When you get to the upper echelons of pop music, like Robbie Williams has, you can afford to piss about a bit with your career, and that’s exactly what he’s done with The Heavy Entertainment Show. When you’ve belted out classics like ‘Rock DJ’, ‘Millennium’ and of course, the end of party song to end all end of party songs ‘Angels’, you would expect another solid effort from Williams. Hmm, that doesn’t seem to have happened here.
Anyone with an iota of good taste likes a bit of Robbie Williams to listen to, be it with a nice bottle of red, or whilst you’re in the bath, and Williams has certainly managed to deliver something that is generally easy to listen to. Starting with the album’s eponymous opening track, Williams welcomes us to the record, the song itself is catchy enough, but this is mainly achieved by Williams repeatedly singing: “Welcome to the heavy entertainment show” throughout the song. I know that repetition is key in a good pop song, but a good fifty percent of the song is the same line repeated over and over. The problem is though, it just sounds so Robbie Williams, you can’t help but capitulate and fall in love with it.
The album remains astonishingly on brand with songs like ‘Motherfucker’ being the real surprise of the album. The song title suggests Williams is about to shout expletives for the next four minutes, alienating his dear listeners, but the result is far from it. What starts out rather slowly turns into a full-blown ballad, a full-on celebration of being a bad motherfucker. You don’t expect a song like ‘Motherfucker’ to come out of Robbie William’s mouth, but it does, and it just seems to work. Weirdly.
“The problem is though, it just sounds so Robbie Williams, you can’t help but capitulate and fall in love with it”
The album just gets better and better with songs like ‘Bruce Lee’, which isn’t really a song about Bruce Lee, in fact he isn’t mentioned at all throughout the whole song. In fact, it is a self-proclaimed love letter to Robbie Williams, from Robbie Williams. Robbie, we know you’re great, you don’t have to keep telling us. Williams also proves that he can still master the slow ballad, as ‘David’ demonstrates beautifully, a song about a dying man’s last few minutes on earth. Sounds melancholy, but it really is a beautiful song.
“If this is how Russians party, I don’t want to party with them”
However, we must also talk about what drags the album down, firstly the lead single, ‘Party Like a Russian’ is absolute dogshite, with clumsy lyrics and bad rhymes, Williams manages to shout sing throughout the whole song. If this is how Russians party, I don’t want to party with them. I think Russians wouldn’t even want to party with Robbie. ‘Sensitive’ should also get a mention for just frankly being a forgettable song that sounds strange when you listen to it. Both of these songs just don’t belong on a Robbie Williams album at all.
Overall however, The Heavy Entertainment Show didn’t sound like it was going to shape up to be a good album, it turns out that his eleventh album is actually quite enjoyable to listen to. It sounds like Robbie Williams, but not too like the Robbie Williams of the past, but it is Robbie Williams. Basically, if you like Robbie Williams, you will enjoy listening to The Heavy Entertainment Show.