Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams

So sad they had to move this show from the Bronco Bowl to Deep Ellum Live -- sad, but not surprising, since the hype landed with the thud of a corpse chucked from a 100-story window. And it's sad only when you consider how much Capitol spent promoting this year's Tom Jones, when the label could have been out there hyping Supergrass' new record...oh, wait...Capitol hasn't even released that disc in the States yet, rumor has it because the thing's just too good for the Capitol stamp of disapproval. So instead, we get Robbie "Take That" Williams, who oughta be playing Trees...or, better yet, someone's backyard barbecue. Not since Joey Mcintyre (or is that Jordan Knight?) went solo has a nation so utterly not given a shit about a former teenypopper doing his best to do his absolute, look-at-me-ma worst.

And to think, only seven months ago, at a Details party at South by Southwest, the teeming, badge-wearing masses couldn't even get a sneak peek at the dude, since the club at which Williams was performing was jam-packed with crashers smashed on free booze and disbelief. Those of us stranded on the outside counted our blessings once he launched into the first number, "Let Me Entertain You," audible from the outdoor stage. We ambled away, or maybe we ran, and began mumbling to ourselves something about Las Vegas and Elton John and crap and scary. Too bad he's not more offensive, really, since Williams has the potential to be truly awful -- over-the-top shite, instead of just humdrum dreary. Imagine the son of Elton John and George Michael -- which is said to be in the works, thanks to the miracles of modern science -- performing Oasis parodies as though they're meaningful contributions to the pop-music lexicon; imagine Mike Flowers taken seriously.

But Williams is too dull to be truly offensive. Every song off The Ego Has Landed -- made up of tracks culled from his first two solo British releases, Life Through a Lens and I've Been Expecting You -- dissipates as soon as it leaves the speakers, like smoke...or a fart. The most memorable thing on the disc is the, ah, hit single "Millennium," but only for its use of John Berry's James Bond music, which the most original idea in pop music this side of using notes. And maybe "Let Me Entertain You," which is so Anthony Newley-meets-Roger Daltrey ridiculous that you've got to admire the guy's moxie. The rest of the disc comes and goes like a porn star, which is what happens when a guy actually tries to be disposable and ridiculous; the dude's campier than Grady Spruce. Robbie, thy name is Product. image

Robert Wilonsky

 
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