Robbie Williams

The Ego Has Landed

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Robbie Williams was an international superstar at the end of the millennium, a recognizable icon in all countries but one -- the United States. Traditionally, this is a problem for British superstars, who are able to amass a large global following but are hard pressed to break down the doors to America for a variety of reasons, many of which are inexplicable. For Williams, it was because his records weren't released in the U.S., probably because his former band, Take That, never developed into a commercial powerhouse in America. Once the group split, conventional wisdom suggested that lead singer Gary Barlow would become the star, but after Williams delivered back-to-back smashes (Life Thru a Lens, I've Been Expecting You), he seemed like the genuine star. It was time for America to become acquainted with the lovable rock & roll rascal, hence the brilliantly titled The Ego Has Landed. Containing six songs from Life and eight from I've Been, The Ego Has Landed isn't a perfect compilation, but it's not half bad either. Since it's culled from just two records, it doesn't have great momentum or pacing, but it does contain a very good cross section of his two albums, leaning a little toward the mid-tempo and ballad side. The pacing is a little off, but the songs are there: the clever showmanship of "Let Me Entertain You," the endearingly silly "Old Before I Die," the crooning "No Regrets," the propulsive "Man Machine," and "Millennium," Willliams' bid for sampadelic hipness -- everything that illustrates why he is a perfect post-alternative, post-Brit-pop, post-ironic pop star.

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