Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Robbie Tuesday- I've Been Expecting You

First off, Merry Robbie Tuesday to you all. Today we are going to look at Robbie's second album, I've Been Expecting You released in 1998.

Strong: Robbie's sing-a-long song. So much fun to sing to and good album opener. It really sets the mood of the album: let me pour my heart to you and have a cocktail with an umbrella whilst I do so.
No Regrets: One of my all time favourites. Features Neil Tennant and Neil Hannon on guest vocals and is just superb. The choruses are just epic but I think what really shines here are Robbie's lyrics; not so much about who they pertain to (Take That) but the anger and frustration that builds on each line. Key lyric: I didn't lose my mind/it was mine to give away. And Suppose it's just a point of view/but they tell me I'm doing fine.
Millennium: the first single off the album. Uses a sample of 'You Only Live Twice' and this Bond theme was used in the video and the album artwork. A deserving number 1 though I've never quite worked out what it's about. If I'm to harbour a guess, I'd say it is about Robbie.
Phoenix From the Flames: a beautiful ballad that is soft in the verses and loud in the choruses. It's one of his best slow songs- yes, right up there with Angels and Feel. Lovely piano part at the beginning and one of his rare falsetto moments during the verses.
Win Some Lose Some: A mid-tempo number about a summer fling. Really lovely and has a summer vibe.
Grace: Another midtempo number in the same vein, but after learning about what the song was originally about, it kind of made me sad to listen to. Grace was what Robbie was planning on calling his and Nicole Appleton's unborn child and I think the chorus speaks volumes. At first, I thought he was talking about the concept of Grace, which is probably what most people think of now. But with lines like 'Grace, I'm not yet born/come embrace a soul that's torn' its hard not to speculate.
It's Only Us: the replacement song for Jesus in a Camper Van, this was put on the reissued version from 2002 onwards. And it's rocker Robbie, a really fun high action song. Love the 'Rock me Amadaeus' shout out.
Heaven From Here: An acoustic ballad that is the younger brother to One of God's Better People. It's sung beautifully and is a stronger song than its predecessor, though I enjoy both.
Karma Killer: In my top 10 Robbie songs, this has got to be in the top 5. Absolute corker. It builds and builds until it has a spaz attack at the end. And that climax is wonderful- the string section sounds like it's high on coke. And it's the ultimate fuck you song with some brilliant lyrics i.e I hope you choke on your Bacardi and Coke.
She's The One: yes it's a cover, but it's a brilliant cover- the type that makes you forget that the original ever existed. A heartbreaking ballad about love or lost love, I'm not sure. But it's sung with such romance it's hard not to fall in love with it.
Man Machine: Like Karma Killer, if Karma Killer was in a Guy Ritchie film. So it's clever, less angry but its still up there in fuck the world stakes.
These Dreams: a beautiful ballad to end the album and is a touching story about a woman in a relationship that she shouldn't be in.

I think you can tell that I consider this one of Robbie Williams best albums and is in my top 3. Only wish I'd discovered it earlier. It's such a strong, consistent pop album and was a wonderful way to cap off the decade.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Robbie Tuesday

Merry Robbie Tuesday everyone! First off, Congrats to the man himself for scoring another Australian number 1 album and number 2 in Britain, unfortunately beaten by JLS by a margin.

Today, I've decided to review Reality Killed the Video Star, taking a detour from the retrospective analyses that I was planning on.

