Pop really does seem to be getting quite the workout in 2012. With the likes of Steps, Girls Aloud, Leona Lewis and Kylie Minogue all adding weighty contributions to the end of year pop calendar, the king of British pop also makes his return with a brand new album – Take The Crown.
Robbie Williams has enjoyed a rather hectic but fruitful musical homecoming over the past few years. Returning with a comeback album in 2009 after a lengthy hiatus, Robbie followed the release by rejoining his iconic Take That band mates on the quartets last studio record as well as hitting the road with the group on what became the biggest selling tour in British history.
Though Robbie’s last solo studio effort, Reality Killed The Video Star, wasn’t exactly the comeback we had all been waiting for and hardly relit the flame of his previous successes it did spawn a couple of catchy singles (Bodies, You Know Me ). Following his stint back with Take That he did, however, remind us just why he is regarded such an iconic artist with the release of his greatest hits collection, In and Out of Consciousness: Greatest Hits 1990–2010. The album served as a celebration of Robbie’s career to date and paved the way for his return to the peak of pop success.
Reclaiming his status as one of the UK’s biggest stars, Williams put all of his efforts into his next release which he is set to unleash on 5th November. Take The Crown is the musicians latest solo effort and the 9th addition to his solo catalogue.
Along with the new collection, Robbie is gearing up for three very special performances at London’s O2 Arena in support of the record. Set to perform songs from the new album along with hits spanning his career, the show is set to be the ultimate Robbie spectacle and the cheery on top of 2012 for the hit-maker – clearly the comeback year for pops ultimate entertainer.
Take The Crown is already being hailed as his return to the top and upon listening to the album – we have to agree.
The synth soaked opening of Be A Boy contains a series of Coldplay-esque “oooh ahhhs’ and some cool and complimenting sax features, inviting us into the new record with splendor as it unfurls its untamed retro-pop goodness.
Finger clicking and a teasing of horns begin our sugar coated affair with new single Candy. The track, co-written with his Take That band mate Gary Barlow, is the crown donning hit here on Take The Crown not just due to the single taking lead honors for the new record but because of its radio friendly and addictive qualities that twist and turn through a tight production and glossy instrumentation while Robbie’s vocals sit confidently on the track, showcasing his skill and talent which remains unweathered after 22 years in the business. Served with a sweet-centered kick in the opening half of Take the Crown, Candy is an uplifting nod to all that we love about the superstar and eccentric personality.
Different, with its orchestral landscape, is one of the key tracks on the record and begs for single release. Rich in exquisite vocals which drip with conviction, Different is quite easily one of the best Robbie Williams tracks in some years. Its cinematic feel flows through the ballad while affectionate lyrics like “This time I’ll be better, I want you to know. This time I’ll be special, oh God, make it so” displays a vulnerable Williams wearing his heart firmly on his sleeve.
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The good stuff isn’t found just in the opening half of the record. Nostalgic, retro glazing is found everywhere on Take The Crown but probably not more so than on the catchy All That I Want which comes complete with echoing vocals, eighties inspired guitar whirls and the superstars swaggering vocal bravado.
Another highlight comes in the form of the guitar riff beauty Hunting For You. Striking and memorable, this one is an incredible addition on the new album. The chorus sounds quite Mika-ish while the verses display an early U2-esque anthemic feel to them but have the Robbie stamp all over it.
Closing the record, Robbie teams up with American folk star Lissie on Losers. As a fan of Lissie’s debut Catching a Tiger release, the news of the pairing got me really excited. With a smoky tone reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac icon Stevie Nicks, it did seem a little sketchy to have the pair unite given their styles being so different so with the excitement came a skepticism that turned out to be unnecessary as the track is pretty impressive. The singer doesn’t shy away from showering this stunning duet with her distinctive folk heavy lashings and they blend in perfectly beside Robbie’s as the pair unite for the albums token harmony fueled hit. Played to an acoustic guitar and a haunting backbone of strings, Losers is a sentimental and optimistic closing hit for Take The Crown.
It’s been a while since we had a record of such high quality like Take A Crown from Robbie Williams. Though it doesn’t hit the same peaks as some of his early records like Life Thru A Lens or Sing When You’re Winning, it is his best since the latter and one that offers the superstar back to us in top solo form.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
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