Robbie Williams: Swings Both Ways

Swings Both Ways
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Artist: Robbie Williams
Genre: Pop
Label: Island

When in doubt, swing. With an underperforming clutch of recent releases behind him, for his 10th album, Robbie Williams has reverted both to a genre he has previously excelled at (on 2001's Swing When You're Winning) and to his fruitful songwriting partnership with Guy Chambers. The included duets are of varying quality. I Wanna Be Like You, a laddish caper with Olly Murs, lacks charisma, but Rufus Wainwright's turn on the gorgeous orchestral title track adds flair, flirtation and fun, and Lily Allen excels on the sweet lullaby Dream a Little Dream. Of the new tracks, the Michael Bublé-supplemented Soda Pop is a dashing big band triumph, but No One Likes a Fat Pop Star stretches the boundaries of silliness. Whimsy stifles sincerity at points, but when he cracks the balance, Williams's charm proves hard to resist.

Download: Swings Both Ways, Swing Supreme

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times