Robbie Williams: His anthology of swing music

Written by AndrewMusgrove1

Robbie Williams will undoubtedly be notching up another No.1 album up with Swings Both Ways, but the 39-year-old remains far too much in his comfort zone for it to be a memorable effort.</

Robbie Williams will undoubtedly be notching up another No.1 album up with Swings Both Ways, but the 39-year-old remains far too much in his comfort zone for it to be a memorable effort.

A Long Awaited Return

After the success of Swing When Your Winning, a mind boggling 12 years ago, which sold more than 2 million units and remains his biggest selling album, it’s somewhat of a surprise that Robbie Williams waited this long to dip back into the market of swing. 

Now he has, and while it’s not a touch on Swing When Your Winning, it’s a decent effort which will get your feet tapping and head bopping if nothing else, even if you don’t want too.

As expected there are plenty of covers on the album but commendably Williams has filled it with seven new tracks, celebrating the return of his song writing partner Guy Chambers who masterminded the early success of Williams’s career.

Big Band, Big Names, Big Problems

The teaser track Shine My Shoes is a brilliant mix of pop and big band sound that Williams is trying to master, and it’s no coincidence that ‘Mr Big Band’ himself, Michael Buble, duets on the album with Soda Pop.

Cheeky chappy Olly Murs also pop ups and lends a hand to I Wan’na Be Like You which is arguably the best effort on the album. Yet the album has more flaws than anything else, Go Gentle for example, a warning of what life is to bring for Williams’ young daughter, if truth be told, is one of the most boring songs of recent times. 

Lilly Allen and Kelly Clarkson also appear but they fail to really make this album anything other than a mediocre money spinner.

A Sellout Release?

Yet you get the feeling that is what Williams probably wanted, money in the bank, a No.1 album and whole lot of fun making it: not bad for a few months’ work.  As the norm a tour accompanies the new album, 9 UK dates and 13 additional dates across Europe starting April 2016.  Tickets go on sale next Friday but if Williams tries to push this new album down the fans necks he might not get the response he wants.

It’s not going to outsell his 2001 swing effort and not one of the tracks will make onto yet another and inevitable Greatest Hits. But, it could be a lot worse; all in all it’s probably going to become a much repeated soundtrack to the festive period.

Take a look at Andrew’s review of Robbie William’s first swing album, Swing When You’re Winning below.

A trip down memory lane: Swing When You’re Winning (2001)

There is very little wrong, if anything at all with this album which brings you Robbie Williams in his usual cheeky chappy style but in a more than welcome sophisticated manner.

Williams is often the first to admit that he is far from the best singer but it his stage presence that ties him to so many and with Sing When You’re Winning, the ex-Take Man is able to be centre stage and take us on a journey back in time as he attempts, with relative success to emulate his idols.

While he’s far from Frank Sinatra and wouldn’t make it as an added member of the rat pack, Williams pulls off the big band and swing style with natural ease.

 The classic swing anthems are there: Mr Bojangles, Mack The Knife and Beyond The Sea all make an appearance, Bojangles arguably the best track on the album.  Then there are the duets, Williams with Rupert Everett, Jane Horrocks (Bubble from BBC’s Absolutely Fabulous) and even Jonathan Wilkes all work surprisingly well.  It just all sounds like a lot of fun and you really want to join in.

There are one or two tracks that you would be very happy to mislay such as the Nicole Kidman duet on Something Stupid but you can look past that as the rest of the album is something special. 

What do you think of Robbie Williams’ swing material? Have your say in the comments section below.

Image: vagueonthehow