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September 25, 2011 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

In Defence of Robbie Williams

Joy Division? Shit. The Beatles? Shit. Radiohead? Shit. They’re all shit.

There are times in life when you must stand up for what you believe in. Now is one such a time. I fight for the redemption of music. I fight for Robbie Williams. Yes, I’m out, and I’m proud.

Ever since Robbie Williams ripped off his own skin and cast his fresh flesh into a throng of ravenous half-naked ravens on roller-skates, I have harboured a secret crush. I am not ashamed to admit it, and I am not ashamed to have attended Robbie live in concert, Christchurch, 2001. It was a “sick” gig. Robbie remains the eternal spring of hope buried deep ‘neath my loins, the sparkle in thine lover’s eye, the heavenly breathe upon a supple summer’s wind. Robbie is my life; my destiny. They say music taste is subjective. Perhaps this is true. But not with Robbie. Robbie is truth.

In those days it was OK to be open about these things. They were brighter times; Robbie was universally adored. Torn from humble beginnings, he was cast into the spotlight, lusting after transcendent greatness. This he achieved in the spring of 1998 with the release of seminal compilation-infused-with-original-material classic, The Ego has Landed. It seemed Tony Bennett had fornicated with George Michael and produced the god-child of soft pop-rock. He was purity in a festering sin-pit of pop filth.

But then came the stigma. The album Rudebox was released and, just like that, Robbie was uncool. Rudebox: what was this enigma? I became insecure—ashamed even—isolated. Occasionally though, in the forgotten back-rows of class, the muffled phrase “I actually enjoyed the hidden track on Escapology” could be heard and I would know I was not alone. There was rare companionship. But there would always, just as swiftly, be retraction: “I don’t really like Robbie Williams.” Alas, it hurt me then to see those poor fools suppressing natural instinct. But I kept faith. It takes courage to swim against the current. I mean, if you can’t swim, you drown. But today, those dark times are over.

In defence of music, I offer you three reasons why Robbie Williams is the greatest recording artist of all-time:

Record sales are no indication of quality. Not so for Robbie. He’s sold a fuck-load of records. Everyone fucking loved him. How’s that for fucking tautology.

Robbie has the fertile mind for lyrical intrigue revered by all great musicians. Few have covered as diverse a range of subject matter. Compare the discussion of 21st Century mystic hedonism in ‘Let Love Be Your Energy’ with the analysis of medieval occult fatalism in the trip-hop infused archetypal Bond ballad, ‘Millenium’. “We’ve got stars directing our fate, and we’re praying it’s not too late, cos we know we’re falling from grace,” he sings in the chorus.

I don’t particularly like tattoos and it is no secret the Robbie has a penchant for the habit. But his tattoos serve a purpose. They are a reflection of his descent from god to fallen-angel. But he knows this. “Such a saint but such a whore”, he reflects in ‘Come Undone’. He’s self-aware; it’s fucking postmodern, trust me. It’s art. And every erudite bro has got to love a bit of art.

Now, nothing repulses me more than people who claim to possess superior music taste to others. But then, it is important that we reject total relativism. It leads to critical inertia. Sometimes it is imperative that we stand up for what we believe in. In doing so, we must not have any regrets: “they only hurt”. Robbie’s coming back you see. I know it. He must… for me… The Rudebox years are but his time dormant, buried behind stone. Soon, his heavenly spirit will return, the stone will be cast aside, and he will rise again. This time, more powerful than we can possibly imagine.

In these days of apathy and doubt, there is only one such thing I can say with certainty: I believe in Robbie Williams. If you too know truth, speak out. You are not alone.


About the Author ()

Ollie served dutifully alongside Asher Emanuel as Co-editor of Salient throughout the tumult of 2012. He has contributed to Salient since 2011 and intends to do so for the rest of his waking life.

Comments (31)

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  1. Rui says:

    You’re a fuckin’ genius man !!
    God bless you !!

  2. Willy says:

    Oh yes! you’re definitely not alone!!! We love him and believe in him like youuu!

