Friday, July 16, 2010

Back For Good Enough: Robbie Williams moves back in with Dad

I think it's fair to say that the reunionised Take That had reached a bit of a natural end, with the first bubbling of creativity from getting back together having long since flattened out, so the inevitable lumbering back in of Robbie Williams has come too late to spoil anything too much. 'Williams rejoins Cameron-endorsing Marks And Spencer models' is less of a shame than the 'Williams stamps over the fizzle' if he'd been back in in 2005 or 2006.

Still, the camera-hogging, gurning, 'look! I'm a character' of Robbie towards the end of the BBC News video is a hint of the mismatch between the two sides now. It's like the two little pigs running into the brick house and behaving like they were the expert housebuilders all along.

Still, nobody's really that bothered about whether it's a good idea or not. For the Mirror, it's a chance to feel vindicated:

The move confirms the Mirror’s exclusive story in a March 2009 ­interview with Robbie that the band were getting back together.

Daily Mirror, everyone's been saying 'sooner or later, Williams will turn up with a stupid grin on his face' since Take That first got back as one. I'm not sure that 'just sixteen months after we said it was happening, it happened' is quite the claim you think it is.
obbie said last night: “I get ­embarrassingly excited when the five of us are in a room. It feels like coming home.”

Yes, it's exactly like coming home. But there's no shame in that, Robbie - a surprising number of men in their thirties move back in with their parents after their careers go south.

The Mirror offers a verdict on the hooking-up, with their in-house Take That fan Beth Neil taking on the paper's music critic Gavin Martin. (Gavin Martin's the Mirror's music critic now? Really?)

Beth goes first:
I just hope Robbie doesn’t try to steal the limelight and overshadow the other four, who have grafted non-stop to become the nation’s biggest man band.

Oh, come on, Beth - what are the chances of that?

Still, I'm sure Gavin's got some sort of musical insight to share:
[E]xpect plenty of sold-out gigs, making it an astute move commercially for all five.

Is it, though, Gavin? Take That as foursome could sell out gigs at the largest venues in the country, so all they're really doing is splitting the take five ways instead of four. That looks like a crappy move, surely?

Over at The Sun, Gordon Smart is delighted:
[T]hank the lord for some good news after such a bleak few weeks of murder and misery dominating the headlines.

Oh, yes. I've totally forgotten we've got a bumbling Tory at the Treasury and the Prime Minister believes some people are just innately evil with the news that a band have brought back their worst member.
This reunion is HUGE. It doesn't get any bigger.

Scientists are currently attempting to calculate if this reunion that doesn't come any bigger is larger or smaller than the bigness of a Masterchef final.

Reunions don't come any bigger? Wouldn't Paul and Ringo getting out the mop-top wigs one last time trump it?

Hang about, though, Gordon's about to blow:
The tour will break records on pre-sales, as will the album. Then there'll be the sponsorship, the TV rights, a DVD, merchandising, royalties and publishing.

To say nothing of the acres and acres and acres of coverage churned out by the tabloids, eh, Gordo?
If you thought the boys were rich now, next Christmas is going to see them served up with a whole new level of wealth.

Is it just me, or is a reunion where the reaction is 'this is going to make a lot of money' rather than 'we're going to hear some great music' one which, fundamentally, is more in the interests of record labels and promoters than fans?
The only problem I can see is Robbie's crippling stage fright and his hatred of being on the road.

You don't think that the fifteen years of animosity and his inability to work as part of a team might be a bigger problem?

The Mail calls the reWilliamsing 'Take Two', although surely it's Take Four - the band, band without Williams, band reunited without Williams, Band reunited with Williams? Despite assigning two writers to the story, though, the Mail doesn't show very much interest in the band coming back together - mainly because there's no picture of a woman in a bikini they can run alongside it.

Kim Dawson provides 'analysis' for the Daily Star. She's already started the countdown clock. The countdown to the end:
Another split will only break the hearts of women round the country still reeling from Mark’s infidelity.

Nobody seems to have told Dawson that (a) the reunion is only a fixed-time deal so there will be a natural end and (b) there are precisely no women - apart maybe from Owen's wife - who are reeling from his infidelity. And even if there were: eh? What the hell does that mean?

The Daily Express more or less ignores the story entirely, although it does take care to take the sting out of the response to its short cut-and-paste brief:
Have your say is unavailable for this story

God, yes, you wouldn't want anyone saying anything nasty about Williams and Barlow hugging, would you?

The Telegraph inadvertently gets to the problem of the story. To justify the excitement, there's a desperate desire to present this as an unlikely surprise:
Bandmate Owen said: "Getting the five of us to be in a room together, although always a dream, never actually seemed like becoming a reality.

"Now the reality of the five of us making a record together feels like a dream. It's been an absolute delight spending time with Rob again. But I'm still a better footballer," he joked.

... but the entire world has just been waiting for this moment, and for the last two or three years it's been an inevitable 'when' rather than an 'if':
Despite Williams ridiculing Barlow during his early solo shows, the pair began to bury the hatchet in recent years and their friendship was renewed.

Williams said last year: "You carry around all this resentment and bitterness for such a long time."


Williams had already revealed he was working with Barlow. Last month he announced the pair were to release a duet Shame which will feature on his greatest hits collection.

Still, the Telegraph does focus in on some people who won't be celebrating:
The new album will be released on Take That's label Polydor, rather than Williams's company, EMI.

Ah, the cost of trying to drag their nosediving big name out the dumper is having to let Polydor get the most cake.

The Times - well, who knows or cares what The Times says these days?

Really, though, at times like this you need to turn to an expert. What have you got for us, Popjustice?

Now, that would be a reunion which didn't come any bigger.