Robbie Williams Escapology Review

Album. Released 18 November 2002.  

BBC Review

The self proclaimed King of Light Entertainment takes a break from impersonating Frank...

Jacqueline Hodges 2002

It's impossible to write about Robbie Williams' music without looking at the bigger picture. Self-proclaimed King of Light Entertainment, his every move is documented in the press and he's now the most expensive man in pop thanks to his new £80 million record deal. Robbie is more than just a singer. He's an all round entertainer and the closest thing to a superstar this country has produced in the past 10 years.

As if to hammer the point home, Robbie's return to the limelight after a years break "Feel"is one of his greatest singles ever. Just as "Angels" starts to lose its magic as the ultimate lighter in the air, tear in the eye moment at any Robbie performance, he comes up with another majestic blinder.

With "Feel" so early in the album, it's easy to lose momentum initially with the remaining tracks, but given a few listens Escapology reveals all the dark emotion, showmanship and tongue-in-cheek arrogance that gives Robbie his charm. The Guy Chambers song writing partnership has once again delivered the goods, maturing Robbie's style confidently with a new found rawness and live feel.

It may be raw, but Robbie certainly hasn't lost his accessibility. "Monsoon" nods acknowledging to Queen, all strutting guitars and Freddie vocals and "Handsome Man" is perhaps a final homage to his own self parody. All the wry humour and ego is still there, but with lyrics like, "I'm going to milk it 'til it turns to cheese" and enough stadium rock to get any crowd bouncing, it can't help but raise a smile.

"Come Undone", surely a future single release is another highlight, as is "Me and My Monkey", with its trumpets, Spanish guitar and daft lyrics. The surprise of the album though is Robbie's first solo writing credit. "Nan's Song" is a beautiful strings and acoustic guitar song number and a fitting conclusion to his best album yet.

Cynics may scorn at Robbie; he's got it all and he isn't afraid to acknowledge it. The thing to remember though is that we should forgive him, because he's Robbie and he's great.

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