Sing When You're Winning

Robbie Williams

Capitol Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez


Out of the boy-band black hole, only two current artists have been able to climb out and establish themselves as pop machines in their own right. One of them is Ricky Martin, who got booted from Menudo for being capable of growing a beard. The second was Robbie Williams, who left Brit boy-band Take That and sent that country's masses of teenage girls into crying fits of hysteria. After a while, he hooked up with Guy Chambers and proceeded to release several albums that separated him from his boy-band past.

However, just like that famous boy-band from the sixties (you know, the one with Johnny, Paulie, George and Ringo?), Robbie understood that true success can only be cemented by conquering the former British colonies - a.k.a. us. Therefore, he released my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Ego Has Landed two years ago and began to tour the States. Now, he has returned with his second U.S. release, Sing When You're Winning.

First, let me state the obvious - Sing When You're Winning is a much better album than The Ego Has Landed. Why? Because the Ego album is a compilation of his best tracks from the British-only releases while Sing is a fully fleshed album. Minor hits like "Angels" and "Millennium" had already struck a chord with European audiences, but the flow of Ego is not as great as on this new album.

It begins with the danceable and energetic "Let Love Be Your Energy." It's a great kick-off to the album and provides it with the type of fun that permeates the whole album. In fact, all of the dance songs are great. The single, "Rock DJ," has a great 70s vibe and is lots of fun. "Kids" and "Forever Texas" give you more of Williams' and Chambers' lyrical tongue in cheek. "Supreme" and "Knutsford City Limits" are also good pop tracks. If the album were full of nothing but tracks like these, you'd have a very good pop album.

What makes their work-and this album-truly memorable is their softer, non-dance tracks. Songs like "Better Man," "Singing For The Lonely" and the great "If It's Hurting You" are very soft ballads that reveal a desire for deeper meaning in Williams' and Chambers' music. It's something that you saw on Ego and that strikes a deeper chord here in "Sing," as the songs move from one onto another. From the "Angels" - like "Love Calling Earth" to the great closing track, "The Road to Mandalay," the duo manage to remove all of the pop-ness of these songs out and fill them with emotion. That's good.

About the only drawback is that the soft songs outnumber the pop songs. While that's not too much to bicker about, I'd like to hear more of Williams' dance songs. I mean, drive to this CD and listen to the pop songs. They'll make you feel real good.

Overall, Sing When You're Winning is a good step for Robbie Williams as he strives to make his presence felt here in Yankland. As long as he keeps his sense of humor in place and doesn't grow the ego that many pop stars claim not to have (ahemBritneyahem), then he will continue to be unique among our pop constellations. And that will always be good.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2001 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.