The Mancunion

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Review: Robbie Williams – Under The Radar Vol.2

Robbies new album shows that he’s trying to move with the times, but instead is just giving off ‘creepy uncle’ vibes

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Robbie Williams has always been and will forever remain a British music icon; 6 of Robbie’s albums appear in the all-time top 100 biggest selling albums in the UK. Not only this but Robbie Williams also holds the record for the most concert tickets sold in one day – 1.6 million in 2006. Robbie has a long list of achievements and successes, which no doubt cements why he will always remain an icon.

However, now that time has gone by, now with a wife and child, Robbie’s new album feels like he’s still desperately clinging on to his previous laddish boy charm, from his Take That and early solo days back in 2004. Under The Radar Vol.2  which is a follow up of his 2014 album Under The Radar Vol.1.  (Who’d have guessed).

The album opens with ‘Satellites’ with that familiar low sultry growl that Williams is famous for. This is probably the most tolerable song at best along with ‘Eyes On The Highway’ and tongue in cheek track ‘My Fuck You to You’ which has reminded us or at least tried to, of the good old love ballad days of ‘Angels’.

‘Speaking in Tongues’, honestly made my toes curl. Robbie sings about an experience he had in Ibiza, taking drugs and having a girl from Preston begging him for sex. This is probably a reminiscing song and not (hopefully) a recent experience, however, there was a vibe of ‘creepy uncle’ going on there. This is only reinforced by the song ‘Booty Call’ (yep, really…) Annoyingly, musically, this is my favourite. Robbie Williams’ voice lends itself to Jazz, and if you just ignore the lyrics it’s lovely.

Do they still call it a booty call?
Cause I’ve never been hip, chic or down with the kids
Oh, let’s take a break from this Punch and Judy talk
And call it a booty call baby cause that’s what it is

B double O T Y why ’cause I love it
B double O T Y ’cause I can.

Also just thrown into the mix is a horrendous cover Dolly Partons infamous 9-5… Just Why?! There was absolutely no need. I feel like Robbie is really trying to play to his now, very niche, middle-aged female market, but one would hope that even they can see how strange and disjointed this album really is.

Under The Radar, Vol.2  is generally just quite odd a concoction of Jazz, Electro/Dubstep and Weird Ballads. He incorporates his overly autotuned voice with elements of electronic breakdowns in the final track ‘International Entertainer’ that even Skrillex would be too embarrassed to release.

Also, I’m just going to point out that one of the lyrics is literally “Silence in the courtyard, Silence in the Street, The Biggest Mouth in England is just about to speak.” Which is literally a game my mum would play when I was a child to see how long she could get me to be quiet for when I was being loud and annoying. Honestly, after listening to his whole album this point, I wish Robbie would have done the same… but maybe just 15 tracks earlier.

I’m so sorry Robbie, you can still be my northern cheeky chappy. But this was just a train wreck.

2/10

  • MT1976

    I think the reviewer here has missed the point! This is a mix n match of tracks that didn’t make previous albums. Some date back to his early albums. You can certainly hear the ones recorded around the Rudebox and Take The Crown periods.
    This isn’t a complete ‘album’ as Heavy Entertainment Show was last year. This, just like Volume 1 is giving fans a chance to hear the lesser songs and what in the old days would have been B-Sides.

    It’s not the greatest album but it’s not supposed to be. It’s a clearing of the cupboards released only through his website.

    What it does show is that Robbie is a prolific writer with many songs recorded for selection for his albums. Give the guy a break and let’s cheer the fact that we still have a British act who actually attempts to entertain rather than mope about out of tune like Liam Gallagher or be a miserable like Sam Smith.