Dirty Beat" (scrapped from the album) for the very first time,[13] along with many other samples from #willpower. This included a brand new mix for "Great Times" (scrapped from the album in favour of another mix of the song),[14] which was previously released as a single in November 2011. Along with a medley of #willpower songs and "This Is Love",[13] he also performed notable remixes of Gotye's 2011 hit single, "Somebody That I Used to Know",[13] and Kanye West's "Mercy".[15]

In the lead-up to the album's release in Australia, Perth-based online newspaper Perth Now ran a competition to win CD copies of #willpower before its release on April 19.[16]

Singles[edit]

"This Is Love" was released as the first official single and the new lead single from #willpower on June 1, 2012. The track features vocals from Eva Simons. The song premiered on Capital FM and BBC Radio 1 on May 14, 2012. It was later confirmed that the single would be released in the United Kingdom first on June 24.[17] The music video for the song, part of which was shot on London's South Bank, with Tower Bridge in the background, premiered on May 25, 2012. The track itself was produced by Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia. The track peaked at number one in the United Kingdom, his first solo number-one single in Britain. The track was released in the United States on June 19, 2012, officially impacting Top 40 Mainstream radio, and being promoted with a performance on America's Got Talent.

"Scream & Shout" became the second single from #willpower on November 20, 2012.[18] The song features vocals from American singer Britney Spears. Both Spears and will.i.am confirmed the filming of a music video for the single's release via their Twitter accounts. The single was released in the United States prior to its release in the United Kingdom.[19] The track first leaked online on November 17, 2012. It features Spears chanting in a British home counties accent, and a sample of the famous 'Britney, bitch' hook from her single "Gimme More". The accompanying video was filmed on the weekend of October 13 and 14, 2012 at Delfino Studios in Hollywood, California.[20] The song received its worldwide radio debut on November 19, 2012. The music video premiered on November 28, 2012 during The X Factor.[18] The track also officially impacted Top 40, Mainstream and Rhythmic radio on November 27, 2012.[21] At the end of January 2013, a hip-hop remix of the song featuring Lil Wayne, Waka Flocka Flame, Hit-Boy and Diddy in addition to Spears was released. A new accompanying music video was released on February 14, 2013.

"#thatPower" featuring Justin Bieber was announced as the third single from #willpower on March 15, 2013, via will.i.am's official Twitter account.[22] Premiering on Capital FM that day, the single was released on March 18, 2013, coinciding with the news that #willpower would finally be released on April 23, 2013.[23]

"Bang Bang" was released as an official single in the UK. It officially impacted UK radios on June 26, 2013.[24] It previously served as an iTunes promotional single in the countdown to the album's release.

"Fall Down" featuring Miley Cyrus was released as a radio-only single in Australia and Italy. It was sent to Australian radio stations in July 2013 and to Italian radio stations in September 2013.

"Feelin' Myself" featuring Miley Cyrus, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa and DJ Mustard was released on November 26, 2013 as the lead single for the re-release of #willpower.

Other songs[edit]

Two singles which preceded the second block of production for #willpower were released before the album was initially delayed in early 2012. "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" was originally released as the lead single from the album, released on November 20, 2011. The track features vocals from both Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger. The single was released on the said date in the United States, and three months later on February 5, 2012, in the United Kingdom. The song peaked at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #3 on the UK Singles Chart respectively. "Great Times", which would later be remixed as "Great Times Are Coming" on the final version of #willpower, was released as the lead single from the album in Brazil on November 29, 2011, as "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" was not issued in the country.[25] The single peaked at #2 on the Brazilian Airplay charts, and was also successful in South Korea, where it peaked at #12 on the Singles Chart.[26] On April 16, 2013, "Fall Down" featuring Miley Cyrus was released as a promotional single from the album. "Bang Bang" was included in the official soundtrack of The Great Gatsby movie. The song was promoted on The Voice UK by will.i.am and his finalist Leah and with a live performance on American Idol. The song reached number 3 on the UK singles chart, and a video for the song was released on Vevo in May 2013.

Release and commercial reception[edit]

#willpower was first released on April 16, 2013 free to stream on YouTube, following the album's leak earlier that day.[27] With a confirmed release date of April 22 in the United Kingdom[28] and April 23 in the United States,[23] the album will be released on CD as early as April 19, 2013 in Australia and Germany.[29] "Fall Down", featuring vocals from Miley Cyrus, was released as a promotional single on April 16, 2013 as part of iTunes Countdown to Willpower.[30] The album debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 29,000 copies in the United States.[31] In its second week the album sold 9,300 more copies.[32] As of June 12, 2013, the album has sold 58,000 copies in the United States.[33] The album debuted at number 3 with first week sales of 20,464 sales in the UK. As of 2014 the album has sold 489.000 copies worldwide.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 49/100[34]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[35]
Daily Express 3/5 stars[36]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[37]
The Independent 3/5 stars[38]
Knoxville News Sentinel 3/5 stars[39]
The Observer 2/5 stars[40]
Popmatters (4/10)[41]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[42]
Slant Magazine 1.5/5 stars [43]
USA Today 2/4 stars[44]

#willpower received mixed to negative reviews from music critics. On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews and ratings from mainstream critics, the album received a metascore of 49, based on 13 reviews, a score which signifies "mixed or average reviews".[34] Andy Gill from The Independent gave the album 3 out of 5 stars writing the album is "stuffed with sounds that, while in no sense as cutting-edge as he likes to make out, crest the wave of the popular" and compared it to the work of other artists such as David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia.[38] Stephen Unwin from the Daily Express also gave the album 3 out of 5 stars writing that will.i.am "alongside enjoying a play on words, gets kicks out of collaborations."[36] Jon Dolan from the Rolling Stone gave the album 3 out of 5 stars writing "Will.i.am's fourth solo album is exactly the Death Star-size Jägerbomb you'd expect."[42]

