Friday, September 17th, 2010

Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow – Shame

I heard “Millennium” for the first time in ages the other night and it was really good…


Anthony Easton: I have always really liked Robbie Williams; he amuses me, and the sentimentality laced with sarcasm and exhaustion lead to a pop career that was more self aware then it should have been (and a self awareness about fame that is unheralded). He has a confident eroticism and a hangdog masculinity that is mostly for show.

Alfred Soto: Take That never transcended one hit wonder status in the States, so Robbie Williams’ career never transcended good-idea status. That this shocking piece of plucked acoustic sentimentality is so touching adduces (a) Barlow’s songwriting skills (b) the vibrancy of British homoerotic art; only Britishes care so much about bruised feelings and such. Williams and Barlow aren’t Carl Barat and Pete Doherty – they’re marginal talents whose relationship gets limned as if they were Byron and Shelley, except that since there was more money involved I understand the anger over whose face got to be on a Toys R Us poster. I especially like Barlow admitting to being a dickhead throwing friends under the bus. Here’s hoping J.C. and Justin can make their reconciliation this affecting.

John Seroff: Blandtacular platitudes strung together over pseudo-Blackbird guitar chords, “Shame” is so entranced with its own profundity that it forgets to care whether there’s much of a song here. It seems more intended to spur the listeners to raise their lighters or at least vote for the pretty young thing covering it on prime time.

Iain Mew: “Well, there’s three versions of this story/Mine and yours and then the truth” is kind of a brilliant opening line and the scene very briefly seems set for an amusingly frank tale. However, it soon plunges headlong into smug satisfaction and needless repetition — it’s doubtful anyone really even needed “your poster thirty foot high at the back of Toys’R’Us” once. Still, as far as Robbie Williams duets which basically only exist as an excuse for their videos go, it is better than “Somethin’ Stupid”.

Chuck Eddy: I honestly had no idea until now that there were Toys’R’Us stores in England. But I still wonder how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

Martin Skidmore: It would be hard to create a more guaranteed smash hit than this. Surprisingly, the sound is very low key, a gentle country/folk ballad about the rift between them. The lyrics are mature, and the melody warmly likeable, but I had expected something rather more spectacular, something huge, for the first single after they were reunited.

4 Responses to “Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow – Shame”

  1. Yeah, um, I like this more with each listen.

  2. Yeah, I like this too… but I also thought Rudebox was kind of an awesome album?

  3. Alfred, are you really suggesting that Gary Barlow is less major a talent than Pete Doherty? I’m astonished, if I am not misreading you.

  4. Doherty’s partly responsible for almost two albums’ worth of good material, so I’m inclined to say yes.