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Reality Killed the Video Star Import
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2009 album from the British superstar (and former member of Take That). Reality Killed The Video Star, his eighth album and first in over three years, was produced by Trevor Horn and features 12 brand new tracks (plus one reprise.) Songwriting collaborators include Danny Spencer & Kelvin Andrews, Brandon Christy, Craig Russo, Richard Spencer & Scott Rudin, Chaz Jankel, Guy Chambers and Fil Eisler. One track, 'Morning Sun', was written and recorded in the wake of Michael Jackson's death. Features the single 'Bodies'. EMI.
Top Customer Reviews
On this release he proves from the opening chords of MORNING STAR that he is an artistic chameleon with a rare gift for crafting memorable pop songs.
Robbie remains in tune with where music is heading.
This CD is loaded with just that, intelligent hummable pop songs such as the musically stripped down ballad BLASPHEMY and /or great enthralling Britpop tunes such as DO YOU MIND and the 60s inspired do-whop track YOU KNOW ME as well as STARSTRUCK - his ode to the pop dance sound of George Michael.
The production on this CD is above reproach.
Robbie is once again a musical certainty and currently remains the solid foundation for the EMI label to remain afloat. He exercises his flair and artistic clout by delivering a product to his audience once all the bells and whistles have been carefully applied thus resulting in a unique sounding pop CD as witnessed with the inclusion of his symphonic pop song DECEPTACON.
His song DIFFICULT FOR WEIDOS is heavily influenced by the club sound of the Pet Shop Boys while WON'T DO THAT is a throw back to the sound of AM pop radio during the early 1970s.
Layering intriguing chord structures to simplistic melody lines produce great pop recordings.
There is no true need for you to wait and audition this CD prior to purchasing, I can guarantee you, there are numerous Top 40 hits that will surface.
The first release BODIES is only the beginning and only the tip of the iceberg.
Is this CD worth your money? - Hell yah!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So now, after a VERY long 3 year absence, Robbie has released Reality Killed The Video Star. The music is so good, I almost want more (speaking of which, WHERE are the b-sides??).
The album starts with "Morning Sun". This one was a grower for me. Supposedly, this is the song that was written about Michael Jackson. The song is a nice intro, and is very lush and grand. Actually, this one could have fit nicely into Intensive Care. (8/10) "Bodies" is up next, and I have to say, I like this song a lot more within the context of listening to the entire album. I wasn't crazy about it when I first heard it but now I love it. (9/10).
The third track is "You Know Me", which is the second single. While not the best song on the album, I can see why they chose this as the next single, with it's 1950's vibe, majestic piano, bells, and 'shoo-bee-doo bop-bop' background vocals, the song is bound to do well during the Christmas season. (8/10) Next up is "Blasphemy". This was another grower for me. It's a bit simple in the beginning but evolves into a warm, cinematic song. It's actually quite beautiful. (8.5/10)
Track 5 is "Do You Mind", and at first listen, this one might sound like filler, very similar to "A Place To Crash" from Intensive Care, complete with a Ba-Bab Ba-Dum guitar riff, but as soon as the bridge and chorus kick in, this one will be stuck in your head all day, It's very catch (8/10) "Last Days Of Disco" is the first of 2 electronic-inspired songs on the album. This one is very similar to "In And Out Of Love" (an unreleased song from circa 2007/2008), except a little darker. I like this one. (7.5/10)
"Somewhere" comes out of nowhere as a 1-minute interlude that ends right before you know what just happened. At first I didn't know what to think of it, but it's actually gown on me and i almost wish it was slightly longer (7/10)
Next up are my 2 favorite songs on the album, which have BOTH already cemented themselves in my top 10 Robbie Songs ever. Now THAT'S an accomplishment. "Deceptacon" is just plain gorgeous. If "Angels", "Love Calling Earth" and "Eternity" had a love orgy and had a baby, this would be it. The music is beautiful and the lyrics and mysterious. I love this track. I listen to it over and over. It might not be accessible for radio, but this track alone was worth the wait for this album for me. (10/10). "Starstruck" follows, and the beginning sounds like something that would play when you die and step into paradise. It's a very soulful pop track, similar to something George Michael would have recorded in the mid 90's. The "ready, steady go, everybody famous" lyric is probably the catchiest line in the whole album. This HAS to be the third single. (10/10)
"Difficult For Weirdos" is the second of the electronic-inspired tracks, and this one is the better of the two. This one is very similar to "Kiss Me" from Rudebox. Very dancey and addictive. I love it. (9/10)
Upon the first 2 listens of the whole album, "Superblind" was one of the least memorable. Not because it's bad by any means, maybe because it's towards the end and following 3 stellar tracks is a difficult task. But it's a nice, lovely song. Similar to "Love Calling Earth" from Sing When You're Winning, but a little more acoustic. (7.5/10)
"Won't Do That" is a nice closer. it's a slightly mid temp track, nothing spectacular but it's a nice sing-along track. (7.5/10)
I was really in need of some new Robbie music, and BOY did he ever deliver. I give it up to that man for being able to repeatedly make truly great pop music. Now the only thing I ask again, is Robbie: please release some b-sides from this project! If the album tracks are this good, the b-sides must be nice as well.
