Reality Killed the Video Star

by Robbie Williams

Itís difficult not to be a tad fond of Robbie. Even if youíre not a fan of his music, heís the kind of cheeky chappy thatís difficult to dislike.

Robbie Williams - Reality Killed the Video Star

However, he is not a great singer. In fact, if he started his career today and appeared on a show like The X Factor, itís unlikely his vocal talent would get him that far. Although it hasnít stopped the unstoppable juggernaut of awfulness that is Jedward. Yet.

But like his 1998 hit alluded to, Robbie is a born entertainer. He returns with this his eighth studio album, which is the follow up to 2006ís underwhelming Rudebox. And sadly, this isnít that much better.

Robbie is nothing without a strong song. Classic Robbie is the late nineties, flying high with anthems like Millennium, Angels, Let Me Entertain You and Sheís the One. Since then his material has been on a steady decline. This is no exception.

The albumís opener perfectly fits the profile of a successful Williams ballad; filled as it is with soft strings and piano. Unfortunately Morning Sun has the same kind of impact as those white lines that separate two sides of a road Ė thatís right, those ones right down the middle. Itís mediocre with horns on.

Itís a similar type of thing with You Know Me, albeit with a slight doo-wop groove to it. Itís just a nice song. The kind that Radio 2 would wet themselves to make record of the week.

Blasphemy is attempting to be a clever little ditty, with the kind of word play that wants to desperately make you chuckle quietly to yourself. It includes the line ďIs it a blast for you coz itís blas-phe-myĒ. It feels like it could be sung on stage in a really bad musical. And be the worst song in said musical. It could even possibly make you swear out loud, itís that bad.

A highlight is the up tempo Do You Mind which isnít that special, but it least it has a feeling of being a pop song about it. No pretentions, just a funky guitar riff and a catchy chorus. Almost a homage to dear old Huey Lewis and his News crew.

At some point, Robbie must have been sitting near George Michael and stole Starstruck from his back pocket. The problem is, he actually attempts to sing it like Michael, which would be fine for a Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, but just sits awkwardly here.

The real reality is, Robbie has let his fans down, and heís let himself down. But mainly his fans. Itís like heís lost his identity and he doesnít know who he wants to be anymore. Surely he doesnít want to be taken seriously as a serious singer? That would be madness.

Of course he has a get-out-of-jail-card coming up with his imminent Take That reunion. Will it happen? Yes, yes it will. Because at least then Robbie can hide behind the others and possibly re-group a while, whilst sharing that spotlight - that has been trained for so long solely on him. And on this evidence, thatís exactly what he needs to do.

two out of five