wed 12/08/2020

CD: Robbie Williams - Take The Crown | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Robbie Williams - Take The Crown

CD: Robbie Williams - Take The Crown

Take That star's ninth album is a brashly carefree mixed bag

Robbie Williams, aiming for the Midas touch

A certain type of pop star takes time to lose their baggage. Once upon a time it was hard to enjoy The Monkees’ "Daydream Believer" or The Osmonds’ "Crazy Horses" because the bands were mired neck deep in record company shittiness and (as they didn’t call it then) corporate brand marketing. Thus it was with Robbie Williams a generation later. Some will never get over the fact he was “the cheeky one” from Take That, a crappy boy band who eventually came good with the critics. Nevertheless, Williams is likeable, he has showbiz genes tempered with unpredictability and a fascinating, unlikely openness.

He returns to the fray with much to prove. Despite a reasonably popular last album and a profile-raising reunion with Take That, there’s still a sense he’s waiting to return to full pop potency (hence the album’s title, undoubtedly). As ever, Williams refuses to be musically pigeon-holed. There are a host of numbers that, while tuneful and catchy, are couched in big US FM radio production until all bite has been shaved away  – the opening “Be A Boy” is a good example. Most of the first half of the album is like this, with the exception of the jaunty single “Candy”, written with Gary Barlow. The latter half, however, makes Williams’ case. “Hey Wow Yeah Yeah” is a blast that combines Blur, Bowie and Underworld traits in three nifty bubblegum minutes, “Not Like The Others” musters giant power pop, The Buzzcocks by way of Cheap Trick, and “Into The Silence” comes on like U2 if they were operating in instead of on pop.

Take The Crown closes with a strummed duet, that runs from acoustic to epic, featuring American singer Lissie, wherein Williams passionately revokes ambition, ego and “being a winner”. "Don’t care about any of that shit no more,” he says. He does, though, and so he should as he has developed into one of pop’s disturbingly appealing middle-of-the-road perennials.

Watch the video for "Candy"

He has showbiz genes tempered with unpredictability and a fascinating, unlikely openness

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Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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