Robbie Williams’s latest album, Sing When You’re Winning proves that he and his partner-in-crime Guy Chambers aren’t exactly genius song makers. They make reinventing nostalgia an art form. There isn’t a track in Sing When You’re Winning that doesn’t make me go, “Uhm, where have I heard that again?”
Hence, Supreme heavily samples Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive (among others), while Let Love Be Your Energy sounds very, very familiar, but I can’t make out exactly where I’ve heard it before. Better Man is Angels the sequel, and Rock DJ sounds a lot like – well, something I’ve heard before… somewhere.
Robbie Williams made a career out of mocking his past as a Take That member, but he seems to have made peace with his demons here. Which leaves him with nothing to sing about, and it shows in this album’s lyrical direction that veers from self-depreciation (Love Calling Earth) to martyr-wannabe (Singing For the Lonely). The only fun moment is in his funky rock duet with Kylie Minogue, Kids, with such energy and pizazz never seen since the hairspray horrors of Grease.
Self-indulgent and heavy on the melancholy, Sing When You’re Winning sees Mr Williams as a heavy parody of the Pet Shop Boys-meet-Bart Simpson. It can be fun… half the time when he’s having fun, that is.