The closer we are to Mr Santa, the more the record stores and online providers of tunes are loaded with annual best of-albums, Greatest Hits – and Christmas albums. Typically, you just ignore most of them. There may be a few highlights each year. This year, a hot candidate for the musical Season’s Greeting of the Year is likely the double CD by Robert Peter Williams, which may be more familiar to you as Robbie. I was really, really curious about how the superstar will interpret the festive atmosphere for us.
About Robbie Williams
I always include some bio to my music reviews, as I feel that not every reader knows about them, especially for young and emerging artists. Summing up some biographic information about Robbie Williams in some rows is really challenging. After he left Take That, he produced eleven studio albums (The Christmas Present is the twelfth one) and only one of them did not make it to the very top of the UK Charts. In his home country, Robbie Williams, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1974, added six number 1 singles to that list – not including all the Take That production, which would add two more No. 1 albums and eight No. 1 singles to that list. His biggest success? You can select whatever you like from a long list of over fifty solo singles. My favorite song by Robbie WIlliams is Let Me Entertain You, though this one did not make it to the top of the charts in any major market.
I stop here – otherwise, you will never start reading about The Christmas Present, which is the first Robbie Williams album dealing with the festive season.
Robbie Williams – The Christmas Present – The Album
I typically do track by track reviews on Flyctory. As, including Bonus tracks, The Christmas Present contains 28 tracks with a 91 minute total playing time, I will do a review in a more traditional press way:
The Christmas Present – The Christmas Past (CD 1)
The Christmas Past first CD starts with two classics, Winter Wonderland and Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody, which Williams performs with Jamie Cullum – the first highlight of the albums.
Let It Snow and The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) are arranged rather traditional with strings. The mood of the songs is really quite reflective. Christmas at Robbie Williams seems to be rather calm. The sixth track, Rudolph, which partially has a very accentuated arrangeement, adds some speedier moments to the album. Songs like Yeah! It’s Christmas remind of Robbie Williams’s swing album. The second duet is It’s a Wonderful Life with Poppa Pete. After he advises us to Let’s Not Go Shopping, the tenth track is really one of the highlights of the album. The interpretation of Santa Baby, which Willaims performs with German-Russian superstar Helene Fischer, is definitely a nice treat.
The next track, Best Christmas Ever, where the artist is partially backed up by a children’s choir, is a really nice song as well. One Last Christmas is another very traditional big band alike arrangement, before a reprise concludes the album.
The Christmas Present – The Christmas Future (CD 2)
While you really ask yourself, why the first song of the second CD; Time for Change, is part of Christmas Future, the second track Idlewild sounds already much more modern and is close to a pop song. Also the following songs are not too futuristic, but at most have average 1980s sound. The fourth song, Fairytales, is an average duet with Rod Steward. The next track, Christmas (Baby Please Come Back), is a duet with Bryan Adams and likely the best song on that part of the album. A very interesting song is Bad Sharon, as it is a collaoration of Robbie Willaims and boxer Tyson Fury. But this one really feels to work.
The second CD of the album also contains some more ironic remarks. Here and there, there are just some lyrics which make you smile. Happy Birthday Jesus Christus is one of them. The old-style Snowflakes, which also talks about dating people from other parts of the world. At least, there is some more spice in the musical mulled wine now.
I still feel that christmas with Robbie must be a bit of boring, when I listen to his stories – but starting with Snowflakes, there are some more interesting stories. Home is maybe still a track, which fits quite well in that “Don’t hurt me”-sound of the album so far, but the electric sounds in Soul Transmission feel much more what you would like to hear from the superstar on that album – at least here and there. Unfortunately, this is already the last track of the (ordinary) album – if you paid a little bit more, you now have the bonus tracks. I Believe in Father Christmas is an intimate, majorly acoustic song, which I still like. Not Christmas and Merry Kissmas are much more pop and party. I just waited for this kind of christmas magic for too long.
Robbie Williams – The Christmas Present – Spotify
Spotify allows you to pre-listen to the songs using the widget below:
Robbie Williams – The Christmas Present – My View
Finally, reviews will not care anyway – Robbie Williams will have a great and wealthy holiday this year as The Christmas Present will be under a lot of UK Christmas trees this year. I am rather disappointed of the album, I just expected more. There may be some very traditional sounds, but there are too few surprising elements in this compilation of songs. Funnily, the bonus track give a very nice finish, some of the duets are nice – but Robbie Williams should definitely not have to rely on Helene Fischer or a box champion to create some great tunes. Just below average to me.
Robbie Williams – The Christmas Present – Track List
In lack of a track-by-track review, here is the tracklist of both CDs.
Disc 1: Christmas Past
1. Christmas Past:Winter Wonderland
2. Merry Xmas Everybody (feat. Jamie Cullum)
3. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
4. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire)
5. Coco’s Christmas Lullaby
7. Yeah! It’s Christmas
8. It’s A Wonderful Life (feat. Poppa Pete)
9. Let’s Not Go Shopping
10. Santa Baby (feat. Helene Fischer)
11. Best Christmas Ever
12. One Last Christmas
13. Coco’s Christmas Lullaby Reprise
Disc 2: Christmas Future
1. Christmas Future:Time For A Change
3. Darkest Night
4. Fairytales (feat. Rod Stewart)
5. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (feat. Bryan Adams)
6. Bad Sharon featuring Tyson Fury
7. Happy Birthday Jesus Christ
8. New Year’s Day
11. Soul Transmission
12. I Believe In Father Christmas [Bonus Track]
13. Not Christmas [Bonus Track]
14. Merry Kissmas [Bonus Track]
15. It Takes Two (feat. Rod Steward) [Bonus Track]
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