Review - Robbie Williams - Take The Crown
Robbie Williams has absolutely nothing to prove, and ‘Take The Crown’ is his way of showing the world that he is aware of this. The album – his ninth solo effort and fifteenth in total (including his work with Take That) – is one that only two kinds of popstars could get away with: those that don’t want single success, or those that are powerful enough to have their music heard no matter what it sounds like.
Lead single “Candy” is a delicious treat, but it is deceptive. The bubblegum pop sound is limited to that song alone, so be warned. The rest of the CD is most rock. Yes, rock. Sometimes it comes in the form of Pink or Kelly Clarkson-esque, Max Martin-sounding pop rock (though producer Jacknife Lee would never put out something so radio-ready and cookie cutter), but more often than not the listener finds themselves confused and thinking “I don’t remember putting a U2 CD in my player”.
So much of ‘Take The Crown’ evokes Bono & co. that it is hard to argue that Robbie wasn’t heavily influenced. Musically this sounds like a rock band trying to succeed on a global scale (AKA trying to please everybody). Vocally, you wouldn’t be wrong in confusing much of this with Bono. In fact, I actually did think I was listening to “Vertigo” when the song “Hey Wow Yeah Yeah” came on.
Having fully explained the extent to which this sounds like a U2 record, you should also realize that such comments mean that the album is also very good. Sure, it isn’t what we would expect from someone who has been leading one of the most successful British boybands ever for decades, but Robbie has been known to bounce around. And while much of the music is guitar-centric, there are a few synths thrown about (“Shit On The Radio”) for good measure (even better: they are old school, which must be an intentional look back at his past).
Like I said, after the illustrious career that he has had, he really can do whatever the fuck he wants.
Listen to: “Candy”, “Be a Boy”, “Shit On The Radio”, and “All That I Want”, “Hunting For You”, “Hey Wow Yeah Yeah”
Check out this 20 minute long album sampler which lets you click on whatever song you like: