We all have our guilty pleasures. No matter how much we deny it, there�s always one song, album, band, or artist who we, in company, call all the names under the sun, but in the aural safety of our own homes, we listen to and enjoy. Some say that they�re guilty pleasure is James Blunt
*cough* Cathedral *cough*, some we don�t know, some we can take a guess at. But I�m going to be brave enough�or stupid enough, to tell you mine.
You can laugh, but Williams is a very good songwriter, he has a formula for pop songs that will be remembered, be it using shock videos a la �Rock DJ�
or having a certain hot Australian pop vixen guesting on the song, and video a la �Kids�
, Williams certainly knows how to attract an audience. Although before this he was a member of bubblegum boy-band �Take That�, Williams� musical maturity shows through this album more than any of his other releases.
While the usual story with 99% of pop albums in recent years is the same (make catchy single, produce utter pap, make sure you look cute) Williams� approach is a different one. Some of this album�s true gems come in the tracks that weren�t singles. For example, the song �Better Man� gives me images of Williams looking at himself at the time this was written, 30 years down the line, and wondering if he could have done anything different.
In comparison to Williams� previous albums, Sing while you�re winning isn�t centred on Robbie as much; the lyrical themes are still rather good for a pop album. But that�s not to say it can�t have a radio friendly single. �Kids�
, Williams� duet with Kylie Minogue
fits this role perfectly, Minogue and Williams sing in turn in the verses but together in the chorus. Despite Minogue�s rather irritating voice, this is a good, pop-rock song, with my only complaint being Minogue trying to change her voice to fit in with the song, which detracts from the enjoyment. Another noticeable theme on this album is the sheer amount of slow songs, previously, Williams� albums had a balance of mellow pop tracks, and pop-rock tracks, but this album sees a shift in that formula, which is a shame, the delicate balance was a good one, but with this, it seems like although the formula Williams had was perfect, he still wanted to tinker, this is a blessing�and a curse, while some of the slower songs are great, I miss the lack of a �Let me Entertain You�
However, the slower songs still work quite well, and having the more up-tempo �Road to Mandalay�
as the closing track gives us that impression of balance back, despite the fact it�s not balanced at all. Williams� long time collaborator Guy Chambers makes the album quite pleasing on the instrumental front; there are no huge pounding bass riffs to ruin the song, no mad guitar solos, and no huge double bass drum beats. But what is there, is some beautiful guitar passages, some dreamy synths and some great backing vocals, so if you like relaxing music, a lot of this album could fit you�re needs.
On the flipside, Guy knows how to make a pop song a pop-rock song, �Let Love be you�re Energy�
is a great example of this. While the guitar riff isn�t in you�re face and generally, loud; it is noticeable. Add to the (electronic) drum beat, and you have a good formula for a pop rock song. So, the big question, where does this stand in Williams� already large discography? Well, the next album of original
material (Swing while you�re winning was a covers album) after this was �Escapology� which signalled a turn towards the poppier side of Williams� music. Previous to this album, was �I�ve been expecting you� and before that �Life Thru a Lens� both of which were on the rock side of the pop-rock spectrum. So this could be said to be Williams� transitional album, and while it�s by no means his best, it provides an insight into what he can do musically; which is always a good thing.