Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rudebox Paradox

Rudebox has been slated by the general media. I feel this negativity has come purely on the back of the actual single ‘Rudebox’ which certainly wasn’t Robbie at his best. The press have used this to totally rip into the whole album. The truth however is that it’s actually a damn fine effort. Look at Love Light, A cracking tune. A cover, yes, but Robbie’s performance could be easily compared to George Michael. Then there is the stunning current single ‘She’s Madonna’. Not only the best track on Rudebox but one of Robbie’s best singles full stop.

It’s not all Rudebox has to offer. The album sags slightly mid-way with ‘Keep On’, ‘The Actor’ & ‘Never Touch That Switch’. Not that the tracks are essentially bad but placed together they’re just a tad samey. ‘Good Doctor’ is a stand out track in that it’s so different. It’s Rudebox in style but so much better - and very relevant.

‘Bongo Bong’ is fantastic because it’s just so damn catchy. Then there’s the truly haunting ‘Burslem Normals’. Beautiful. Dreamy music and breathy vocals, it stopped me dead the first time I heard the album.

Kiss Me is blinding – especially when, you have the opportunity to play it on a night club sound system. Cracking bass and I far prefer it to Stephen Duffy’s original version.

There’s the two part song/story ‘The 80s’ & ‘The 90s’. I dunno. These are the two that have just never hooked me. I prefer the 90s by miles but I suppose that’s because I’ve never been convinced by Robbie The Rapper as featured on ‘The 80s’.

Summertime ends the album with an average ballad… oh and then there’s the bonus track. Which I can’t say anything about other than I just can’t stand it.

Rudebox is a more testing album than any Robbie Williams has ever released, but it is no where near the disaster that popular opinion claims it to be. It’s just different. Yes I said that about Intensive Care but this album takes the experimentation to another level. And hey it’s a good thing. Robbie could just keep releasing similar sounding songs and get surefire number ones every time.

Look at Oasis. Good band yes, but have they actually ever done anything new or experimented with their sound at all? Nope. Essentially their latest singles could have been Oasis material from 10 years ago. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing – just a boring one. Oasis claim they’re the greatest band in the world but I’d argue they’re in the same league as Status Quo – a band surviving off the same riffs and chords all the time.

Queen & Beatles, for better or for worse were both groups that changed their sound. I can’t stand like the man but even Justin Timberlake is trying out new things and I respect him for that. Robbie’s Rudebox is worth listening too just for the fact that he’s trying something new. He’s in a place where he can afford to experiment and try different stuff. He’s got nothing to prove, he’s already done that with his back catalogue.

So to those of you who argue that pop music is boring go and buy Rudebox. Cast off any preconceptions and enjoy and album that amazes, (She’s Madonna, Lovelight, Burslem Normals) annoys (Rudebox & Dickhead) and entertains. (Bongo Bong & Kiss Me.)

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