Confused? It's a confusing album.
Julie Broadfoot 2006
There's been much speculation about Robbie's new direction since the release of "Rudebox" the single, but "Rudebox" the single isn't typical of Rudebox the album. In fact, nothing is. It's an eclectic mix of pop ballads, disco, 80s electronica, noughties poetic rap, with a touch of hip hop and a twinge of country.
William Orbit and Soul Mekanik productions sit with a funky reworking of Manu Chao's "Bongo Bong/Je Ne T'aime Plus" (one of two tracks to feature Lily Allen), a replica of the Human League's "Louise", and a cover with the Pet Shop Boys on a cover about the Pet Shop Boys. Confused? It's a confusing album.
There are a couple of tracks that wash over you but the album's a grower and some of the hooks will follow you around for hours. "Good Doctor", a tongue-in-cheek take on drugs, has bags of energy and the Stephen Duffy "Kiss Me" is brilliant. 'She's Madonna' ('I love you baby, but face it she's Madonna') is a weird but fun tune about Queen Madge.
He bares his soul in a pair of melodic Streets-esque raps - "The 80s" is a captivating tale of his school years, while "The 90s" offers an intriguing, honest account of his life in Take That.
"Summertime" is old-school Robbie - a great pop song - and would be a lovely end to this 74 minute rollercoaster but there's a bonus track, "Dickhead", which more than explains the Parental Advisory stamp.