Saturday, November 10, 2012

Album Review: Robbie Williams- Take The Crown

Robbie Williams' 9th solo album begins not with a whimper but with a bang in the form of 'Be A Boy'. This is the perfect opening, paving the way for the rest of the album both musically and thematically, with the chorus directly responding his critics who believe he's 'old and irrelevant' (see what I did there Radio 1?). For the record, he is neither and this album adequately demonstrates that.

Lead single 'Candy' (and his 14th number 1 in the UK) is a boppy, bouncy affair, similar to 'Tripping', describing nefarious girls. You know, the kind who think they're shit-hot when really they're insufferable and smug. It's incredibly catchy and I can just imagine hearing a stadium singing along to the chorus.

Another highlight of the album is 'Different', which has quickly entered my 'Robbie Top 10'. It is nothing short of brilliant what with the amazing string section and the heartbreaking lyrics, pleading that 'this time I'll be different I promise you'. By the end of my first listen to this track, I was in tears. It is just that beautiful and sad.

The 'Coldplay meets U2' influence that Robbie spoke about months before the album's release is pleasantly dispersed throughout, from the 'oh's' in the background to the guitar on 'Hunting For You' and 'Into the Silence'. It's not overt, but just enough to know he's been listening to 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)' quite a bit recently. As a finale, the duet with Lissie, 'Losers' (originally by The Belle Brigade), perhaps is the album's grandest moment as Robbie laments that he 'he doesn't care about being a winner'. Though, you get the feeling that everything preceding this track contradicts that; he does care about being the best because there are some incredibly strong tracks here.

The deluxe edition of the album features a fantastic track called 'Reverse' which contains the great lyric 'it's just a bad day, not a bad life' and could have definitely fit onto the standard edition of the album. For Take That fans, there is also Robbie's stripped down version of 'Eight Letters', a song that featured Gary Barlow doing lead vocals on the group's last album, Progress. I can't say which one I prefer right now; both versions are both just as good as each other.

'Take The Crown' feels like the natural follow up to 'Intensive Care' rather than his previous effort 'Reality Killed The Video Star'. It's certainly an improvement on the latter (which was no means a bad album), but I still feel like he still has potential to write a truly perfect album, and that can only be a good thing. Right now though, Robbie Williams is the only relevant, interesting male pop star creating truly wonderful music. The throne is ready sir; come and take it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Check out: Be A Boy, Different, Candy, Into The Silence, Losers

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