Robbie Williams’ Brit Awards performance review and 5 better things to spend your money on.

Five things you could buy for 99p that are better than the video of Robbie Williams’ live BRITs performance.

This morning, upon the Twitter, I received this hugely welcome piece of information from the marketing intern at Universal Music who is officially masquerading as Robbie Williams: 

Barking up the wrong tree

Barking up the wrong tree

 Robbie Williams used to be one of our greatest pop entertainers, but he hasn’t really released anything good enough since Escapology in 2003 and he has been dead behind the eyes for as long as I can remember, despite the fact he has something to live for now. Here is a link to Robbie’s live effort: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geJ4qcVYgIM

Obviously it would be easier to embed that link, but the awkward folks at the BRIT Awards have prohibited that, as it would make it to convenient for people to enjoy and share the performance.

I made my views on Candy clear when I reviewed it upon release, saying it was definitely hummable and could have been a great track were it not for the lyrics, where Candy is not only let down, but completely deflated.

Robbie has never been a great live singer, finding it easier to  just shout and hold his hands in the air, telling the audience to sing the words for him. SHE’S GOT LOTS OF DIFFERENT HORSES BY LOTS OF DIFFERENT MEN! Yet Robbie stands out because he has enough personality to match that of every other performer and winner at last night’s BRIT Awards, which was a completely charisma-free affair. This could have been remedied by handing one of Emeli ‘The Underdog’ Sandé’s awards to Paloma Faith, who would have given us the chance to see a proper speech as she was one of the few nominees with enough energy to make it the whole way through the show.  Sandé must have been taking naps in between awards to merely keep her strength up.

Sadly, the truth, Universal intern, is that I didn’t love the Candy performance. It sounded like Robbie had forgotten how Candy actually goes and he shouted ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! whenever he couldn’t remember which nonsensical line came next. It also took Robbie two minutes to shout ‘Come on!’ and try to get the audience to sing a line, which must be near to a new record for him. At the end of the performance glitter rained down on the stage like when somebody wins the big money on Deal Or No Deal, but the only thing Robbie was earning was a collective sympathetic look from the audience. Despite all that, the stage looked great and the brass-wielding backing band/dancers were well choreographed, so it wasn’t all bad.

Would you watch it again though? No, of course you bloody wouldn’t. It was one of those ‘of the time’ performances that will not be remembered past the original week of broadcast. If you look through the history of Brit Awards performances there are plenty you had forgotten about. For instance, above is a video from 2005 of one-time Best British Urban Act, Lemar, and professional panel show contestant, Jamelia, delivering a flaccid and completely inexplicable rendition of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted To Love’, in a year where Lemar released soul classic ‘If There’s Any Justice’ and Jamelia released the song that famously ended domestic abuse for good, ‘Thank You’.

So, the truth is that I won’t be spending 99p on Robbie’s live video (not that I’ve ever bought a music video. Why would you?) Just in case you were considering it and you are prospering so well in this economic climate that you have 99p to just throw away, here are a handful of things you could better spend that money on.

1.    TLC’s Waterfalls on 12″ Vinyl

12" singles, the height of convenience.

12″ singles, the height of convenience.

It’s a great song, with a great chorus and meaningful lyrics!
It would look cool hanging on your wall if you don’t have a record player!

It’s ‘Collection Only’ from Romford!

2.    Kurt Cobain All Apologies:

‘A tribute to the man and his music’ from 99p Stores  

A reputation booster, for sure.

A reputation booster, for sure.

What better way to show your teenage angst than by owning a Kurt Cobain DVD?

I hope it would be more of an ITV2 talking heads show with Michelle Bass and Jedward sharing their memories of when Kurt went ‘dead mental’, but it appears to include music. Viewer beware! 

Did you know that the ‘All Apologies’ single by Nirvana featured the double A-Side classic ‘Rape Me’ and B-Side ‘Moist Vagina’? You wouldn’t get that kind of rock authenticity from Robbie, would you? Despite those hardly charming track names, you can’t help miss the B-Side tradition. 

‘Candy’ actually had a CD single but the B-Side was a remix. Sad face indeed.

3. A pastry from Greggs.

Haute cuisine

Haute cuisine

 

You may think you can’t compare buying a snack to a media item that you can keep forever and ever (or at least until digital media becomes obsolete), but think about it how many uses will you get out of a sausage roll?

One. Or more if you’re doing something unorthodox… 

How many uses will you get out of the video of Robbie’s BRIT Awards performance? One? None?

Maybe you’ll want to watch it and relive the historic moment every time you’re on the bus, but it’s unlikely.

4. ‘BONO on Bono’ from eBay 

He's just trying to be a good guy, OK!?

He’s just trying to be a good guy, OK!?

The seller describes this, in all capitals to help the message sink in, as “PAPERBACK BOOK FROM THE MOUTH OF THE U2 FRONT MAN AND ALL ROUND GOOD GUY… THIS BOOK IS A GREAT ADDITION TO YOUR U2 BOOK COLLECTION.” 

What music memorabilia could you want more than a book of transcribed conversations with rock’s number one good guy, spectacle enthusiast and Captain Modest?

And all for a bargain 1p. Buy 99 copies and hand them out to your nearest and dearest, or to your city’s homeless population, to give them hope. 

Frankly, you’d be a fool to buy Robbie’s video when your U2 book collection is still incomplete.

5. Walkers Salt & Vinegar Crisps with Scary Spice! 

Tracked down, at last!

