Album review: Robbie Williams, Swings Both Ways (Island)


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The Independent Culture

Swings Both Ways is a distinct improvement on Robbie Williams' Swing When You're Winning, and for the best reason. It's the original tracks that bring a new life to the form, while the standards – routine duets of "I Wanna Be Like You" and "Dream a Little Dream" with Olly Murs and Lily Allen, and a bland "Puttin' on the Ritz" – sound like filler. But I like the way Williams plays with references in his own songs, like the mention of A Love Supreme in "Swing Supreme", and the inversion of the Dylan Thomas poetic motif in "Go Gentle" from death to life, to support its theme of paternal advice to a beloved daughter just starting to make her way in the world. Elsewhere, "Snowblind" is another thoughtful, sensitive piece graced with an interesting arrangement.

Download: Go Gentle; Snowblind; Swing Supreme