Robbie Williams takes the crown
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - March 13, 2013 - 12:00am

I did wonder about what Robbie Williams was trying to say with the title of his new album. Take The Crown? What crown? Then I listened to the CD and found in the lines of a song what could be the answer. “They said it was leaving me/ the magic was leaving me/ I don’t think so/ I don’t think so,” he goes in the opening cut, Be A Boy. There is also a verse in it that says, “All the boys are gonna be someone/ the time you caught but it was gone/ the time you caught but it was gone/ it takes a big man to be someone.”

It takes a big man, indeed. That big man is Robbie Williams of the UK and one of the world’s top entertainers. He has been in the music business for 15 years, five of them as part of the boy band Take That, and then 10 years as a solo act. It is but natural that with the arrival of new singing heartthrobs like Ed Sheeran and One Direction, some people have started to wonder if Robbie still has what it takes to hack the hit charts and to fill up arenas. And here is his answer in Take The Crown. Whatever he has that made him a star, whatever magic propelled him to stardom is still there. It has not left and Robbie is here to take back the crown.

Robbie is one of those amazing, born-to-be-a-star guys. He did not have to struggle. He seems to have an unerring sense of what would sell and what would be good for him. He has bucked prevailing mores and won, first as the rebel prankster of Take That and then when he left the band. Who would have thought he would still have a career after walking out on something as big as Take That? But he did. And it was his own. Take That died soon after he left and Robbie was panned as the bad boy who destroyed the band. But he only became even bigger.

Angels, Millenium, She’s The One, It’s Only Us, Radio, No Regrets were some of the songs that made him a hit phenomenon. This is also a guy who seems to instinctively know what to do in critical situations. At a time when he was being described as a goner for leaving Take That, there came about a Take That reunion that resulted in Progress, the fastest-selling album in UK pop history. Once when he seemed to be running out of steam, he emerged singing standards with a big band like Beyond the Sea and duets with Frank Sinatra It Was A Very Good Year and with Nicole Kidman, the huge hit Something Stupid.

But Robbie’s success was not all due to good fortune and astute marketing. The guy has genuine talent. He writes very good pop tunes and performs like his life depends on every song. His every album is a much sought-after treat. First you wonder what is this guy up to now? Then you listen and you enjoy the songs and the way the CD was put together and you know he has done it again. You know, pleased his audience. Take The Crown, his ninth studio album, is no different. It is a very well-made pop album that puts Robbie back on top. “Hey,” he must be saying, “that crown was only on loan, I am now here to take it back.”

Take The Crown is made up of hook-filled, up-tempo songs made for big concerts. Lightest of the batch and first single release is Candy, which he co-wrote with Take That bandmate, Gary Barlow. The ones with the classic potentials are Different and Into The Silence, which recall his early hits. Anthemic pop is really what he does best and I can just hear fans singing along with these rockers. Now, if you prefer ballads, then you will love the sweet Hunting For You.   

I do not know how true it is, but Take The Crown is said to have been designed with nine different covers, a different one for every single release. Fans, I am sure, will want to have all of them and that means a lot more copies to sell. This guy really knows how to be the big man. But no matter what cover you get, you can be sure that Take The Crown is an excellent, most enjoyable album. One more point towards greatness by Robbie Williams, who once more owns the crown.

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