In comparison with the confines of the “cookie cutter pop” scene of the US, the UK and Europe must be a haven for the music artist that wants to reinvent his or her sound and explore all aspects of his or her musical spectrum. In that part of the world, music artists does not have to worry about commercial appeal and terrestrial radio embracing a stylistic change. British megastar Robbie Williams has undoubtedly indulged in this freedom while enjoying every bit of it in the commercial limelight. Robbie Williams started his solo career with an Indie Rock sound (layered with a quirky pop quality) that enjoyed commercial appeal. He then made a foray into the world of electronic pop on his “Rudebox” album (which featured two collaborations with the Pet Shop Boys). His last album, “Reality Killed The Video Star” retained a lot of the sound that dominated “Rudebox” while also featuring a group of songs with a glossy production (courtesy of music maestro Trevor Horn) thus giving the album the quality of a pop masterpiece. The new Robbie Williams single “Candy” appears to be the precursor to yet another stylistic change for the popstar.
To say that there is a lot of anticipation for the new Robbie Williams album (titled “Take The Crown”) would be an understatement. In the ageist world of pop music, the success of an album that an artist releases right before he or she hits the age of 40 is critical if the artist wants to enjoy commercial appeal in their 40s. It is likely that “Take The Crown” will be the last album of Robbie Williams’ 30s. Hence, the success of the singles off this album is more important now than it ever has been for Robbie Williams. Fortunately, the new album’s lead single “Candy”, while being very different from Robbie’s earlier material, has a sound that is catchy, upbeat, and most importantly – celebratory. It will also most likely add to Robbie’s string of hits.
On “Candy”, Robbie sings about a desirable girl that knows the effect she could potentially have on men. Robbie is singing about a “girl” and not a woman. Hence, his lyrics paint a picture of someone that still has a lot of growing up to do. Furthermore, he sings from the perspective of a much younger man – which is interesting considering he is in his late 30s. One cannot help but think that the music video for this song will be quite interesting. The verses on “Candy” have an almost “cutesy nursery rhyme sing-a-long” (e.g. “Ring a Ring a roses, whoever comes the closest”) feel to them. But before one has time to dwell on the repetitive melody on the verses, the song breaks into its instant chorus that will probably have you jump out of your chair and dance along. In fact, this song is one of those that would make a great soundtrack to a party from a bygone era in which the adults and kids dance together. The song’s strongest attribute, production wise, is its string arrangements. I cannot remember the last time I heard string arrangements in an uptempo pop song. They really work well on “Candy” and give this contemporary song a classic/retro cloak. The other salient aspect of this song is that it will translate well in a live setting – because it also has a “band” feel despite being an uptempo pop track. Last, but not least, it is great to see something upbeat produced by the track’s producer and Take That colleague Gary Barlow.
Whether or not “Candy” will usher in another hit-making era for Robbie Williams is yet to be seen – but the song sure leaves a sweet after-taste! Here is a full-length radio rip of “Candy” by Robbie Williams:
RADIO ALERT: We might be one of the few American radio stations that plays Robbie Williams’ music regularly. We are definitely the ONLY radio station in the world that plays his rare gems (b-sides, covers, album tracks). Currently, “Candy” by Robbie Williams is getting 5 plays a day on our radio station. Listen to our station from ANY part of the world via the button below.