Release Date: Nov 17, 2009
Record label: EMI
Genre(s): Rock, Pop
In 1967, the Beatles were planning a new film. In search of a suitable script, they approached Joe Orton. He handed in a dark, lavishly camp farce called Up Against It, the plot of which variously required the Fab Four to become embroiled in a plan to assassinate the prime minister, cross-dress, be caught in flagrante and commit murder. Alas, the Beatles rejected Up Against It, Paul McCartney having smartly spotted that both the script and its author were "a bit gay".
In a muddy field in 1998, Robbie Williams won over Glastonbury festival with an energetic performance of Let Me Entertain You and a sly dig at his old band, Take That, via a mocking cover of their Back for Good. "Last time I came here, I got sacked," he said, referring to his ill-fated turn as Noel Gallagher's boozy mate. "Thank fuck for that." At this point Williams's fate as a solo artist looked to have been successfully sealed, and for the years in which he produced No 1 hit after No 1 hit, it was.
Some people never got over their parents’ divorce. Others never recovered from the split of Morrissey and Johnny Marr. And then there are those of us who still carry a torch, hoping against hope that someday, somehow, even after all these years… Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers will get back together. Because the simple fact is that Williams hasn’t made a great album since he parted company with former songwriting partner Chambers in 2005, and Reality Killed the Video Star, his ninth studio release, is not going to change that.
“Don’t call it a comeback, look what I invented here”. Yes, let’s look. How fitting that Williams made, as the showbiz fairytale script puts it, ‘his triumphant return’ on [b]The X Factor[/b], since he was the original ‘anyone can do this’ superstar. He was crap, but his knowing winks told audiences he knew he was crap, and allowed them in on a great old wheeze, while flatteringly suggesting stardom was in reach of the everyman.
Considering the humiliation of having a million copies of his last effort, 2006's Rudebox, shipped to China to be used as road filler, you'd think Robbie Williams would have quit and retired to his castle. [rssbreak] But the ex-Take That popist is back. On his eighth album, he replaces his trademark cockiness and flawed electronic experimentation with safe Elton Johnesque ballads.