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Swing When You're Winning

Swing When You're Winning

4.6 11
by Robbie Williams
Anybody who witnessed Robbie Williams's booty-shakin' Net Aid performance knows that this British pop star (and former teen star) has buckets of charisma. However, his charm has not traveled well across the pond, as he is still a virtual unknown in the U.S. Sing When You're Winning is Williams's latest attempt at victory abroad, and, as evidenced by the artwork


Anybody who witnessed Robbie Williams's booty-shakin' Net Aid performance knows that this British pop star (and former teen star) has buckets of charisma. However, his charm has not traveled well across the pond, as he is still a virtual unknown in the U.S. Sing When You're Winning is Williams's latest attempt at victory abroad, and, as evidenced by the artwork (photos of soccer players, referees, and fans/hooligans -- all of whom are Robbie), he is going all out. And the music backs up the handsome face(s). Smarter, edgier, and more stylish than tracks from American boy bands, Sing mixes electronic beats and heavy electric guitars and charges them up with an '80s British pop sensibility. The infectious dance-floor gem "Rock DJ" blends the beat of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" with the vocal styling of the Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls." "Better Man" and "If It's Hurting You" are custard-smooth, achy ballads sure to make the birds (as he calls them) weepy. But the real highlight is "Kids," Williams's alternately bubbly and pounding duet with Australia's princess of '80s pop, Kylie "Locomotion" Minogue. The two reveal their record-business scars and find dignity in their pursuits ("We'll paint by numbers/'Til something sticks/Don't mind doing it for the kids"). Minogue even gets off the line, "I've been dropping beats since Back in Black" -- yes! Like the rest of Sing, it's a winner.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
Performance dynamo and chameleonic entertainment personality Robbie Williams made a rapid transformation -- from English football hooligan to dapper saloon singer -- for his fourth LP, Swing When You're Winning. Still, Williams' tribute to the great American songbook is a surprisingly natural fit with its intended target: '50s trad-pop patriarchs like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. And just like those two loveable rogues, Williams has brawled and boozed in the past, but isn't afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve; in fact, he's one of the few modern pop stars to fully embrace affecting balladry and nuanced singing. Williams and longtime producer Guy Chambers are also extremely careful with their product, so it shouldn't be surprising that Swing When You're Winning has innumerable extra-musical touches to carry it over: the cover features Williams relaxing in the studio in a period suit; his contract with EMI enabled the addition of the treasured Capitol logo at the top of the sleeve, and several tracks were even recorded at the famed Capitol tower in Hollywood. Fortunately, Williams is no less careful with his performances. Since he lacks the authoritative air of master crooners like Sinatra and Bing Crosby (along with the rest of humanity), he instead plays up his closer connections to the world of Broadway. His readings are dynamic and emotional -- sometimes a consequence of trying to put a new spin on these classics (six of the covers are Sinatra standards, three are Bobby Darin's). He also invited, with nearly universal success, a series of duet partners: Nicole Kidman for the sublime "Somethin' Stupid," Jon Lovitz for the irresistibly catty "Well, Did You Evah," Rupert Everett for "They Can't Take That Away From Me," longtime Sinatra accompanist Bill Miller on "One for My Baby," even Sinatra himself for a version of "It Was a Very Good Year" on which Williams takes the first two verses (over the 1965 arrangement), then bows out as Sinatra's original counsels him concerning the later stages of life. Though it may be an overly close tribute to a familiar original (like many of the songs here), Williams' considerable skills with expression and interpretation largely overwhelm any close criticism. He's definitely much better on the comedy songs, especially the hilarious "Well, Did You Evah" (originally a duet for Crosby and Sinatra in the 1956 film High Society). Lovitz's rounded tones and faux-affected airs are a spot-on interpretation of Brother Cros, while Williams' emulation of a boorish lug ("That's a nice dress -- think I could talk her out of it?") is nearly perfect as well. Though arranger Steve Sidwell hasn't done many charts (and those for the movies Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones' Diary, and Romeo + Juliet), he also acquits himself nicely aping classic scores for "One for My Baby" and "Beyond the Sea." The lone Robbie Williams original is "I Will Talk and Hollywood Will Listen," a sweeping pipe-dream fantasy of true American superstardom for Britain's biggest pop star. It could happen, too; Pierce Brosnan surely isn't growing any younger.
Entertainment Weekly - Tom Sinclair
...Winning is a winner, offering ample reason for connoisseurs of great pop to rejoice, whatever their age.