  3. marika says:

    Totally agree….take a look at my website !!
    Thanks God for Robbie Williams !!!!

  4. Flavia says:

    God bless you for your words…and God bless Robbie for his music!
    Robbie has come back…

  5. nina says:

    i love robbie,i therefore beieve in him and his beauitful music

  6. Nina_2 says:

    You are so right!!!!
    I’m a fan for 18 years now…Robbie is the best!

  7. Stefania says:

    Kind words for Robbie…
    I’m a fan of Robbie too and I totally agree with you…
    But I think that Rudebox is a wonderful album…
    So it was and it’s the best forever….:)

  8. Elena says:

    Hi i’m a fan since 2003, Robbie is everything in music for me. this year in July i went to see him live, the greatest day of my life. You’re not alone…!
    i agree… thank God for Robbie Williams.

  9. Gabby says:

    Well said !!! You’re the voice of a lot of people and thanks for this brilliant article. Robbie should read your article.

    Thank God for Robbie Williams !!!!

  10. flame says:

    OH MY GOD .. your words made me growing up in a heart beat !You have perfectly translated into words the feelings of a fan of music that is constantly in contact with people who ignore his passions, or rather, not even committed to understand them, but simply judge them. Who among us has not been recognized in your words? Who has not thought about all those people who pretend to tell us that what we like is not art?Your words are everything I’ve always thought and I said .. not only for Rob: I started as a child to defend the Durans, always uphill path .. but we do not give up: we could just stay silent and ignore the detractors, but .. not make it: the passion is too big, too strong and it is as if “we owe it to Rob” and to any artist who makes us feel these emotions … .. And yes, Rob deserves to be defended ..It ‘important for us to do! And most importantly, we are not alone!Thanks!!

  11. Robert says:

    Sure we re not alone.he’s still adored by milions if people and that’ is f*n right cos he has huge talent,charisma and heart,and he’s a very cool full package as an enterteiner

    Beside the artistic point of view I think he’s a very great person,does lot of charity,very sensible towards the spiritual,generous and all…the tattoo LOVE on his fingers tell all about his life philosophy,and pretty much all of the persons has worked with or know him personally has agreed with that

    Anyway lot of props for the article,Rob deserves his success…on the final line where you talk about his new raise,he’s working on the new album…I think it could be awesome,really,with an happy marriage and friendship with TT he’s really fine at moment,let’s hope it gives us another masterpiece

    Bye Ollie,keep on supporting the Prince of Pop ;)

  12. Nicoletta says:

    You have touched my heart.

  13. Laura says:

    Hell yeah!! This article is brilliant! Thank you! And i’m with Gabby, i think Rob would love this article if he read it. :)It beats reading shit about youself in the tabloids, lol, at least this is the honest opinion of a supporter.

    Rob is a lyrical genius and i cant wait to hear the new album! On the subject of Rudebox, i love it and did at the time it came out too. I really didn’t understand why it was so poorly received. The 80’s and 90’s are amazing tracks!

    I believe in him 100% :) The boy is back baby!!

  14. Monica says:

    I’m totally agree…you’re so right!!!You just write exately what I’m thinking!!! God bless you and Mr Williams!!!

  15. B. says:

    I have never been ashamed to say out loud that I love Robbie Williams and his music. Never. And I bought Rudebox and guess what? I like it :)

  16. lovemusic says:

    WOW! i’m totally agree..!! you are a fucking genius boy :’) !!!
    we all love robbie and his music!! :-D

  17. Blanche says:

    Well my compliments for all the truth about Rob. I’m like you at the same point when someone doesn’t understand the RESPECT that I have to him.
    I have to admit I composed and sang a song called “Escapist” and if you don’t mind I can give you the link… Actually, I gave to him the song for real at a PROGRESS TOUR in S.Siro that I won… Well i know the truth!

    You can download for free and share with all the people who knows about the truth!

  18. MaggieRW says:

    I love you man! Now is the time to scream it. Robbie Williams is brilliant music, Robbie Williams is fantastic lyrics, Robbie Williams is art, Robbie Williams is an amazing man, Robbie Williams is LOVE.
    I’ll say that forever.

