The ’90s witnessed a trend of boy/girl bands emerging from possibly every corner of the earth. The band responsible for this spurt is ‘Take That’. The band featured a brash but immensely talented boy named Robbie Williams.
That Robbie wasn’t going to be locked down to a certain genre throughout his career was evident early on. His album ‘Sing When You’re Winning’ proves Robbie’s versatility and gained him global superstar status.
In this week’s Album Talk, fellow cowboy, senior journalist, and musipedia Narendra Kusnur and I discuss this iconic album.
Note: Language may be altered to suit the platform’s requirements.
Me: This album made Robbie Williams a global star. Until this, he was known more only in Europe.
Kusnur: Robbie was earlier a part of the boy band ‘Take That’ where he had to share the limelight with band mates like Gary Barlow and the rest. Later the record label decided to promote it as a solo artist.
Me: Must be because of his “bad boy” image.
Kusnur: He was known to be arrogant, foul-mouthed among other things. That’s why his first album was called ‘The Ego Has Landed’.
Me: ‘Take That’ was the inspiration behind ‘Backstreet Boys’.
Kusnur: Almost all boy bands at the time.
Me: This album has a vivid sound range. There are songs with a 70s feel, a funk feel, etc.
Kusnur: It’s a mixed bag. The title, Sing When You Are Winning, is actually a football chant.
Me: The cover art features multiple images of Williams celebrating winning a trophy at Chelsea’s stadium Stamford Bridge.
Kusnur: Yes. The songs were a mix of different styles. The first song, Let Love Be Your Energy, is popish while ‘Better Man’ is a superb love ballad that has a Spanish version too.
Me: All the songs reflect Robbie’s attitude. The lyrics are either witty or plain crass. There is a verse in the song Rock DJ, “Give no head… No backstage passes”.
Kusnur: It was a very popular song.
Me: The biggest one on the album.
Kusnur: Along with Better Man. The girls prefer Better Man. I loved his take of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive in the song Supreme. Robbie has taken the structure of Gloria’s song and built a fresh new song around it. The “re-creators” should listen to this song and learn how to do it right.
Me: He has used certain elements only. Rock DJ is a very ’70s style bass-heavy, Funk-Disco song. There is one with Kylie Minogue called Kids which was about his sexuality and rumours around it.
Kusnur: Maybe, because his idols were George Michael and David Bowie.
Me: But he was dating Geri Halliwell from the Spice Girls.
Kusnur: Before we get on with other “relevant topics” like always, let’s get back to work. For me, the first four songs did the trick and Road To Mandalay towards the end. The rest I really didn’t like.
Me: I love Road To Mandalay, it’s one of my favourites. The ’60s feel coupled with uptempo beats! All the songs are pretty diverse with various sound influences.
Kusnur: But none of the songs are cover versions.
Me: Overall the album is a blend of influences from various genres, artists, and eras. It is a correct blend of melodies and vivid sounds.
If you haven’t heard this one yet, you should right now!
Until next time,