As I write this, I am sitting in with will.i.am and a few thousand of his fans (#willpowerpeople, he calls them) on the largest conference call I’ve ever been a part of. More precisely—according to the softened language preferred by the tech industry that will.i.am so adores—I am livestreaming a G+ hangout supporting the hard launch of his new album, #willpower. But watching it still feels like being on a conference call; instead of listening to corporate in Phoenix or Denver, we’re watching our host interact with webcam images of Nicole Scherzinger, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Interscope head Jimmy Iovine. They’re discussing the making of the record and celebrating their collective genius. Presumably, they’re all in L.A.
For me, this album, its hashtag title fitting for a man whose stage name web browsers and Twitter clients automatically render as a URL, will forever be associated with an eight-months-ago livestream premiere of “Reach For The Stars.” The song was horrible, its dense strings and kid’s choir rising and falling only out of habit, as if they couldn’t come up with anything else worth doing. [...]