On a more negative note, Kevin Liedel of Slant Magazine called the album "a slog of pop clichés and self-absorbed preening", criticizing how "every track can be boiled down to a handful of catchphrases, a fuzzed-up club beat, and some sort of glitchy, mid-song breakdown".[43] Additionally, Brian Mansfield of USA Today noted that the album, at times, "veers often into high-def electro-pop silliness", although he positively noted the collaborative effort with "big-name stars".[44]

Sampling controversy[edit]

Controversy arose due to identical segments between the song "Let's Go" and the track "Rebound" by Arty and Mat Zo. Arty claimed on Twitter that Interscope Records failed to ask permission from Anjunabeats before sampling "Rebound".[45] Anjunabeats has since released a statement that although Arty was credited in the sleeve notes, this is not a valid form of obtaining permission to use the sample.[46] This statement was made in regard to Will.i.am's comments made to the Associated Press in which he stated, "You can't steal if you credited somebody."[47] In a later interview will.i.am admitted that the sample had not been properly credited, explaining the situation Will said "I wrote this song to Rebound this last year. I got in touch with Arty and showed it to him, did a different version to it 'cause I asked him [to] make it newer 'cause I don't just wanna take your song and rap over it. But we did that, we collaborated. But in a year's time, time's gone by [and] we preferred writing over and using the [original] rebound. Something happened and the clearance… hopefully we resolved the issue.[48] The song was taken out of the re-release and replaced by the single, "Feelin' Myself".

Track listing[edit]

#willpower - standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Good Morning"  
will.i.am 1:44
2. "Hello" (featuring Afrojack)
4:45
3. "This Is Love" (featuring Eva Simons)
  • will.i.am
  • Angello
  • Ingrosso
4:39
4. "Scream & Shout" (featuring Britney Spears)
4:42
5. "Let's Go" (featuring Chris Brown)
will.i.am 5:34
6. "Gettin' Dumb" (featuring apl.de.ap and 2NE1)
  • will.i.am
  • Free School
  • FRESHM3N III
5:13
7. "Geekin'"   will.i.am 3:34
8. "Freshy" (featuring Juicy J)
  • Adams
  • Jordan Houston
  • D. Eversley
  • H. Eversley
  • Spearman
  • Jaime L. Munson
  • FRESHM3N III
  • will.i.am
  • Poet
4:06
9. "#thatPOWER" (featuring Justin Bieber)
  • Leroy
  • will.i.am
4:39
10. "Great Times Are Coming"  
  • Adams
  • D. Eversley
  • H. Eversley
  • Spearman
  • Leroy
  • will.i.am
  • FRESHM3N III
  • Leroy
4:36
11. "The World Is Crazy" (featuring Dante Santiago)
will.i.am 3:59
12. "Fall Down" (featuring Miley Cyrus)
5:07
13. "Love Bullets" (featuring Skylar Grey)
  • will.i.am
  • Zach "GFG" Jones[a]
4:11
14. "Far Away from Home" (featuring Nicole Scherzinger)
  • Adams
  • Gottwald
  • Walter
will.i.am 3:54
15. "Ghetto Ghetto" (featuring Baby Kaely)
Maejor Ali 3:52
Total length:
64:35
Deluxe edition bonus tracks[49]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
16. "Reach for the Stars"  
  • Adams
  • Kenny Oliver
  • Onree Gill
  • will.i.am
  • Dr. Luke
4:21
17. "Smile Mona Lisa"  
  • Adams
  • Pajon, Jr.
  • Antonio Maria
  • Luis Bonfa
will.i.am 3:36
18. "Bang Bang"  
will.i.am 4:38
Total length:
76:37
Re-release
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
5. "Feelin' Myself" (featuring Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa, French Montana and DJ Mustard)
  • Adams
  • DJ Mustard
  • SARE
4:13
Notes
  • Tracking Engineers: Afrojack, Chris "Tek" O'Ryan, Daniel Zaidenstadt, David Levy, John Hanes, Josh Gudwin, Padriac Kerin, Poet, will.i.am
  • Mix Engineers: Dylan Dresdow, Serban Ghenea, Steve Duda.
  • Mastering Engineers: Brian "Big Bass" Gardner
  • ^[a] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[b] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[c] signifies a remixer
  • "Let's Go" was replaced by "Feelin' Myself" on the re-release.
Sample credits
  • "Good Morning" contains an interpolation of "Flowers Bloom", written by Jack Milas and Oli Chang, as performed by High Highs.
  • "Smile Mona Lisa" contains elements of "Manhã de Carnaval", written by Luiz Bonfá, Antônio Maria, Les Nouvelles Editions Méridian (Sacem)
  • "Let's Go" samples elements of the song "Rebound" by Arty and Mat Zo.[48]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Edition Label
Germany[29] April 19, 2013 Digital download, CD Standard, deluxe Universal Music
Australia[78]
United Kingdom[28] April 22, 2013 Polydor Records
United States[23] April 23, 2013 Interscope Records
France[79]
Japan[80] April 24, 2013 Universal Music Japan
United States[81] November 26, 2013 Re-release Interscope/Universal
United Kingdom[82] January 26, 2014 Polydor Records

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The hash character is not pronounced.

References[edit]

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