Spotlight: Robbie Williams

Yes I’ve lived in the UK all my life.  Yes I’ve grown up with Take That and Robbie Williams on the radio.  Yes, Robbie Williams’s famous hits Angels, Rock DJ etc. etc. have been blasted at me from all directions.  No, I haven’t actually listened to a Robbie Williams album all the way through.  Yes, I am about to change that.

Life Thru A Lense (1997)

My first shock is how rocky it is.  It’s definitely not something I expect when I think of someone who used to be in Take That and I think it was probably a conscious decision by someone trying to shake off that boyband image and move into Oasis territory.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for me.  None of the tracks speak to me despite the heavy inclusion of guitar and I didn’t gain anything new from listening to this as Angels and Let Me Entertain You were already on the list of songs I knew and liked.  Clean should be banished to whatever hell you send rubbish songs to and something I definitely don’t miss about the ’90s and the 00’s was the dreaded hidden track phenomenon when you you find the last track is 14 minutes long.  My patience ran out.

I’ve Been Expecting You (1998)

So the whole rocky vibe didn’t last long and we’re back on familiar ground.  My expectations were not high when the opening line of the opening track is “My breath smells of a thousand fags”.  Man Machine is trying too hard to be Oasis. I think Millennium was the first Robbie Williams song I remember hearing.  That and She’s The One are the only ones worth keeping to be honest.
The last track is almost 32 minutes long?!  Yeah, I deleted that out of my library right away.  Bloody hidden tracks.

Sing When You’re Winning (2000)

Beginning to sound like a broken record but I only like the famous songs Rock DJ and Supreme.

Swing When You’re Winning (2001)

Fourth album in and he’s already changing genres?  I really don’t know what to make of this.  My ears are confused.  Very confused.  I’m not sure I am in a good place to judge it as Swing and Jazz are not my thing and I will probably only ever listen to this album this once, but hats off to Williams for being bold enough to change directions and showing off his vocal capabilities.

Escapology (2002)

I was looking forward to this album as I was led to believe this album is as good as it gets.  It houses my favourite Robbie Williams song: FeelSomething Beautiful is my first new discovery that I love and ….. that’s it ….

Intensive Care (2005)

The first album where I didn’t know any of the songs going into it.  Really like Please Don’t Die.  And that’s it.

The Rudebox (2006)

What the hell is Rudebox.  I could have happily gone my whole life without hearing this song.  Ditto Bongo-Bong.  Ditto Keep On.  Ditto Good Doctor.  This album made me want to give up and delete his entire catalogue.

Reality Killed The Video Star (2009)

Thank god for Bodies and You Know Me for restoring some of my faith in the British public for making Williams one of the most successful artists..  I came out of The Rudebox wondering whether everyone was on drugs for liking this dude.

Take The Crown (2012)

Candy is a fun poppy song.  Hunting For You is a favourite as is Into The Silence.  I actually didn’t hate any songs on this album which I think is a first.

Swing Both Ways (2013)

I was expecting this album to be as much of a write off as Swing When You’re Winning but I actually really liked the first two songs Shine My Shoes and Go Gentle.  The cover of Supreme was nice as well.  Who knew that he did a duet with Kelly Clarkson?  I didn’t!

The Heavy Entertainment Show (2016)

The title track is a curious one.  It’s unique.  I like half of the tracks on here e.g. Mixed SignalsLove My Life, Pretty Woman and dislike the other half – if I had my way Party Like A Russian wouldn’t exist.  I really want to dislike Motherfucker on principle but unfortunately it’s actually quite catchy.


Conclusion:  I left this excursion with the same conclusion that I started: I could have saved myself the time and just listened to one of his Greatest Hits album plus his latest record.



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