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April 23, 2013 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-04-23

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 -11

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 11

Lead single best*
part of willpower

tKUM Fit 1u Ith
Charli XCX could be
this summer's secret hit

Will.i.am putters
out with derivative
DailyArts Writer
First and foremost, congratu-
lations to will.i.am for actually
getting the momentum to release
another solo
I album. After C-
"T.H.E. (The
Hardest Ever)" #willpower
- the track .i
intended to be w..am
#willpower's Interstope
lead single -
will.i.am fell off of the radar, per-
haps at the risk of having a repeat-
ed incident from his Songs About
Girls days.
The all-American rapper has
Britney Spears to thank, without
whom, "Scream & Shout" would
just be another failed solo project.
The number of times Spears has
offered to collaborate on another
artist's work can be tallied on one
hand, so will.iam is nothing short
of extremely fortunate. Spears
is one of the few artists that can
chart any song simply by tacking
her name on it, with very little
promotional effort required.
Most of the anticipation rallied
for #willpower is wasted, how-
ever. While "Scream & Shout" is
proportionately fun, bizarre and
contemporary, each track on this
fourth studio album falls short of
the entertaining lead single.
The record's other promotional
singles - the most radio-friendly
songs on #willpower, by far - are
mimics of existing material. The
follow-up to "Scream & Shout,"
"#thatPower," is a sibling of Daft
Punk's notorious hit, "Harder,


Better, Faster, Stronger," and the
third promotional single, "Fall
Down" is a lovechild of Ke$ha's
"Did Young" and "Crazy Kids."
Needless to say, Dr. Luke's pro-
duction and writing continues
to dwindle as he copy and pastes
his work with Ke$ha onto this
wil.i.am track. Look closely at
#willpower's album cover, and
you'll see will.i.am regretfully
reflecting on his choice of Justin
Bieber and Miley Cyrus as the fea-
tures on these two tracks.
Equally aggravating are
will.i.am's constant attempts to
make insignificantartists relevant
- ironic, given that he can't even
seem to solve that problem him-
self. For once, the rapper buckled
down and hosted a few big names
on his album (i.e. Britney, Chris
Brown), but that doesn't stop the
flow of irrelevancy from artists
like Eva Simons, Skylar Grey and
Juicy J. It's a wonder Cheryl Cole
didn't make it onto the album.
Given the emphasis on produc-
tion and features, will.i.am should
give some thought to the title "DJ
In another attempt to redefine
electronic music, overproduc-
tion swallows #willpower's other
tracks. The vocals of "Far Away
From Home" sound likethey were

recorded underwater - unfortu-
nate, given the power of Nicole
Scherzinger's voice - and filler
tracks like "Hello," "Great Times
Are Coming" and "Bang Bang"
are a combination of excessive
snares, kicks, wind swooshes and
anticlimactic bass drops.
Some controversy stirred over
the track "Let's Go" for the theft
of Arty and Matt Zo's dance track,
"Rebound," but in will.i.am's
defense, it seems that people ran-
domly had a bone to pick with
him. Beyonce is accredited as
being music's biggest song thief,
yet nobody throws away their
Queen B shrine that they use to
worship all of her accomplish-
The record summarizes
music's predominant flaw in this
early part of the new decade:
innovation attempts. Wheth-
er it's will.i.am, Justin jDieber,
Ke$ha or even Selena Gomez,
every artist is trying to reinvent
music at the expense of writing
a decent album, and the music's
weak foundation collapses under
messy production. Remember
the story of "The Emperor's New
Clothes"? Sometimes. no matter
how trendy something appears,
it's just impossible to get past the
fact that there's nothing there.

Daily Arts Writer
Each year, when Spring begins
to creep in, a couple friends and
I like to speculate as io what new
song has a shot of becoming the
Song of the Summer. Sometimes
it's a dark horse candidate, some
unlikely number we boldly believe
deserves it; other times it's a no-
brainer. Around this time last year,
I thought I was presenting the
underdog when I claimed that a
bratty little four-to-the-floor track
called "I Love It," from an unknown
Swedish duo called Icona Pop, was
the one. But it soon started show-
ing up everywhere, its guitar intro
revving like a vintage motorbike
shooting through a brick wall. The
women of Icona Pop, neither sing-
ers nor musicians, chant-screamed
an approximate melody in unison,
describing the euphoria that can
only come from freeing yourself
from the clutches of a boring lover.
It made me and everyone I know
feel like a'90s bitch. It was the Song
of the Summer.
That brilliant song was writ-
ten and gifted to Icona Pop by
20-year-old English Goth-Glam
queen Charli XCX, whose own
debut LP, True Romance, was
released on April 16th. There may
not be a shout-along gem like "I
Love It" on the record, but that
doesn't seem to be what she's going
for here. What's most apparent is
that the woman knows her way
around a melody. There are hooks
on top of hooks all over this album,
starting with lead track "Nuclear
Seasons," a master class in catchy
vocal melodies. Though the beats
on this and several other tracks
aren't exactly mind-blowing stuff,
probably best.described as "ironic
Tumblr, mid-tempo synth jungle"
underneath Charli's various daz-
zling vocal lines, the shtick works.
Charli XCX might have limits

That's where my Beanie Baby collection went.

as a sin
word a
this alb
are sou
and "Y
pie and
visits t
Far Aw
tor loo
cato si
vocal r
has sta

ger, but she knows how to out the bad eggs. True Romance
around them better than comprises 13 tracks and runs about
any subpar pop vocalist nine minutes too long. A quick fix
. Chorus effects; tasteful would be to skip "Black Roses" and
ne, English-tinged spoken "How Can I," numbing songs that
nd shimmering harmonies go nowhere, and "Cloud Aura,"
i. a perfectly fine chorus ruined by
the guest appearance of talentless
hack rapper Brooke Candy. Prob-
d -this to your lem solved.
A few days ago, I tweeted a
rimer playlist. video to my #songofthesummer
p buddies announcing the arrival
of "What I Like," the album's
absolute high point. It's an ode to
mebe clear: There are risky, straight chillin', sitting around in
ted vocal decisions all over the nude and smoking wkatever's
um, and almost all of them around. What's not to like? If I get
nd. Songs like "Stay Away" through finals and make it to grad-
ou (Ha Ha Ha)" keep it sim- uation, this song will be a big part
effective, relying on repeat of the reason why.
o empowering, mantra-like Summer is so close, and I can
es, while the infectious "So hear its BBQs and pool parties in
vay". is more ambitious. A this melody. My friends largely
s, high-pitched arpeggia- agreed with my choice, anothet
p carries the song along as dark horse candidate. They know
switches from punchy, stac- I'm pretty good at the game, sure,
nging to lazy, Lily-Allen- but more importantly, they now
brownies rapping. The know not to count out Charli XCX,
a buzzy, sampled male reigning Goth Queen of the Sum-
epeating the track's title, mer.
yed in my head for days. - The original version of this
album does suffer a bit from article was published on The Filter,
s unwillingness to throw theDailyArts blog, onApril17.

. .. .


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