Times have changed - Robbie Williams is hotter than ever, and not just physically: Intensive Care might be his best album ever, even if it's not his most adventurous.
With "Ghosts", he starts the album pushing a few boundaries and showing that he still doesn't suffer from the malaise of false modesty: "Here I stand victorious / The only man who made you come" he says, almost cabaret style. Na, Robbie is most decidedly not the kind of pop star who intones Pop Idol runner up-style in interviews: "I just try to be true to myself." He's anything but insipid.
While the rest of the album isn't nearly as flamboyant as the opener, instead taking a strange tack, blending Bowie-esque flair and the straightforward catchy style of the eternal single. Many attribute this to the good taste of new songwriting partner Steve Duffy, who also plays many of the instruments featured on these recordings.
The Britpop inventiveness of "Tripping" (a hot single) has lyrics that, like the lyrics of many great songwriters (Arno Carstens for instance), don't make much sense without the music. "Make Me Pure" is a typical "me me me" Robbie ballad, "Spread Your Wings" looks back on lost love, "Advertising Space" is a kind of rant against the trademarking of trauma, "Please Don't Die" is about loss.
Though the topics are serious, there's a humorous kick to it all, climaxing in the rollicking "Your Gay Friend", about an affair with a married woman. There's also a wonderfully playful wickedness to it all too, like the eighties-ish cheese of the seduction song "Sin Sin Sin": "Neither of us need rescuing / just relax / It's what Jesus would do/We're made in his image baby / Let's ride this thing through".
He's cruel at times, and increasingly towards the end of the album, but it gets better as it get meaner. "Love, I'm a cynical bitch / I'm gonna scratch that itch / with a bitch like you" ("A Place to Crash"). Don't mistake it for empty-headed macho shock shlock, though. It's much deeper narcissism, as Robbie shows in "The Trouble with Me", acknowledging the unusual courage and emotional generosity he feels a prostitute posesses: "What a strange thing to do / What a brave place to be". He writes about an unrequited search for love on "King of bloke and bird", the incongruous closing track.It's tuneful, impeccably produced, mostly unpretentious, very sexy music. Who could say no?- Jean Barker
Even if you're not a major fan, Robbie's Greatest Hits is a must-have
WHAT OTHER CRITICS SAID"...his primary concern is "what on earth becomes of me?" From anyone else, this would count as solipsism. Taking into account the British public's unending fascination with every aspect of Williams' life, it seems a smart move."- Alexis Petridis for The Guardian...a decade on, the boy from Stoke frankly still has a long way to go if he ever thinks he's going to eclipse Take That's main man in the quality songwriting stakes.- Jeremy Allen for Playlouder.com
Gloriously imperfect, the personality makes the album, and it's his best yet: almost worth the 80 million.- Lucy Davies for BBC.co.uk
This weekend Scott Stapp, the voice of legendary rock band Creed, kicks off his world tour in South Africa. Read More »
Add your review
Ciara’s sixth studio album has beat and sex appeal but lacks heart. Read More »
Add your review
South AfricaCity Press
Johannesburg CBDResourcing Solutions
HousesR 6 015 000
HousesR 4 950 000
HousesR 6 850 000