Saturday, February 28, 2009

Best of 2000s: Robbie Williams - Swing When You're Winning (4.5/5)

Robbie Williams was a hot property in 2001, coming off a run of three successful albums and a slough of hits, including #1s like "She's the One" and "Rock DJ" and the classic "Angels." Rather than turn in another Guy Chambers-penned and produced set of masterful pop, Robbie & Co. looked to the past instead to deliver this winning collection of old standards, perfectly timed during the revival of the Rat Pack spawned by the succesful Steven Soderbergh remake of Ocean's Eleven. "I Will Talk and Hollywood Will Listen," the only new composition on this album, is as deliciously grandiose as a Hollywood film score, filled with soaring string orchestrations while name checking Steven Spielberg and Cameron Diaz. The old standards are handled with style and class from the zip of "Mack the Knife" to a reverent re-make of Frank Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year" that features Robbie on the first two verses and Sinatra himself on the third, changing the song from an eloquent memory to a life lesson. The guests all add welcome counterpoints, particularly Jane Horrocks on "Things" and Nicole Kidman on the Christmas #1 hit "Somethin' Stupid."

Best: Somethin' Stupid, It Was a Very Good Year, I Will Talk and Hollywood Will Listen, Mack the Knife, Things, Have You Met Miss Jones?

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