The Christmas Present – Robbie Williams | Album Review

Track Listing

Disk 1

Winter Wonderland
Merry Xmas Everybody (Slade Cover)
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Coco’s Christmas Lullaby
Rudolph
Yeah! It’s Christmas
It’s a Wonderful Life
Let’s Not Go Shopping
Santa Baby
Best Christmas Ever
One Last Christmas
Coco’s Christmas Lullaby Reprise

Disk 2

Time for Change
Idlewild
Darkest Night
Fairytales feat. Rod Stewart
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) feat. Bryan Adams
Bad Sharon feat. Tyson Fury)
Happy Birthday Jesus Christ
New Year’s Day
Snowflakes
Home
Soul Transmission
I Believe In Father Christmas (Bonus Track)
Not Christmas (Bonus Track)
Merry Kissmas (Bonus Track)
It Takes Two (Bonus Track) feat. Rod Stewart

 

I used to dread Christmas time. Between difficult months working in the hotel trade and long, grueling hours in retail, the same stock Christmas songs would play on repeat all day throughout November and December. For anyone currently working in these industries I tip my hat to you in respect – it’s not easy. Away from that scene, I’ve found myself appreciating Christmas so much more and although I intentionally avoid all things Christmassy until December, Robbie Williams’ album was recommended to me so naturally, I thought I’d check it out and see if it whets the appetite for the christmas season ahead.

With a big band influence drizzled over 2 disks of Christmas-themed songs, Robbie Williams attempts to rekindle that Michael Buble magic with an album that dips and weaves through a series of classic reworks and original tracks. The result is something that feels wholly different and tiresomely familiar. Some of the classic reworks, including Santa Baby and Merry Xmas Everybody, are poor and fail to capture the same essence as the originals, while Winter Wonderland works surprisingly well against Robbie’s charismatic flamboyance. Rudolph is a love/hate rework of a classic, but props to him for the originality in the track composition, whilst the original songs on offer do little to ever hit those same levels of memorability.

Across the two disks, Robbie tries to add something different to the usual tiresome tirade of classics and while I don’t doubt the effort that went into this one, the album also fails to dethrone Michael Buble as the King of Christmas; the irony of course coming from Williams originally intending to call the album Achtung Buble, a joking jibe toward the Christmas behemoth himself. The album essentially front-loads classic reworks on the first disk before launching some originals for the follow-up, although personally I wish the album had mixed things up a little.

While a lot of these originals do tend to slip into the realm of mediocrity, Bad Sharon, featuring a collaboration with Tyson Fury, is a good shout for UK Christmas Number 1 while Bryan Adams lends a hand to my personal favourite from this second disk, aptly named Christmas. There are some really catchy songs on here though and New Year’s Day’s chorus will undoubtedly get stuck in your head for hours after this album finishes.

With tight mixing and a good range of vocals throughout , Robbie’s winter-warmer is undoubtedly a polished effort but whether it’s enough to stand out next to the glut of other Christmas albums remains to be seen. The Christmas Present certainly challenges Buble’s throne this year but when it comes down to it, doesn’t quite do enough to solidfy itself as a must-have Christmas CD.

 


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    Verdict - 6/10
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