Robbie Williams’ video for Something Beautiful

Robbie Williams’ first single was not by accident a cover of George Michael’s “Freedom”, quickly setting out his career aspirations (Boybanders can be people too!) and his general musical area (like this except, y’know, with attitude).

But after the initial rush of singles (“Let me Entertain You”, “South of the Border”, “Old Before I Die”) which are and will remain forever Robbie, he (or Robbie Williams / Guy Chambers / Robbie Williams, or whatever) wrote “Angels”, people started talking about him as a Serious Songwriter, and he thought “Yeah. Yeah, that’s sounds nice”. Which means songs that speak to everyone, songs from everyone, songs without as much Robbie in them.

And so a bunch of big ballads, none living up to “Angels”, with a brief stab to prove that he still has it (“Rock DJ”) which worryingly suggests that he doesn’t. And the fame starts to slip, and he might well be looking with some envy at Gregg Alexander, whose New Radicals released one fantastic personality-free single before he retired to write songs for everyone else.

And now this single, which parples along until you realise it’s basically the Beautiful South, and the video, which shows a nationwide contest to find a Robbie impersonator to appear in the video for the single, but the video is of the contest, DYS? Birds, blokes, chorus lines, anyone can be Robbie Williams. Inevitably, most of them look more interested and interesting in the job than him.