    I believe in Robbie Williams.

  19. exteel says:

    Hy my “Friend” Thank u!Thank u so so much for the amazing words…Rob is “ROB and there is nothing else to say more!!
    Brilliant and genius is what he is…His name,his music,his lyrics,his music are the meaning of this words!
    I love Rob since 1993…i see him live almost 15 times!!!
    all over Europe!!! Noone that NEVER see one of his live can judge what a kind of artist he is…
    He make our heart beat,,,he make our dream run free,,,he make our soul dance into the eternity…
    people maybe cannot like his kind of music…but this don’t mean that he is not the best!that he is on the top of the top of high high hit!!!
    And all of the people must remember that HE IS AN HUMAN LIKE ALL OF US HERE…that can make mistake—can be hurt…can be pessoff…can be down…can be lunatic…everything that each one of us are!!!!
    And i like rubox too…i really do….i must say this…of course i have my preferit album but i love everything he touch…just because he is magic…he have this power..
    I love u and i love all my robbie friend because you understaind my “williams sickness” that i’m proud to have!!!
    much much love from me,ilenia alias exteel…. from rome,italy-

  20. prezy says:

    Ollie!I’m with you!!!!!!!Don’t feel alone!Rob is a God!

  21. Mar says:

    You said it all!!! We’re all out!! But I love RW since i was 8 years-old!!
    Thank you for being one of us and for your support to Rob!!
    He is the best singer in the world! His lyrics, his voice, his eyes inspire the world!!

    You’re not alone!!

  22. Sophie says:

    Congrats for your article. You’re so right!!
    About Rudebox, critics weren’t as bad as that. I mean, critics from real musicians.
    The problem was with tabs: they said “this album is rubbish” and everybody thought “this album is rubbish”, because we are all like sheeps flocks: following without thinking by ourselves.
    If Rudebox was really as bad as that, why does someone like 50 cents, a prince of rap, want to work with Robbie since he released his accursed album?
    Yes, we have to be proud to love an artist as brave as Robbie is.
    I’m fed up with all of those “artists” who do, album after album, the same thing, with same sounds, same songs, so much that we’re not sure if it’s a new album or not.
    Robbie dares.
    He doesn’t like to stay on his “comfort zone”, he dares, and he’s got the talent for that.
    Rudebox, like all of his albums, was and still is a f…ing amazing album, just maybe too much different for unadventurous fans.
    I would like soo much earing artists out of their comfort zones.
    It’s a real test for talent.

    p.s. I’m not agree with you about The Beatles nevertheless…

    Kisses from France.

  23. Mariela says:

    You’re a genius! This is how a fan has to speak!
    I’m in love with Robbie since the Rock DJ video too, and I was only seven. I just wish there were more fans here where I live. Nowadays lots of people like commercial music. And I think “Why don’t they listen to music like Robbie Williams?”.
    I’m still waiting to see him live, and I’m sure it will be the best day of my life.
    It’s true, we’re not alone.
    Kisses from Argentina.

  24. Alpha says:

    Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that all of the above post are written by the same person?

  25. Sophie says:

    @ Alpha: i’ve just written once. Twice right now. LOL.

  26. Laura27 says:

    @ Alpha : Your sneaking suspicion is wrong, but i’m pretty sure that most of us are from a few websites i know, lol

  27. Michi says:

    Yeah I only commented 17 times.

  28. Blanche says:

    @Alpha The majority of people come from an italian diary or fanclub of RW, so pay attention because 800 people will EAT YOU! :-D ahahahahaha

  29. Alisson Casmpos says:

    I’m brazilian and I do believe in Robbie Williams too!

  30. Flavia says:

    @Alpha: many comments, from many different persons…with the same feelings and sensations!!! You’re wrong my dear…I’m Flavia from Rome, Italy…

  31. Very useful post. I think this can make me some idea. And i wish there was a post about wireless phone plans.

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