On The Download: Robbie Williams, ‘Reality Killed The Video Star’

Robbie Williams has been one the UK’s biggest recording artists for years. Some would say that he’s the British counterpart to Justin Timberlake - he’s a former boy-band member who has had a very successful solo career. But after taking some time off to find himself and repair his career, the charismatic crooner is back with his eighth studio album, “Reality Killed the Video Star.”

Though his music has yet to completely cross over to the United States, he’s sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Williams’ new set of music goes back to the adult contemporary vibe he started with, something that he left behind on his last album, 2006’s critically panned “Rudebox.” Unlike it’s predecessor, the new disc is chocked full of elaborate strings and piano arrangements, which proved to be successful on Robbie’s 1999 hit ballad “Angels.”

The 35-year-old singer wants you to know he has returned and seems to reflect on his recent career troubles in the track “Last Days of Disco,” writing, “Don’t call it a comeback, look what I’ve invented here.”

The album gets started with the graceful track “Morning Sun,” which was been reported to be a last minute addition to the album and somewhat of a tribute to the late Michael Jackson.

Williams examines pop culture on the lead single “Bodies” and reminds us of his witty lyrics with lines like, “All we’ve ever wanted is to look good naked, hope that somebody can take it.” Robbie continues with this kind of tongue-in-cheek talk we’ve come to expect from him throughout the entire album.

He hasn’t completely abandoned the “Rudebox” sound as “Difficult for Weirdos” has an electro-dance quality to it. He’s back in his element on “Starstruck,” a dance tune with tons of dramatic orchestral arrangements. He’s also crafted some remarkable ballads, and the retro-inspired “You Know Me,” is one of the best tracks on the album.

Whether or not this album will get him the attention he seeks from U.S. music audiences is yet to be seen, but “Reality Killed the Video Star” definitely shows that he’s got his career back on track and is back to being the Robbie Williams that won fans over worldwide.

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