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Robbie Williams - Swings Both Ways (2013)

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Robbie Williams - Swings Both Ways (2013)

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01 – Shine My Shoes
02 – Go Gentle
03 – I Wan’na Be Like You
04 – Swing Supreme
05 – Swings Both Ways
06 – Dream A Little Dream
07 – Soda Pop
08 – Snowblind
09 – Puttin’ On The Ritz
10 – Little Green Apples
11 – Minnie The Moocher
12 – If I Only Had A Brain
13 – No One Likes A Fat Pop Star

 

It is a question worth asking, as Robbie nowadays finds himself in a career mid-life crisis. No longer a teen idol, and cast out into the wilderness by Radio 1, he yet remains far too flippant, subversive and generally interesting a figure to settle for a more mature/adult audience à la James Blunt or Michael Bublé.

As British pop's great prankster ponders this dilemma, he has taken a safe sideways step and gone back to the future. While his 2001 Swing When You're Winning album was regarded at the time as self-indulgent, its seven-times-platinum sales make it one of his biggest selling records to date. A belated follow-up swing album is thus pretty much a no-brainer.

Unlike the first album, Swings Both Ways also features original material among the Sinatra-style covers. Guy Chambers is now firmly back in Williams' fold, and Shine My Shoes, Go Gentle and the title track (a hyper-camp duet with a drawling Rufus Wainwright) are fun, sophisticated pop songs, if hardly likely to challenge the sales of Angels or Let Me Entertain You.

It's a Christmas album in all but name; hence the succession of star names dueting on hoary old standards. Robbie patently had fun in the studio larking through Dream A Little Dream with Lily Allen, Little Green Apples with Kelly Clarkson and the Jungle Book's I Wanna Be Like You with Olly Murs, even if the results could hardly be categorised as essential listening.

The album closer, No One Likes A Fat Pop Star ("You just can't be portly this side of 40") shows that his mordant, self-mocking wit is safely intact, but Swings Both Ways is an album that teens will give to their aunties as a Christmas present, rather than vice versa – a fact that Robbie may like to ponder as he loiters at his career crossroads… ---Ian Gittins, virginmedia.com

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:56)

 

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