Robbie Williams

I've Been Expecting You

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A more mature, calculated album from a pop star who's often gloried in being immature and spontaneous, I've Been Expecting You may suffer from comparisons to its excellent predecessor, but it also finds Robbie Williams weathering the sophomore storm quite well. While Williams' debut was infectious and outrageous, the second is indeed a more studied album. The opener, "Strong," begins very well, with the spot-on lyrics: "My breath smells of a thousand fags/And when I'm drunk I dance like me Dad," and "Early morning when I wake up/I look like Kiss but without the makeup." Many of the tracks on I've Been Expecting You show an undeniable growth, both in songwriting and in artistic expression; two of the highlights, "No Regrets" and "Phoenix From the Flames," are sensitive, unapologetically emotional songs that may not be as immediately catchy as those on his debut, but pack a greater punch down the road. Williams does indulge his sense of fun occasionally, playing up James Bond during the transcontinental hand-waver "Millennium" (which samples Nancy Sinatra's theme for You Only Live Twice), and simply roaring through "Win Some Lose Some" and "Jesus in a Camper Van."

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