I liked Robbie Williams' last "experimental" electro album, Rudebox, though I've found that it hasn't aged particularly well. The thing is, it doesn't feel like he's really been away long enough for a "comeback," though if any album could be considered as such, it's Reality Killed the Video Star.
1. Morning Sun - A gentle--but quite beautiful--opening to the record, this was supposedly written in the aftermath of Michael Jackson's death. It's reprised at the end of the album as well. Not sure if it's one of the strongest tracks, or one that sticks out amongst his back catalogue, but it's still gorgeous. 8/10
2. Bodies - The big "comeback" single, this was a total grower for me. It meshes the more experimental aspects of his newer work with the more anthematic, melodic songwriting of his past. The strings in this are particularly stirring. It compares pretty favorably to his earlier singles. 10/10
3. You Know Me - This, I hear, is the next single. Good choice. It's unlike anything he's done before, yet sounds so much like him. I love the throwback doo-wop feel and the chorus is ridiculously catchy. 10/10
4. Blasphemy - Out of all of the tracks on the record, this sounds the most like old-school Robbie Williams. It should, too, since it was co-written by longtime collaborator Guy Chambers. The Chambers/Williams combo is the stuff of legends, and soars on this gentle, quiet ballad. 10/10
5. Do You Mind - Continuing the hot streak that makes up the first half of the album, this uptempo rocker features a glam beat and a throwaway chorus that is catchier than it should be. It's Williams-by-the-numbers, for sure, but fans have missed it. 9/10
6. Last Days Of Disco - Back to the Rudebox sound here, and it's probably the most successful of the more experimental "dance" tracks on the album. The melody is gorgeous and the vocals are so smooth and subtle. This could be a big hit for him. 10/10
7. Somewhere - I can't really give this a score, since it's basically an interlude, but I adore it. It cuts the album in half perfectly with its stabbing strings and dark, glammed-up sound.
8. Decepticon - The big ballad of the album, this has a strange, almost underwater quality to its sound. It unfolds slowly into an interesting experiment, but it's not a real standout for me. 8/10
9. Starstruck - A midtempo r&b/disco hybrid, this has been a favorite of many listeners, but isn't quite connecting with me. It sounds a lot like George Michael, but I prefer Robbie's vocals on rockier tracks. This is smoothed out too much that it sounds a little dull around the edges. 7/10
10. Difficult For Weirdos - The sonic brother to Last Days Of Disco, it's the weaker of the two, but still a strong offering that'll satisfy the fans of Williams' dancier side. It sounds a lot like the Pet Shop Boys. 8/10
11. Superblind - Another big ballad, with a sound that mixes Bowie-glam and Brit-rock. It never amounts to much, but it's a pretty way to close the album. In fact, it should have been the close of the album. 7/10
12. Won't Do That - This feels like it's tacked onto the album and doesn't belong there. It's fine (and even kinda funky), but defines the word "filler." Should have been a b-side. 6/10
13. Morning Sun (Reprise) - sounds like what it is.
Album Grade: 8.5/10
So is 'Reality Killed the Video Star' simply an exercise in damage control? To some extent, yes.
Producer Trevor Horn has added his trademark orchestral sweep and polish to this album, giving it a focused and coherent feel. It sounds like a very professional record by a maturing pop star, which was probably the overall goal. In that respect, the album is a success.
The standout track is of course the one co-written with Guy Chambers ("Blasphemy"). It is a sweeping, epic piece, approaching the realm of art song. Many fans still mourn the Williams/Chambers split, and certainly Robbie's music has never really recovered, although several tracks on 'Reality' do make a valiant attempt to restore the glory days.
