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4.1 out of 5 stars
Life Thru A Lens (UK Release)
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on 16 March 2010
Britain's most noticeable pop boy Robbie Williams got on to a strong start with his debut, Life Thru a Lens. Fresh from his discovery with Take That, he immediately matured as a solo artist. Joining forces with producer and songwriter Guy Chambers would see a fruitful working relationship.

Where does that leave Life Thru a Lens? It can be considered a somewhat mismatched album, having as it does a general very good undertone with strong numbers, yet a couple of inferior offerings as well. For his first step onto the scene as a solo artist, though, this is good work. Life Thru a Lens is also, without a doubt, still Robbie's most renegade and experimental album. It is undeniably a soul-searching work. Robbie's lyrics deal a lot with his past life, either directly and honestly or slightly tongue-in-cheek. The sleeve of Life Thru a Lens, featuring Robbie emerging from what looks like a criminal trial (and presumably declared innocent) could perhaps be symbolism for that theme.

Already with the opener, the hopeful and catchy "Lazy Days", is the tone set. Robbie is of course a brilliant singer, and the music he crafts on this album along with Chambers also shows that he is no amateur songwriter. Something about the overall tone leaves something to be desired, but hey, Life Thru a Lens is a good album all considered.

"South of the Border" was an under-appreciated single that's quite strong and understated. Its lyrics I see as an allegory of Robbie dealing with his troubled past, his demons not-too-allegorically personified as the girl Cocaine Katie. "Killing Me" is beautiful and heartbreaking, whereas "One of God's Better People" (written for his mother) is fuel for that broken heart. "Angels" is then beautiful and moving, but I think, much like Radiohead's "Creep", that it's given too much significance in an artist's career of which it is but one gold nugget.

What drags Life Thru a Lens down is some gimmicky, substandard stuff. "Old Before I Die" is quite forgettable, and "Clean" (while with some clever and cheeky lyrics) falls into that same grave. The title track manages to avoid that swerve, being as it is terrifically catchy and as lyrically interesting as it is memorable. "Let Me Entertain You" ought to feel a little too gimmicky, but it works for what it stands for.

We mustn't forget "Ego a Go Go", perhaps the album's most maverick song. Both the music and lyrics are quite untameable, the sound palette almost deliberately cheeky at times (especially the screechy guitar), and the result is an explosive track that's unmatched in its playfulness. A wonderful song that mustn't be forgotten. I dare you to guess whom the lyrics are poking fun at.

While I've Been Expecting You is a far stronger album, Life Thru a Lens is not at all a bad effort. A decent start to what is to become a good career for one of Britain's most stand-out male pop singers. Keep an ear open as the album draws to a close, for the jabbing poem "Hello Sir".
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on 17 August 2015
This is Robbie William's first record. Sounding a lot like Oasis...

That is not a bad thing, you can tell it is influenced by them. But much like Oasis, Robbie Williams has fallen from large heights to sudden dreary lows.

This is still his best album, but the truth is, he seems to be more influenced by his record company rather than making decent music like this. This album came out in 1997, back when music had some independence still to it and this album shows.

Old Before I Die, Life thru a Lens and Clean, these sorts of songs Robbie Williams should focus on doing more of...not synthesized horrible songs about nothing much.

He started off with this album looking so inspired and hopeful but then went back to the depths of boredom with his later records.

I am not saying he should do this album over and over again...but his B Sides such as "Average B Side" "Rome Munich Rome" and "Better Days" showed some hope of a new musical direction.

Why he sold out to such horrible pop music I'll never know. Hope he finds his brains again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 1999
This was Robbies first big album and underlined his undoubted musical talent.Each song is uniquely different from the next,unlike the repetitive music that many artists turn out.To enhance his talents even more,he throws in a poem dedicated to his old teacher,who said Robbie would never amount to anything.How wrong he was.Simply a great album.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2000
Being from the states I am a relative nubbie to the whole Robbie Williams craze. Although I remember the song "Back for Good", I didn't remember Take That, let alone the fact that Robbie was in the group. Imagine my surprise, after I became a fan of RW's music. The Ego Has Landed is the first album I've bought in 6 yrs to inspire me get my hands on all the artist had to offer and a far cry from his boyband background. I chose "Life Thru a Lens" first, because I found out it was his debut solo album. And what an album! The song writing and melodies show a maturity that most artist don't accomplish until their sophomore album...if they're lucky. But the brilliant dichotomy of this work of art is the fact that the subject matter and angst in his voice, in his songs, reveal the growing pains of a person in the transition from from boy to man and all the normal turmoil that goes with it - the lost of a first love, difficult decisions, and completed by an ode to ones mother - as well as songs that divulge the underbelly of being an established star by the time you're 18. This is what pop should be.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2002
Few took him seriously when he released this, they should have done because everything is right about it.
Great rock tunes on it aswell as the spine chilling classic Angels - lets face it, everybody knows it.
The climax's to the songs are one the album's best points, of course there is Angels, but then the fabulous 'Killing Me' sends shivers down your spine, and the acoustic 'One Of God's Better People' has something in it that you are just able to relate to somebody in your life.
I only hope that Robbie will be given the credibility he deserves throughout his career and in the many years after, his voice and songs are amazing
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2001
This album is a great start for Robbiw on his own. It includes all the hit singles that are great for dancing to such as lazy days, old before i die; not forgetting his beautiful single- angels. This album includes sentimental tracks such as one of god's better people and baby girl's window, but is also a great album to turn up and dance to. Theres something for everyone here.
From this album you can really tell that Robbie feels it and doesnt just sing a few meaningless words. He shows great maturity in his lyrics in a way that other artists fail to do. And, believe me, this music is nothing like the boyband songs from take that. They're a lot deeaper. They go through what he felt himself and thats what makes it even more special.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2005
I decided to update all my robbie albums again, I used to have this one (cant remember what happeaned to it) and it is still has much fun to listen to now has it was then, It is a great album and i would highly recommend everyone to have this album amongst there cd collection!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 January 2015
Got this CD for the wife, and she loves it, that gets 5/5 for me.
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I don't know why, but this is my favourite Robbie Williams album. I especially like 'Let me entertain You' as I find it a 'feel-good', 'boppy' track
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on 29 September 2011
So easy to download, and can play on anything. great album too replaced the cd which eventually wore out. Cheaper than itunes and no drm
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