Review Summary: A surprisingly strong selection of catchy and enjoyable pop numbers that provides both satisfaction and nostalgia.
It is a seldom debated fact that Robbie Williams has long since fell from the grace of his former position as one of the most listened to and enjoyable pop artists. Once the apex of commercial, sing along-friendly music, Williams' latest endeavors have generally been considered to be less than satisfactory efforts to attempt to maintain some credibility in today's market. Despite this, the only true means of enjoying the nostalgia of Robbie's better numbers would be through his Greatest Hits collection which nicely chronicles his earlier works with a thrilling track listing flooded with engaging tracks. This compilation is actually arguably the strongest set of tracks he has, and is a compelling experience from front to back.
Now, were you born in the early 1990s then almost all of these numbers shall remain instantly recognizable and therefore very little here is truly fresh. Songs such as Millennium, Let Me Entertain you and the heart-breaking ballad Angels were splattered all over the radio for the best part of half a decade, and refuse to grow old to this day. Williams' lyrical content is a cut above the majority of his peers and this is perhaps the strongest quality of his music, whilst his English-accented vocal work also makes for a varied and interesting experience. Tracks like Kids show off a higher range that was nearly unparalleled at the time, whilst the less up-tempo She's The One utilizes his lower voice astonishingly well. Little about the singer's vocal performance can be faulted here.
Generally speaking, the backing instrumental work to these songs leaps out and captures the ear of a listener throughout. Angels is noteworthy for its emotionally charged piano work, whilst Old Before I Die has a great pacing to it and some cracking instrumentation in the upbeat chorus. The faster numbers to make the cut are rather lively and drift along nicely, whilst on the slower numbers the personal side of Robbie is also represented nicely in some atmospheric songs. The track listing is also surprisingly strong for a greatest hits compilation of a nearly washed up pop star, and it is clear that a lot of effort went into providing fans and newcomers alike with a strong documentation of Williams' career. Each of these songs are really well written, with Williams remaining the focal point but the backing musicianship also keeping the bar very high.
Robbie Williams' Greatest Hits compilation shows off a fair amount of his strongest material, from the incredible Old Before I Die to the memorable, catchy hook of Let Me Entertain You. Robbie's songs are often very catchy, and the track listing here ensures the best experience from his entire career. I recommend this to people looking for more than the run of the mill pop nonsense of today, who enjoy catchy choruses but also meaningful lyrics and musical substance.