I've Been Expecting You

Robbie Williams

Island, 2021


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The UK artist Robbie Williams was enjoying quite a bit of success when this sophomore album arrived in 1998. In fact, he sold well over two million copies of his debut, Life Thru A Lens, in his country, and was quickly becoming a household name in Europe. Two decades later, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 I’ve Been Expecting You has earned its first ever appearance on vinyl thanks to this 2021 reissue.

Williams opens the listen with the warm acoustic strumming and soaring vocals of the very cozy “Strong,” and he continues with the introspective and soulful “No Regrets,” where plenty of pop ideas are present; help from Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) and Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) won't go unnoticed.

Further into the listen, “Phoenix From The Flames” enters piano balladry, and showcases a very poetic appeal where Williams’ pipes show impressive range, while “Win Some Lose Some” illustrates a more rugged version of Williams amid thicker guitars and punchy drumming that’s full of contagious sing-alongs. “It’s Only Us,” one of the album’s best, then approaches alt-rock-like moments of buzzing energy that comes with a piano solo, acrobatic drumming and plenty of atmosphere.

Making our way towards the end, “Karma Killer” makes the most out of a chunky riff before bursting into a rugged yet string-friendly, multi-faceted version of rock that’s quite diverse and anthemic. “These Dreams” then exits the listen softer, eloquent and full of soothing keys alongside a dreamy, stirring delivery.

I've Been Expecting You would propel Williams into the international spotlight with its wiser, more sophisticated demeanor that includes collaborations that would become some of the best work in his catalog to date. It also produced Williams' first UK number-one hit (“Millennium”), would eventually go 10x Platinum and, perhaps most importantly, made for a record that has aged very well.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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