Swing Like You Mean It

Robbie Williams and Frank Sinatra? Who'd have thunk it?

The Rat Pack seems to be all over the media. First George Clooney did his little salute to them in "Ocean's Eleven", and now we have the former bad boy of pop doing his tribute to the cool crooners of the 50's and60's. Yep, that's right, Robbie Williams does a Sinatra.

What he's basically done is rework their songs, like George Michael recently did in his "Songs of the 20th Century". However, unlike Michael's attempt, he doesn't really try anything different, but has apparently just done it because he likes their music and felt like singing it for us. Nonetheless, he does a decent job and uses his vocal skills to good effect.

He also teams with a number of unusual personalities, including the stunning Nicole Kidman and (surprise, surprise) Sinatra himself. The livelier songs are the better ones, especially "Well, Did You Evah?" - a nice little riposte and repartee number. Then you have "Me And My Shadow", "Things" and "One For My Baby" - pleasant enough without causing too many comparisons. But where he really fails is "Mack The Knife", which he completely massacres for anybody who's heard the Louis Armstrong version. And he really shouldn't have done the "duet" with Sinatra on "They Can't Take That Away", because it only serves to highlight the fact that he really should stick to pop music.

The rest of the songs aren't great - including the rather disappointing "Somethin' Stupid" with Kidman - and don't have too much in them to command the attention of the listener.

This album is probably a good buy for real Robbie Williams fans, but for anybody who really wants to listen to real crooners - go buy a Sinatra compilation instead.

This article was first published on 03 Feb 2002.