Robbie can certainly sing a ballad better than almost any other current pop star, as evidenced by the uniformly strong "Morning Sun", "Superblind", and Deceptacon". The trailer single "Bodies" sounds big and bold, and in that sense it does its job at projecting Robbie as Superstar (although lyrically the song is oblique at best). "Last Days of Disco" and "Difficult for Weirdos" echo the 'Rudebox' electro sound (although with more commercial appeal), and the catchy single "You Know Me" and standout singalong "Do You Mind" recall the humor and cheekiness of the classic Robbie albums. The mini-track "Somewhere" is a perfect little gem, and the penultimate track "Won't Do That" is classic Robbie, complete with a killer horn section.
This album will no doubt restore at least some of the good will that was lost during the 'Rudebox' period, and it is a well-produced and entertaining adult pop album. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the era of truly classic Robbie songs is probably largely in the past. After all, he is no longer the cheeky lad from Stoke-on-Trent; he is a megastar and a huge brand name, but without the songwriter that helped propel him to stardom.
Although he is exceptionally talented and will no doubt have continued success in his future musical endeavors, for now the Video Star is facing some Reality of his own as he re-joins his old bandmates in Take That (one wonders for how long) and begins a new phase in his career.
Robbie's music brings something unique everytime he drops a new single or album. His lyrcis are always catchy, yet they do reveal much about the man.
REALITY KILLED THE VIDEO STAR continues the trend. "Morning Sun" is just lush and very Beatlesesque. The second verse is a total plea to MJ. Letting him know that he wasn't alone. It's very nice. "Bodies" is a great pop/rock track. I view it as a look into Robbie varied history. "You Know Me" is just brilliant! It's like nothing he's done before. The 3/4 beats make it an instant classic! "Blasphemy" is ok. It was nice to see the "Williams/Chambers" writing team again, even if it is an old track that was brought to lide by the amazing Trevor Horn. "Do You Mind" is a great little rock piece. My favorite line being "You teach like a toothache." We've all had to learn the hard, haven't we! "Last Days of Disco" is ok too. Nothing grand, but it fits well. "Somewhere" is just perfect as an interlude. Some songs you wish were longer or more developed. That's not the case with "Somewhere". It's just spot on. "Deceptacon" is probably my favorite tune. Another RW ballad with so much emotion and excellent lyrics. "Starstruck" is hard for me to listen to. I used to love George Michael from his Wham! days through OLDER and then I kind of lost interest. This song reminds me so much of the George I grew up listening to. "Difficult for Weirdos" is killer! I can still feel the PSB vibe in Robbie. I love the lyrics and the meaning. Everyone knows what it's like to be a "weirdo" in their own mind. I really like "Superblind". My favorite lyric being "All you are is colors and your colors run." Really smart. "Won't Do That" reminds me of Robbie telling the love of his life that he's ready to stop singing and performing and then realizing how much he loves what he does and tells the fans "I won't do that to you". "Morning Sun Reprise" just caps off the project perfectly. Great piece of work all the way through!
The album includes some outstanding tracks that will easily find their way onto the next Greatest Hits compilation: the first single Bodies, where it seems that Robbie is denouncing Christianity, "Jesus didn't die for you....what are you on?", but delivers a hard-punch pop/dance song with a mindblowing chorus; the most 80's sounding song that's been released by any artist post-1990 Last Days of Disco; the Pet Shop Boys influenced electronic dance kicker Difficult for Weirdos (the 3 songs I've mentioned so far fall under the electronic dance category where Robbie continues where Rudebox ended, but with better results), the irresistable doo-wop ballad and current single You Know Me, which finds Robbie re-discovering the charm that made people love him in the first place; the experimental and fascinating Deceptacon; the deceptively brilliant Blasphemy, which features some of the best lyrics on the album; the rock edged party starter Do You Mind?; the mellow glam rock/George Michael inspired Starstruck, an alluring song about the public's obsession with celebrities; and the album opening, Michael Jackson tribute number Morning Sun, which sounds semi-epical with the string orchestration. Other tracks that may sound ambitious but in my opinion fall short include the Take That sounding pop/rock ballad Won't Do That, a song written for his girlfriend Ayda Field, and the short and unnecessary Somewhere. There's also the bonus track, another electronic dance number titled Arizona, which sounds cool but isn't the best album closer. However, incontrast with one of the lyrics in Blasphemy, "No singles, just fillers", Reality Killed the Video Star is obviously an album with too many potential singles and too little fillers. The ego has landed again!
You Know Me
Do You Mind?
Last Days of Disco
Difficult for Weirdos