Robbie Williams - Swings Both Ways (Island)
It has taken Robbie Williams 12 years to follow up his first album of swing music, Swing When You're Winning, which sold a whopping two million copies in the UK alone.
That style of music has worked well for the man from Stoke-on-Trent, and so it continues here with this lavishly arranged, but largely forgettable, album.
There are guests aplenty including Rufus Wainwright – who's in typically flamboyant form – and Michael Buble (who does this sort of stuff in his sleep) but it's difficult to escape the notion that this is a box-ticking exercise.
The covers – including the Lily Allen-assisted Dream A Little Dream – are faithful, but unimaginative, while the original material is more hit than miss.
Guy Chambers who helped make Williams a solo success post-Take That, has his fingerprints all over the better new songs, including the title track (the one featuring Wainwright), and the eccentric No One Likes A Fat Pop Star.
When one considers Williams' much publicised battles to keep the weight off, it's not outside the bounds of possibility that he's not just singing with that tongue firmly in cheek.
Swings Both Ways