Product Details

Release Date:
Emi Europe Generic

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robbie Williams   Primary Artist,Vocals
Dave Bishop   Tenor Saxophone
Simon Gardner   Trumpet
Gordon Campbell   Trombone
Iain Dixon   Alto Saxophone
Pete Christlieb   Tenor Saxophone
Derek Watkins   Trumpet
Julie Andrews   Bassoon
Richard Berry   Horn
Peter G. Hanson   Violin
Stan Sulzmann   Flute
Chuck Berghofer   Bass
Mark Berrow   Violin
Leon Bosch   Bass
Jeff Bunnell   Trumpet
Roger Chase   Viola
Nick Cooper   Cello
Jim Cox   Piano
Ben Cruft   Violin
Mitch Dalton   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
George Doering   Guitar
Liz Edwards   Violin
Chuck Findley   Trumpet
Andy Findon   Flute,Piccolo
Gary Grant   Trumpet
Dan Higgins   Alto Saxophone
Greg Huckins   Baritone Saxophone
Alexander Iles   Tenor Trombone
Garfield Jackson   Viola
Harold Jones   Drums
Skaila Kanga   Harp
Paul Kegg   Cello
Gary Kettel   Percussion
Chris Laurence   Bass
London Session Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Martin Loveday   Cello
Sal Lozano   Tenor Saxophone
Eric Marienthal   Alto Saxophone
Andy Martin   Tenor Trombone
Kate Musker   Viola
Bruce Otto   Tenor Trombone
Anthony Pleeth   Cello
Frank Ricotti   Percussion
Ralph Salmins   Drums
Steve Sidwell   Trumpet,Conductor
Sonia Slany   Violin
Paul Spong   Trumpet
Jonathan Strange   Violin
Phil Teele   Bass Trombone
Cathy Thompson   Violin
Philip Todd   Flute
Chris Tombling   Violin
Justin Ward   Viola
Craig Ware   Bass Trombone
Kate Wilkinson   Viola
Dave Woodcock   Violin
Gavyn Wright   Violin,Leader
Dave Arch   Piano
Bill Benham   Violin,Viola
Richard Bissill   Horn
Dermot Crehan   Violin
Gillian Findlay   Violin
Ian McKinnon   Violin
Paul Morgan   Bass
Maurice Murphy   Trumpet
Mary Scully   Bass
Helen Tunstall   Harp
Ben Chappell   Cello
Peter Lale   Viola
Julian Tear   Violin
Paul Willey   Violin
Patrick Kiernan   Violin
Boguslaw Kostecki   Violin
Eddie Roberts   Violin
Frank Schaefer   Cello
Jackie Shave   Violin
Bruce White   Viola
David Fuest   Bass Clarinet
Peter Murray   Synthesizer,Accordion
Wayne Bergeron   Trumpet
Susan Bohling   English Horn
Philip Dukes   Viola
Paul Gardham   Horn
Lynda Houghton   Bass
Helen Keen   Flute,Piccolo
Julian Leaper   Violin
Donald McVay   Viola
John Pigneguy   Horn
Anthony Pike   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet
Robert Smissen   Viola
Michael McMenemy   Violin
Richard Skinner   Bassoon,Contrabassoon
Richard Watkins   Horn
Rachel Allen   Violin
Tim Grant   Viola
Everton Nelson   Violin
Rebecca Hirsch   Violin
Nigel Black   Horn
Mike Thompson   Horn
Phillip de Groote   Cello
Simon Benson   Bass
Rachel Bolt   Viola
Emlyn Singleton   Violin
Warren Zielinski   Violin
David Ayre   Bass
Nick Bucknall   Clarinet
Paddy Lannigan   Bass
Simon Fischer   Violin
John Anderson Concert Orchestra   Oboe
Naomi Wright   Cello
Nicole Kidman   Vocals
David Daniels [cello]   Cello
Pete Davies   Trombone
Richard Edwards   Bass Trombone
Dennis Farias   Trumpet
Lowell Frank   Conductor
Stephen Holtman   Tenor Trombone
Brian Kilgore   Percussion
Bill Liston   Alto Saxophone
Mark Nightingale   Trombone
J. Neil Sidwell   Trombone
Jamie Talbot   Saxophone,Alto Saxophone
Andrew Crowley   Trumpet
Anthony Kerr   Vibraphone
Bill Miller   Piano
Adrian Hallowell   Bass Trombone
Jon Lovitz   Vocals
Jane Horrocks   Vocals
Pete Murray   Synthesizer,Accordion
Katherine Shave   Violin
Frank Sinatra   Vocals
Gordon Jenkins   Conductor
John Barclay   Trumpet
Stuart Brooks   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Marc Blitzstein   Composer
George Gershwin   Composer
Kurt Weill   Composer
Bobby Darin   Composer
Jolson   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Bertolt Brecht   Composer
Charles Trénet   Composer
Sammy Cahn   Composer
Guy Chambers   Composer,Audio Production,Producer
Nat King Cole   Composer
Ervin Drake   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Jerry Jeff Walker   Composer
Jack Lawrence   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Cole Porter   Composer
Bob Russell   Composer
James Van Heusen   Composer
Robbie Williams   Composer
Dave Dreyer   Composer
C. Carson Parks   Composer
Billy Rose   Composer
Vince Mendoza   Orchestration
Steve Power   Producer
Schmitt   Engineer
Lowell Frank   Arranger
Steve Sidwell   Arranger
Gavyn Wright   Orchestration
Ricky Graham   Engineer
Gordon Jenkins   Arranger
Nicky Holland   Vocal Producer
Jim Brumby   Engineer