Tracked down, at last!

Remember all those years you have spent regretting ever throwing away your limited edition Spice Girls crisp packets in 1997? Well, stop worrying, pop enthusiast, as somebody had held onto them!

The seller helpfully adds that the Best Before Date of the crisps (which s/he has eaten) was 27/12/97, so that’s good news if that’s the one you needed!

Other choices include Salt and Vinegar French Fries with Mel C. From a smoke and pet free home, no less!

 

6. Give the money to someone who really needs it.

 

iTunes probably isn’t in desperate need of your money and they won’t miss it, so if you are affluent enough to chuck your Pound around like it’s as worthless as a Best Live Act BRIT Award, give it to someone who needs it.

Head down to your local charity shop and you can surely get something that is far less one-use than Robbie’s video for 99p. A book, a Robbie Williams CD with decent songs on it, an ornament that might turn out to be worth something.

Perhaps just donate it to the Brit Awards committee so they can afford to put on a bigger budgeted show in 2014? Maybe they will finally be able to upgrade from their presenters of James ‘Gay Joke’ Corden and Rizzle Kicks.

(Personally I’d get the sausage roll though. And you’d still have change for the Bono book.
Holy Valance, there is a lot of crap on the internet.)

 

New Tune on Monday: Robbie Williams ‘Candy’

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I am a big fan of Robbie Williams and his musical output is generally pretty good but I am always a bit wary of any new releases from him. His last album, ‘Reality Killed the Video Star’, as well as having a terrible title, featured three singles to which I had a mixed reaction.

I initially really liked ‘Bodies’  and thought it was pretty catchy, especially the chorus with its “All we’ve ever wanted is to look good naked / hope that someone could take it” lyric. My main memory of Bodies was getting drunk with a friend on Estonian strawberry liqueur that I won on a village tombola, when Bodies had one of its first plays on the radio. This song coming on and me saying “This isn’t bad” is my only memory of the whole night. Who knows what was in that bottle. So, the first pre-chorus after the middle eight with the BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM was great. The final euphoric chorus was also great, as was the big choir backing. I know it’s a bit cheesy to have a choir backing but I love it, it’s almost an admission that the singer doesn’t take himself too seriously (and in the case of Dappy’s ‘No Regrets’, it proved a hilarious addition for someone who usually tried to act cool.

So after its initial radio run, Bodies basically disappeared. The next single, ‘You Know Me’, with Robbie dressed as a rabbit in the video, was played to death on Heart, so naturally I came to really hate it and still skip it when I listen to his Greatest Hits album. Finally, ‘Morning Sun’, was pretty forgettable, but I’m always pleasantly surprised when I actually listen to it. All in all these singles didn’t really change my life, except perhaps the Estonian liqueur incident.

When Candy hit number one this weekend, the papers exclaimed that it was “Robbie’s first number one in eight years!!!”. I checked to see what his last one was and saw it was ‘Radio’, which was pretty terrible (but then I have a theory that most songs about radios are awful). Even the almost flawless four single streak of Feel, Come Undone, Something Beautiful, Sexed Upfailed to hit number one, but chart position is of course not an indication of song quality.

So, onto the actual song: It is co-written with Gazza B, which is immediately off-putting. I do wish that Robbie would stop working with Barlow and get back together with Guy Chambers though, as that’s where his best work was born and with Barlow he seems to be clinging onto the past and churning out dross (see: ‘Shame’). In short they are better apart (GB with Take That, obviously). Second point: I really hate any infiltration of American language into British English, so the title, for a start, annoyed me a little, but the song starts with a nice bit of brass, so all is forgiven. Candy’s strength lies in the infectious melody, it is definitely hummable, and in pop music that is a necessity. The chorus has a nice HEY! HO! sing-along, which is a welcome addition.

 This song sounds great on the radio and stands out among the current chart music. I can’t help feeling, as I sit with the sun shining in my eyes, that the song would have benefited from a summer release. Car windows wound down, blasting Candy out in a traffic jam is how it would sound best. So a late October release doesn’t seem right. If you take the song at face value, as a hummable pop song that is catchy and summery, it’s not so bad. Unfortunately, I have an annoying habit of listening to lyrics, which in pop music can make or completely break a song. My housemates always used to tell me to be quiet when I told them that Muse’s song lyrics were always the same; they had never paid attention to the lyrics and focused mainly on guitar solos, but for me the lyrics are key and this is where Candy is not only let down, but completely deflated. Robbie was on TV this week and pointed out that the lyrics were nonsensical, laughing, but he could have done something about that. Perhaps the worst offender, aside from the weird horses line is:

“Ring a ring of roses/ Whoever gets the closest/ She comes and she goes /As the war of the roses”

He’s just listing things that rhyme, it means nothing! If you’re having difficulty rhyming subsequent lines with your first line, change the first one, especially if it is meaningless anyway. There is no need to desperately keep rhyming more rubbish  until you have completed your verse and ended up with a nursery rhyme, when in the first line you could have nipped the nonsense in the bud (excuse the pun). And rhyming roses with roses… the unforgivable same-word rhyme, the less said on that, the better.

Anyway, I shouldn’t rant when it’s good old Robbie. He’s a good chap, always pleasant on the telly. I best get used to the song as I’m sure we’ll see plenty more performances on prime time shows soon, with Robbie standing on the stage and pointing the microphone at the audience and making them sing the song while he gets paid.

His classic move.