Album review: Robbie Williams, Swings Both Ways, Island


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The Independent Culture

Those who endured Williams’s recent X Factor performance need not fear: this brassy sequel to 2001’s big-band LP Swing When You’re Winning, is actually rather listenable. Not to say it’s great: he’s a karaoke kind of crooner and some of the covers here – such as “I Wanna Be Like You” with Olly Murs – should have remained the preserve of some celebrity charity ball.

But, as ever with Williams, musicianship is less important than personality. Notably, his trademark self-mocking wit results in two choice original numbers: the title track, a droll, flirty duet with Rufus Wainwright, and the ironically grandiloquent “No One Likes a Fat Pop Star”. There’s really no point accusing him of amateurishness; for therein lies his likeability.