Robbie WIlliams 'Swings Both Ways'- review

By  | Jun 22, 2020, 01:48 PM  | Robbie Williams  | Top of The

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Another Robbie Williams Swing album you say? You'd better believe it. Andrew Campbell explains to us why it's not as bad as we might have feared

Quick facts…

If you remember Robbie’s raunchier younger days as member of Take That, here’s a reminder of old you are: Robbie just turned 40. After many disagreements with the management and group members, Williams left Take That in 1995 to launch a hugely successful solo career, which saw his first seven albums each reach Number 1 in the UK. He joined Take That again in 2010 and the group's subsequent album became the second fastest-selling album in UK chart history. This album is of course not the first time Williams dabbled with swing or big band music. When he released “Sing when you’re winning” and “Swing when you’re winning” in 2001, Robbie found a whole new fanbase.

Williams has sold over 70 million records worldwide and he has won 17 BRIT awards which also include the BRITs he won with Take That making him the most successful artist in BRIT history. He continues to perform both as a member of Take That and as a solo artist. The first single from “Swings Both Ways” is “Go Gentle,” a song about protecting his baby daughter, Teddy, as she grows up. The lyrics include: “Go gentle through your life/If you want me I’ll be there/When you need me I’ll be there for you/Don’t try to make them love you/Don’t answer every call/Baby be a giant/Let the world be small.” At the end of the video he can be seen mouthing the words: “I love you, Teddy” which might just show a whole new tender side to Robbie we’ve never seen before.

Best tracks

“I wanna be like you” with Olly Murs (yes, the song from Jungle Book), “Swing Supreme,” “Go Gentle” and “Swings both ways” with Rufus Wainwright.

What others have to say

Celebrity guests (Lily Allen, Olly Murs, Michael Buble), brass and finger-clicks abound, and lots of the tracks swing so much you can almost smell the brilliantine. Some of the covers are too well-worn (“Minnie the Moocher” and “Puttin' On the Ritz”), but “Snowblind” has an admission of vulnerability that is rather moving, and the recent father's “Go Gentle” – complete with one of pop's great whistled middle eights – may be the most touching declaration of parental love/responsibility since David Bowie's “Kooks.”

What we have to say

Initial thoughts: “Really? Another swing album? We’re a little Buble’d out.” After a couple of listens: “Hi Doctor, can you prescribe something for finger spasms? Yes, from clicking and keeping the beat to Robbie’s new CD.”

It makes us wanna

“…put on a smart suit and rent a sports car for a day.”  

In his own words…

In an interview with The Telegraph, Robbie was quite honest about his fame and ageing: “The media spotlight that is on me isn’t as bright as it used to be but neither are the record sales. I still do phenomenally well. If I was a football team I’d still qualify for Europe and I’d be in the last 16 at least. I know that time isn’t on my side like it used to be, and if I do stadium tours, my body will be able to do what I’ve just done maybe three more times before I’m 50. I never had a time constraint before. I’m conscious of age but I’m more suspicious of it than anything. This crossroads – being 39-40 – it means something, but I don’t know what it is yet. OK, I’m a pop star who’s ageing, what do you want from me? What happens now?”


Turn the volume up to 6.5

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