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Escapology

Robbie Williams

Release Date: 11.26.02
Record label: emi int'l
Genre(s): Pop

80 Music-Critic Score
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Escape To Another Level
by: peter naldrett


A true performer and one of the few men of real talent to emerge from the Boy Band era, Robbie Williams is back with another stunning album. Whenever Williams unleashes his work on the music market, the industry stands up to pay attention-largely because everything he has done so far has, with no exception, turned to gold. His least popular single, "South of the Border," peaked at number 14 and everything else has enjoyed time in the top ten, confirming his deserved status as a talented, if over-confidant, musical miracle maker. And there will be no escape from his latest album, with Escapology containing the usual blend of stunning singles and quality album tracks that we have come to expect from the former Take That man.

Williams, recording his first album since last year’s crooning Swing When You’re Winning, has carried some of the influence of that more mellow CD with him. "Feel" and "Something Beautiful" are certainly calmer pieces which feature orchestral elements, but elsewhere Escapology benefits from being more rock and roll than swing and Sinatra.

The first real landmark on Escapology comes with "Monsoon," a sheer anthem about love conquests running to the press, and this is quickly followed by the beautiful "Love Somebody," which blends Williams’ incredible voice with snappy lyrics, gospel backing, orchestral arrangements and heavy guitars. Other tracks that must be noted include "Me and My Monkey," a bizarre 7-minute long Mexican affair about a trip around Vegas. "Song 3" is undiluted ‘in yer face’ rock and worth every penny. In fact, the only song letting the album down is the rather disappointingly sentimental "Nan’s Song" that brings a poor finale to it all. I’m not disputing the need for touching and deep lyrics, but it is so out of place on Escapology.

As for influences, Williams seems to have brought dozens to this album and as a result this is a CD heaped high with diverse styles. The intro on the opener, "How Peculiar," seems to come straight from Blur’s "13," while the hi-energy of "Song 3" more than alludes to Albarn’s "Song 2". "Something Beautiful" at times sounds like a song from the Beautiful South catalogue and there’s a line from "Monsoon" that is so Oasis. Whatever.

It’s hard to criticise another Williams album that is worth its weight in gold and will no doubt duly turn to it. 21-Nov-2002 11:30 AM