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Swing When You're Winning 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Never heard of Robbie Williams before recently hearing this CD. Wish he would hurry and do another CD of broadway standards....would buy it in a flash! Love his phrasing, can't help but to sing along. I like a wide range of music and this is one of the best evah! Recently played it for my 85 year old grandmother and now she is also in love with Robbie Williams. (He sings Cole Porter on DeLovely also, check it out) All the duets are surprisingly wonderful, John Lovitz is a hoot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I´ve a fan of Robbie since he was a member of Take That and I can (proudly) say that this is his best album ever since. I recommend it to everyone who losves jazz, swing or just POP. I love Rob!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
great songs poor delivery again from robbie the lack of new material can only be an attempt by the record company to cash in on his massive uk appeal covers of classic songs in an attempt to broaden his artistic appeal fails because he adds nothing new or improves in any way on the originals his version of mr bojangels is truly awful this cd will sound great to 10 year old girls not familliar with them robbies stuck in 2nd gear when he should be burning rubber
Guest More than 1 year ago
You can shove all your over-hyped, pretty boy dance bands, and listen to a guy who is a true original. He can hold you with a song, and although he isn't quite up to being a Sinatra, who is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a really great CD-I was fortunate enough to get a copy as it wasn't released in the US. It's very different from his other stuff, but it's great anyway! ''Me and My Shadow'' is a great track. I recommend this for any Robbie fan or for a swing fan!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Robbie Williams, he has so much meaning in his music abotu everyday life, without going too deep of course.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is the best CD you will ever get. Not only is it to praise Sinatra, but, you will fall in love with Robbie, just like me. Personal Recomendation: Me and My Shadow
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