Robbie Williams: The Christmas Present – a big lump of coal ★

If you are unlucky enough to receive this album as a Christmas present, don’t even bother taking it out of its packaging. Inside will only be Robbie Williams’ failed attempt at redeeming his plummeting popularity in the music industry: 28 tracks across 2 CDs (Christmas Past and Christmas Future). 

You’d think 45-year-old Williams would be the perfect auteur for a successful Christmas album, considering his past two competent solo records. You’d be wrong: these cheesy, cringe-worthy songs are a laughable attempt to give the Christmas song a jazz and swing makeover that falls completely flat. 

Williams claimed that he wanted to call the album “Achtung Bublé”, saying “I fucking love Michael, but it must stop. It must end now.” Unfortunately for him, Williams has not come close to dislodging Bublé from the top of this niche market. 

With guest appearances from Tyson Fury, Rod Stewart, Jamie Cullum, Helene Fischer, and Bryan Adams, the album could appeal to many. Williams offers covers of Christmas classics including Winter Wonderland and Let It Snow!, as well as many of his own mediocre, stodgy compositions – songs no one needs to hear.   

The album is disappointing from the first song – Winter Wonderland. Its unoriginal take only confirms the impression that Williams is well past his sell by date. The worst song on the album is undoubtedly a substandard, underwhelming cover of Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody, featuring Jamie Cullum. It does nothing, and fails to put you in the festive mood while doing so. 

If it wasn’t for the incessant bell-ringing in the background, I’d completely forget that I was listening to a Christmas album: Darkest Hour, a song about sex and drugs, feels ill-matched to his second CD Christmas Future

If you do receive this as a Christmas present, fear not. You can always re-gift it. 

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