The album starts off with the ballad Morning Sun, which kicks in at around the 30sec mark with percussion and lush strings. The strings seem to be the centrepiece of the whole album, and so they should be because they sound AMAZING.
Bodies, the first single, packs a punch and is really the only upbeat number on the record. Not that I'm complaining. I still believe it is one of his best songs and is catchier than crabs. The video however is a letdown.
You Know Me, the second single, is a doo-wop number and is an achingly sweet song. The video features Robbie as a giant bunny rabbit. Nuff said. The chorus stays in your head for hours on end and I love the repeat chorus after the middle 8 (around the 2:50 mark)
Blasphemy is the last song Robbie and Guy Chambers wrote together and is from the Escapology sessions. The lyrics are very clever indeed, but the tune doesn't entirely strike me as catchy. I think more listens are necessary to appreciate it. Key lyric: What's so great about the great depression?/Was it a blast for you?/Because it's Blasphemy
Do You Mind? is a little more classic Rob i.e Sing/Escapology that's been given a kick up the arse. Bridge reminds me of another song, but I just can't put my finger on it. The chorus is a lot of fun to sing along to and I can imagine this being a fan favourite live. 'Does anyone fancy Monaco?'
Up next is Last Days of Disco WHICH WILL BLOW YOUR MIND AND YOUR LOINS. Hands down one of the best Robbie songs ever. I love when he goes heavy disco and the bridge is fantastic especially on its second and third appearances where he goes for a key change almost, and kinda sounds like Neil Tennant. And the dance break down? Amazing. The strings and synths just work so well together. 'Don't call it a comeback/Look what I invented here/ I thought it was easy' and 'The fascination of/a boy and girl in love'. Epitomy of heavy disco. Almost like a fuck you song.
The next track, Somewhere, is one minute long, but isn't called an interlude offically. It is very pretty and almost Swing Robbie.
Deceptacon is up next and it's another synth + strings mix. It's sounds really lovely too because it kind of soars during the chorus. The lyrics are great too: 'From all of us here/to all of us there'... 'And all over Britain/we wait for permission/to form another queue'.
Starstruck was described as the lovechild of Fastlove and Amazing by George Michael and it does very much sound like that. After LDoD, this was the next track I was eager to hear and did not dissappoint. The chorus is very ballsy. Someone on a message board said this is the kind of song Kylie needs- pop but mellow and catchy and I can definately hear her singing this. Key lyric: 'I guess the odds are very good/but the goods are very odd'
Aaah, Difficult for Weirdos. Upon first listen, I didn't take much notice of this. But then I heard it again. And again. And I love it. Wouldn't sit out of place on Rudebox. It is very much electro-pop Robbie, which I happen to love. Double points for this lyric: 'He's a lesbian/but that's okay' And the handclap breakdown.
Superblind: amazing chorus, average verses. But I can deal with that. Favourite lyric from this track: 'I'm the genius behind me/Maybe I shouldn't have said it.'
Won't Do That: Robbie's first love song. And it reminds me of Something Beautiful, a little bit in the chorus and I can hear remnants of Dusty Springfield and Marcia Hines in the horn section as well.
The album finishes with a reprise of Morning Sun, thus coming full circle.
Overall, I really love this album. His voice sounds so good and strong and I can totally understand what he meants when he said it's New Robbie meets Old Robbie and a Robbie we haven't met yet. It's a mellow album, but it packs more a punch than Intensive Care (possibly due to Trevor Horn's production. Moar please!). There's hints of Escapology and it's not as experimental as Rudebox. And like Intensive Care, it sounds like an album, like a body of work. The reprise also reminds me of what Coldplay did on Viva La Vida by using Life in Technicolor at the beginning and at the end of the album. Definately in my top 3 Robbie albums and a must have.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rove: signing off...

To cap off my lame birthday, I was in the middle of dinner on Sunday night when my buddy Karina texted me that what was billed as Rove's final show of the season was actually his final show ever. EVAH.
*cue sad face*
As a fan of the show, I can't say I'm too pleased with this news. It's been an amazing rollercoaster these last ten years. And yes, I was almost in tears last night during his final comments. It's hard to put into words what the show meant to me. It helped me get through high school and some weird moments in my life. I've met and bonded with some awesome people through it. But most of all, I've grown up with it. So it seems strange and at the same time right that this happened the day after I turned 20. It really does feel like the end of an era.

Thank you to Rove and all the cast and crew for everything. Especially the memories.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coming up!

Exams are over, uni is over for another year. Huzzah! Which means I can now devote some more time you my dear blogettes.

So here's what you can expect: - Robbie Tuesdays, including a review of 'Reality Killed The Video Star'

- My reviews of the Little Boots, Natalie Imbruglia, Damien Leith plus others
- ARIA awards rundown
- Girls Aloud and Sugababes belated reviews.

Plus anything else that pops up. Strap yourselves in peeps!