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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Robbie Williams - Rudebox
Release Date: October 23, 2006
Label: EMI Int'l

Robbie Williams’ new album Rudebox opens with an extended album version of the title track and first single, a move that will doubtlessly be met with a groan from many of the artist’s fans. Rudebox is Mr. William’s weakest lead-single to date, a mediocre rap/electro hybrid that seemed more of a joke than anything. This makes it even more surprising that the album Rudebox is the most exciting and interesting thing that Williams has done in years.

Comprised of seventeen tracks (five of them covers by other artists) of adventurous, experimental eighties-tinged pop, Rudebox is Robbie Williams at his most daring. Instead of rehashing sounds from the past (which his previous two albums attempted to varying success), Williams builds on the promise he showed six years ago with rock/dance confections like Supreme and Rock DJ. Some of the credit belongs to the Pet Shop Boys, who produced a few tracks and whose shadow looms over the entire project. Lyrically, the album is obsessed with pop culture, both in a wider global sense (song titles like She’s Madonna and We’re The Pet Shop Boys kinda give that away) and on a more personal note. Throughout his albums, Robbie’s story has become almost mythical, as much a part of his success as his music. Rudebox may be his most personal yet, culminating in the straight-out-of-a-biography song suite titled The 80’s and The 90’s. In between all of the self-referential tracks there are also a handful of excellent 80’s pop, chief amongst them a brilliantly catchy cover of Steven Duffy’s Kiss Me, the maniacal Never Touch That Switch and the tongue-in-cheek She’s Madonna.

Of course, in an album seventeen tracks long there are bound to be a few stinkers. Most of these occur when Williams fashions himself as the next 50 Cent. Good Doctor is as messy as its subject matter while the title track will surely go down as one of Robbie’s least memorable singles. Still, small missteps like these are easily forgiven when an album revels this much in its own creativity… a sort of fuck you attitude that Williams hasn’t displayed for far too many years. Rudebox may not be the most consistent album of his career, but at least it’s a step in a new direction. A-

Key Tracks: Kiss Me, She’s Madonna, The Actor


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the song rudebox really sucks, i like you're way to talk about the album. i long to hear it!

3:17 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Trust me when I say that Rudebox is one of the worst tracks on the album. From just hearing that track, I was expecting a really lackluster album. I love being pleasantly surprised!

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 1st I also thought Rudebox (the song) sucks...but it seems to grow on you. Loooove the rest of the album, especially Kiss Me. And Good Doctor is very different, but fun!

5:23 PM  

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