Just when you thought 2016 couldn’t get bleaker… not only has it been a year where the high profile death count has been enough to send the conspiracy theorists rife, the political powers that be are doing a marvellous job of ruining everything – once again – and this whole floating spinning rock we’re all clinging onto is in a constant state of fear and intimidation.
But worry not concerned reader, double-glazing salesman turned 90s teen-heartthrob Robbie Williams is back, but this time the pop crooner has some very ambiguous messages to pass on concerning Russia.
For the more paranoid folk out there, Party Like A Russian may come as a bit of a triggering factor when global political relations are on the brink of unrelenting turmoil. This could very much be an issue to take into consideration.
The line “alleviate the cash from a whole entire nation” to “build my own space station (just because you can)” comes as an early shock, but when followed by the brash audacity of “Ain’t no refutin’ or disputin’ – I’m a modern Rasputin, Subcontract disputes to some brutes in Louboutin” – he’s kind of asking for a smidgen of backlash isn’t he? What is he provoking? Ehh?
Well, if your one for believing Twitter, Williams gallantly wrote “This song is definitely not about Mr Putin” – extinguishing popular rumour that the two may indeed have un-quashed beef.
As far as the music side of thing goes – the track opens with a creeping dub-inspired bassline – it’s clear Robbie’s still pulling out all the stops to keep things moderately current. The burley “Heys” echoing alongside, instantly give me those cold communistic chills, but perhaps the defining moment of shock – or insta-cringe as I like to put it – came at the first encounter with Williams’ teetering-ever-so-close-to-the-edge Russian accent. The peak point at which those burley-voiced men can be heard uttering “We’re the Russian boys, we’re everywhere, there’s revolution in the air”
The track plays on loose stereotypical links to mother Russia. For instance the lyric “There’s a doll, inside a doll, inside a dolly” teamed with the equally evocative accompanying video has to be looking for trouble. Depicting Williams in full oligarch mode, smirking in a manor house – supposedly bought off the back-end of a lucrative cash-for access scheme – as pokerfaced ballerinas swathe around him.
Both song and video have flared reaction in the former USSR, with tabloids predicting Williams’ will be unable to return for performance on Russian shores.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Williams assured fans “There’s 147million people in Russia and I don’t want to upset them in any way and I don’t know what kind of sense of humour they’ve got.”
And that’s not the half of it, reading on you’ll discover that it could have been even more offensive and crudely tripe-ish – “I’m not making fun of anybody but I had to take a few things out just to make it more PC (politically correct) — and this is the PC version you’re getting.” Thanks for that Robbie,
Williams’ significant other and longtime collaborator Guy Chambers (the man behind the hits) has really pulled the cat out of the ever so disorientating bag this time – confusingly sampling Sergei Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights – more commonly referred to down the pub as “that choon off the Apprentice”. The confounding decision has caused bewilderment for both fans and pulse-spectators alike.
Perhaps the defining loutish moment comes at the tracks finale – to the tune of “Ave it like an Oli-garch” – If Take That prodigy really didn’t want to cause upset overseas and bafflement everywhere else, then perhaps actually listening to the record before its been signed off for shipment would do some future favours – if there is any possibility for Robbie-reboot#4
We’ll soon be able to tell though – in the mid-week chart updates Williams is clinching the humble slot of 53 – his lowest ever solo chart position since that ever-so-fatal split in 95.
The track is the lead single from the Port Vale enthusiasts’ eleventh album to date, since swiftly exiting the rest of the Take That gang in 1995. Heavy Entertainment Show is set for November release on Columbia.
Words by Gino Franks