Robbie Williams has got himself into a spot of bother with Vladimir Putin after Russians took offence at his “racist” music video for new song “Party Like a Russian”.
The singer released the clip to accompany his next single from upcoming album Heavy Entertainment Show last Friday, but its stereotyping of Russian culture has been strongly criticised by some fans concerned that he will now be banned from touring in the country.
The video sees Williams, 42, sing about being a “modern Rasputin” to the tune of “Dance of the Knights” from Sergey Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet while backing dancers dressed as maids and ballerinas twirl around him. He even attempts a fake Russian accent.
He seems nods to Putin, too, in opening lyrics that describe a leader who “alleviates the cast from a whole entire nation, takes loose change and builds his own space station”. However, Williams quickly clarified that the song is “definitely not about Mr Putin” on Twitter once the backlash began, adding that it is merely a homage to Russians for being “ridiculously good partiers”.
Williams said recently that he had actually toned down both the song and its video to avoid causing offence. “‘There's 147 million people in Russia and I don't want to upset them in any way and I don’t know what kind of sense of humour they’ve got,” he said. “I’m not making fun of anybody but I had to take a few things out just to make it more PC [politically correct] - and this is the PC version you're getting.”
Unsurprisingly, not everyone sees the funny side, with some pointing out that the song itself is also awful:
The intriguingly-titled Heavy Entertainment Show is scheduled to drop on 4 November, featuring songs co-written by the big-hitting likes of Ed Sheeran, Brandon Flowers, John Grant and of course, his long-term collaborator Guy Chambers.
Williams has 11 chart-topping albums under his belt, a tally matched only by Elvis Presley, while Swings Both Ways was the 1000th album to reach UK number one.Reuse content