He may have let others hold the crown for a while, but it's still his. As far as male pop stars go, it doesn't get much bigger or talented than Robbie Williams. He knows how to create a good pop album, and that's just what he's done again.
It is different to his last offering, 2009's Reality Killed The Video Star, which itself was also a great album. This time, Robbie focuses a lot on more uptempo material. There are hardly any real, slow ballads on this (only about 2), yet at the same time, most of the songs have a lot of heart. A lot of this album sounds like it has influences of U2 with a pinch of Coldplay and even a tiny bit of Keane. I begins with "Be A Boy", which is a great opener. This could have been the first single in my opinion (it's certainly much better than "Candy"). This is the kind of song that will have stadiums singing along with him. The only thing I dislike about this track is the saxophone (seriously, who uses a sax in 2012?) (10/10)
Next up is "Gospel" which is another big song. It starts off modestly but morphs into being very anthemic towards the end. I do feel that the swear words at the end kind of ruin the song a bit as they seems unnecessary, but otherwise this song is pretty good (8.5/10). "Candy" is up next, which (somehow) was the first single. This isn't a horrible song, but to me, it is very mediocre, and I can't believe it was chosen as the lead single to represent the album. It sticks out like a sore thumb on the album, as it doesn't sounds like any of the other songs. I could do with or without it (5/10).
"Different" is THE track on this album. This will be the second single in December. It's easily the best track on the album and probably Robbie's best single since his Escapology days. This has the potential to be a big hit and the potential to join other classics like "Angels", "Come Undone", "Feel" and "Millennium". It's a well, written uptempo ballad. Gorgeous (10/10).
The next 2 songs are both uptempo dance/rock songs. "S*** On The Radio" is a feel-good song, in the vein of "A Place To Crash" from 2005's Intensive Care album, but more care-free with 80's influences (8/10). "All That I Want" follows, which I love because it has a dance/pop beat but it's still has guitars (8.5/10). Both of these songs are very catchy. Track 7 is "Hunting For You", which is lovely. A little more downtempo than the previous tracks, but not by much. (8.5/10).
"Into The Silence" is the second best song after "Different". This one could (and should) be an upcoming single, in my opinion. The lyrics are amazing. "when karma reaches you I want to be there just in case it needs help." They sound really angry on paper, but in the context of the song, they are heartbreaking. A lot of U2 influence on this one (10/10).
A lot of people will consider "Hey Wow Yeah Yeah" as the filler track. Certainly, it seems more like b side material, but I actually don't mind it. The lyrics are not very deep, but they're not supposed to be (6.5/10). "Not Like the Others" is another great uptempo rock track. It's a good, catchy song, but there are so many other greater songs on the album that overshadow it a bit (7.5/10).
"Losers". This is the one track I just really don't care too much for. I know Robbie loves it, and a lot of other fans love it, but to me his vocals are too screechy at times. Not too crazy about the lyrics either. I didn't even know this was a cover song, but I guess it makes sense. (4/10)
The deluxe edition contains 2 bonus tracks: "Reverse", which reminds me of Keane, and "Eight Letters". "Reverse" is another big, uptempo ballad in the vein of "Different" (but not as amazing). Its serves well as a bonus track. (8/10) "Eight Letters" is a nice song, but this version needs a little more polishing up, especially Robbie's vocals. Sounds a little too rough around the edges (it may be a demo version, but I'm not sure. Plus, it's just a pinch too sappy for me (7.5/10)
Overall, I'm very pleased with this album. I give the entire album and 8/10, which is well above average. I hope Robbie keeps churning out songs and doesn't wait too long until his next album.