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Robbie Williams - Intensive Care

2006-03-30 07:49

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


"...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

Gloriously imperfect, the personality makes the album, and it's his best yet: almost worth the 80 million.
- Lucy Davies for

Once, when Robbie was an overweight, drug-addicted ex boy-band star, Oasis playboy Noel Gallagher refused to recognise him as anything but "That fat dancer from Take That".

jonie 2005/11/10 7:23 AM
musical genius intensive care may not be what most fans expected, but there is no dissapointment factor to this album. the man has once again proven to be a musical genius, both in terms of lyrics and melody. Robbie has the ability to bring any genre of music into his album and pull it off with the utmost style and flair. unfortunately, those out there who have never been fans will continue to miss out on this man's ability to reinvent himself time and time again. Sorry for you guys, the robster isn't going anywhere soon - except to the top of the charts so best you get used to it.
Mo 2005/11/10 1:02 PM
can't wait Can't wait for him next year. so going to his concert. heard on the radio that tickets were R1500 each, but checked the booking sites, and its only R580 for inner circle. I'll going....!
Lynne 2005/11/16 12:02 PM
Great great great! The new album has a new sound and takes a while to grow on you, but, it's worth the wait! It has great 'bawl-your-eyes-out' tracks like "make me pure" (which has amazing, clean lirics), 'dance-till-you-drop' songs like "Your gay friend" and "place to crash", and 'think-a-little-deeper' tracks like "tripping". In just, a real celebration in true Robbie style and flair, and he's just only getting started!
Tiaan 2005/11/26 12:30 AM
Ek hou nie van jou nie Ek hou nie van jou nie! My naam is Tiaan
alex 2005/12/28 12:25 PM
super sexy!!!!!!!!! Hey R W fans!!!!!! i think his new cd is super hot and i relly do think that Robbie is SUPER SEXY!!! Can't wait for his tour!!! so see you guys there!!!!
Craig 2005/12/29 3:54 PM
Excellent AN excellent listen...not as good as the Ego has landed..but brilliant, none the less - looking foreward to his upcoming tour!!!!
Adele 2006/04/11 2:50 PM
Tiaan As jy nie van R W hou nie, dan hou ons ook nou maar nie van jou nie Tiaan !!
Val 2006/12/21 12:40 PM
Arme Tiaan, hy weet nie wat hy doen nie Hallo Tiaan! wel jy hou nie van RW nie maar dis jou prob want ek like hom! en ek stem 101% saam met Adele. you go girl!
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