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Robbie Williams
It’s impossible to write about Robbie Williams without looking at the bigger picture. His every move is documented by the press and he’s the most expensive man in pop music. The new self-proclaimed ‘King of Entertainment,’ he’s the kind of guy who knows how to get your attention. Honest, frank and absolutely unpredictable, this is Robbie Williams…

Why Is He Famous Again?

Williams‘s career began with boy band Take That, adding eight UK number one singles to his credit. Fans were so devastated when he was fired from the band that there were reports about hysterical teenagers and attempted suicides. He first entered the charts as a solo artist in August 1996 with his cover of George Michael’s Freedom, and since then there’s been no looking back. In less than a decade, he’s sold over 40 million albums worldwide and had six straight #1 albums.
He is currently England’s biggest pop star and a force to be reckoned with on the charts, who claimed the title of Britain’s biggest-selling pop act of the still-very-young 21st century for selling 6.3 million albums since 2000. His albums have even been made available in memory card format for mobile phones and hand-held computers, a first for any artist.

Intensive Care: The New Album

Called Intensive Care, this sixth studio album marks a new stage in Robbie Williams’s career, already capturing the #1 position in 17 countries since its recent debut. Intent on doing something deeper and more honest than he’s done before, Williams has veered away from his usual pop and presented an album influenced by the ’80s new wave sound ~ Abbaesque pop music and licks straight from The Rolling Stones. Darker, tougher and more savage than its more predecessors, Intensive Care sees him finally mourn the break-up of his relationship with a famous ex-girlfriend, admit to an affair with a married woman, turn to black magic to conquer his fears and even compare himself to Elvis. Caught somewhere between a young cheeky man and a rather dirty old blighter, he revels in confounding his audience, us magazine readers and the media with an album rife with contradictions. This is Robbie Williams, the biggest pop star in the world today…

The new album has an interesting title Intensive Care. What’s the story behind that one?
Robbie Williams: Everyone thinks it's to do with my mental state, but it's simply because it's taken me two years to write and I've taken intensive care with it. (Laughs) I played keyboards and bass and it feels like I own more of the album. Lyrically, this is the best album I've written, although I do say that before every album comes out. (Laughs again) But I think I mean it this time. I'm still looking for the rules of what is and isn't pop music.

The first single Tripping is already at the top of the charts even as we speak. Many are hailing this as a new direction for your music…
RW: I wrote that song on the bass, and I think it’s a mini gangster opera. It’s probably a Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or Snatch, or both of them put together. (Laughs) I would say this new album is a pop album. I'm so proud of the new stuff; I can't wait to tour. The response I've had is amazing.

We learnt that the album is inspired, at least in part, by the Human League's classic 1984 single Louise – what’s that all about?
RW: It's one of my all-time favourite tracks…and I liked the idea of writing from Louise's point of view. And so several tracks on the album, things like Ghosts and Spread Your Wings in particular, run along similar themes, about ex-lovers who still yearn for one another. There’s a lot of pining on this record, I think. I'm very pleased with it, and very pleased with the way it worked out with Stephen Duffy.

That must have been something working with THE Stephen Duffy – one of the founding members of pop sensation Duran Duran. Did you learn much from him?
RW: Working with a new song writing partner…we had to find out who each other was and what our jobs were when we write songs, and how we write songs together. I think the very first thing that we wrote was a song called Sin Sin Sin, which is on the album. It’s kind of pervy. You know, it’s a seedy old bloke really just wanting a shag. It’s who I’m becoming. (Laughs)
So things seemed to have worked out well for you….
RW: Whatever I want to do….’80s electronic, the Stones…Steve knows exactly where to go. I love the romance of Steve’s career before he met me. Putting out an album that sells enough to put another album out. Wearing beautiful Prada shirts. Having a skinny model girlfriend. Being able to drink well. He’s a man of exquisite taste. (Laughs) It's given me a whole new perspective on the future, as well.

You can read the rest of our cover story on Robbie Williams in the November 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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