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When Robbie decided to rejoin his ex band members in Take That, we all knew it wasn't going to be forever, we knew he would somehow be stifled by the group dynamic, I mean it must have been difficult rejoining a well established band, who had done so well since he had left. It was good to see him tour with the band though, it made for a really great show and I wouldn't mind seeing more of that, but for now Robbie has got bigger fish to fry, in the shape of his new album...'Take the Crown'. I got this album this morning, and being a fan of Robbies music, I expected it to be a great, sadly, I was disappointed at first and very nearly turned it off. I left the album on repeat and went about doing my chores, and I have to say, it is a grower of an album. Five hours later and it is still on, which has got to stand testament as to how great this album actually is.
Just in case you have been on the moon, Robbie Williams shot to fame in the early 1990's as a member of one of the greatest boybands to come out of Britain, 'Take That'. With Take That, he had a number of hits, relentlessly toured and got into the whole drug scene, which culminated with him leaving the group on bad terms. It wasn't long after he left, that the band broke up too, and Robbie started to enjoy solo success with songs such as; 'Angels', 'Strong', 'Let Me Entertain You', 'Feel' to name but a few. After a string of successful albums and singles he patched things up with his former band mates (who had reformed and had lots of success without Robbie) and this led to him rejoining the group for an album and tour, at the time no one knew how long his stint as part of Take That was going to last. Despite the success of the album and tour, Robbie got itchy feet once again and decided he was ready to resume his solo career. Williams co-wrote all but the final track on this album, two of the tracks were co-written with former band mate Gary Barlow and the majority co-written with two unknown Australian songwriters, Tim Metcalfe and Flynn Francis.
The album opens with 'Be a Boy' which sounds like a cross between a throwback to the 80's and a Coldplay song. A pulsating drum beat keeps time throughout, with a synthesizer that sounds like it was pinched from Erasure. As soon as it hits the chorus it sounds very familiar to the type of sound you have been accustomed to hearing from Coldplay complete with resounding choir. Despite all this, the song really works, what an album opener!
'Gospel' is a great number with another catchy chorus (with a bit of swearing in it), I can imagine this one to be great live. It seems to be a song about looking back into the past, perhaps a relationship.
The albums first single release 'Candy' is a song co-written with Gary Barlow, it opens up with a saxophone and the melody reminds me of Sinitta's number 6 hit from 1988, 'Cross My Broken Heart'. When the song really gets going it does get very catchy, you have been warned.
After the very catchy 'Candy' we have a mid-tempo ballad called 'Different', this song shows that Robbie can still hit those high notes. This song sounds like classic Robbie at his best, it is a song about begging for forgiveness and promising that he's changed and he will do whatever it takes for the woman to take him back.
'Shit on the Radio' I have to say isn't one of my favourite tracks on this album, it is a bit repetitive with another pulsating beat through it, reminds me of the type of song you would work out to, I nearly turned the album off half way through this track, but then I would have missed the best tracks on the album; the final three.
'All That I Want' sounds very 80's, especially near to the end when the synthesizer really kicks in, and it is another mid-tempo pop song.
'Hunting For You' is another mid-tempo song, nothing special, probably the weakest track on the album in my opinion, it never really seems to get going until near the end when the tempo picks up a touch and by then it is too late for me.
'Into the Silence' starts a little like U2's 'With or Without You', perhaps the songwriters on this album were drawing their inspirations from the 80's because this album is littered with little throwbacks. This song is a nice soft ballad, not as good as 'Feel' or 'Angels' but stands up in its own right on this album.
Now for a change of tempo with the rocky, punky 'Hey Wow Yeah Yeah', lyrically this song is dire, the lyrics are extremely repetitive, but it is extremely catchy and is a welcome change in pace from the last few slower numbers.
You might want to cover your childrens ears for the penultimate track ' Not Like The Others', my favourite track on the album. This is a another uptempo rocky number with Robbie singing about a woman who is apparently great in bed and doesn't fake orgasms with him "And when she comes, she comes for hours
No, she don't fake for no one, she don't fake for no one"..at least that's the message that I got from those lyrics.
The final song on the album, 'Losers', is a duet with American folk artist Lissie and is a bit like a soft rock ballad in the same vein as Extreme or Aerosmith. Lyrically it is an excellent song "There will always be someone better than you, even if you're the best, so let's stop the competition now, or we will both be losers" how very true indeed. What a great way to end the album, because by the time of this song, I had really got into the album and was left wanting more.
1) Be a Boy - (Williams, Metcalfe, Francis)
2) Gospel - (Williams, Metcalfe, Francis, Lee)
3) Candy - (Williams, Barlow, Olsen)
4) Different - (Williams, Barlow, Lee)
5) Shit on the Radio - (Williams, Metcalfe, Francis, Lee)
6) All That I Want - (Williams, Metcalfe, Francis)
7) Hunting For You - (Williams, Metcalfe, Francis, Lee)
8) Into the Silence - (Williams, Metcalfe, Francis)
9) Hey Wow Yeah Yeah - (Williams, Ottestad)
10) Not Like the Others - (Williams, Metcalfe, Francis)
11) Losers (feat Lissie) - (Gruska, Gruska)
I purchased this album from HMV for £10.00, I don't normally buy CDs but this is a Christmas present for someone else and I thought I would have a sneaky listen before wrapping it, so no telling anyone ok.
There are two different editions of this album; The Deluxe Edition, which has two extra tracks and a making of DVD, you can purchase this from amazon.co.uk for £13.99, while the basic album(the one reviewed here) can be purchased from the same site for £8.99 or if you want the downloadable mp3 version; £4.99. Both versions include delivery charges.
Overall I love this album, it took a while to grow on me at first, but now I can't get enough and I'm sure it will offer me listening pleasure for many months to come (at least). I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect from this at all, I didn't like his last solo effort much, but he has pulled out all the stops with this one and created a musical masterpiece, there is only one weak track on it, just give it time for the album to grow on you though. As mentioned throughout this review, the album has a very 80's feel to it, so if you're a fan of that period or a Robbie fan, you will love this album.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Be A Boy
5 Shit On The Radio
6 All That I Want
7 Hunting For You
8 Into The Silence
9 Hey Wow Yeah Yeah
10 Not Like The Others
11 Losers (feat. Lissie)