I hated Robbie Williams. I remember loathing Angels when it was released. Freedom was cack – it was the video that put me off more than anything, that untalented ex-boy band clown mugging down a camera lens. When I saw his albums in the bargain bin I laughed safe in the knowledge he’d soon be out of the public eye. 1998 rolled around and I remember hearing a great song over some football footage. To my horror I discovered who the artist was – Robbie Williams. The song, Let Me Entertain You.
I resisted for a while but I kept hearing the song. I started singing it, it got into my head I had to buy it. I even used it Djing.
Flash forward few months and there’s Millennium. Being a Bond fan I was lured in by the use of John Barry’s You Only Live Twice score. The song was great and followed up with such hummable wonders as No Regrets and the gorgeous Strong. I’d been converted. I started to see Williams for what he really was. He didn’t want to be an artist he wanted to be an Entertainer – which is how it should be. Look at the musical great like Elvis & Queen, they put on a show, wowed the audience. People would say Robbie was a big-headed fool but I saw it as an act.
By 2000 I’d bought both Robbie albums and had the good fortune to see him live at Wembley Stadium at Net Aid where he stole the show in an amazing performance. Then came Rock DJ. To this day it fills the floor when I DJ. I have a feeling it’s a song Robbie himself isn’t keen on but I love it. Sing When Your Winning is possibly my favourite Williams album. Kids, the duet with Kylie is one of my favourite songs and Better Man is a truly gorgeous ballad which I personally rank as far superior to Angels.
It angers me that the music snobs don’t take Robbie seriously. Sure he’s pop but at least he can write his own stuff unlike the kareoke singers like Westlife & Gareth Gates. His music is intelligent and carries far more meaning than the gangsta crap of some of the manufactured hip hop acts. He can vary his act from pop, to swing to ballads and even rock. Most bands find a sound they like and keep churning it out. Franz Ferdinand are great but listen to their album – it all sounds very similar.
Most importantly Robbie can truly entertain. Few artists could captivate an audience like he did at the Albert Hall or Knebworth.
Escapology showed a different sound to Sing, almost rawer. It took me a while to really get into but that just made me like it more. The fact that Robbie wasn’t scared of trying something different – highlighted by last years ‘Radio’.