Swings Both Ways

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Swings Both Ways
Studio album by Robbie Williams
Released 15 November 2013 (2013-11-15)
Recorded 2013
Genre
Label
Producer
Robbie Williams chronology
Take the Crown
(2012)
Swings Both Ways
(2013)
Robbie Williams: Classic Album Selection
(2013)
Singles from Swings Both Ways
  1. "Go Gentle"
    Released: 10 November 2013
  2. "Dream a Little Dream"
    Released: 15 December 2013
  3. "Shine My Shoes"
    Released: 24 March 2014

Swings Both Ways is the tenth studio album by English singer-songwriter Robbie Williams. It is his second swing album after 2001's Swing When You're Winning, although, unlike the latter, it features both covers and original material. The album marked Williams' first major work with former longtime collaborator Guy Chambers since 2002's Escapology. Chambers produced the album and co-wrote most of the album's new material with Williams.

The album was released on 15 November 2013 and debuted atop the UK Albums Chart with first-week sales of 109,000 copies, becoming the UK's 1,000th number one album. It was also Williams' eleventh album to top the chart, putting him joint-second with Elvis Presley for the most UK number one albums.[1] Internationally, the album charted strongly and charted in the top 10 in Ireland, Australia, Belgium, Italy and Sweden, in addition to reaching number one in Austria, Croatia, Germany and Switzerland. As of June 2014, the album has sold over 1.6 million copies worldwide.

Background[edit]

Swings Both Ways was announced by Williams in September 2013. It was released in the UK by Island Records on 18 November 2013.[2] The album features cover versions of well known songs, as well as six new tracks written by Williams and Guy Chambers, who also produced the album.[2] Swings Both Ways also features duets between Williams and Lily Allen, Michael Bublé, Kelly Clarkson, Olly Murs, and Rufus Wainwright, on classic as well as new material.[2]

Williams stated "First of all, I wanted to do a swing album because I wanted to do a swing album. I always knew I'd do another and I think now is the perfect time to do it. I'm enjoying showbiz and I'm enjoying my life and my understanding of where I am now is that there needs to be an event every time I bring out a record. The album this time is a definite ode and a loving glance towards a period on the planet that I was never invited to 'coz I wasn't there… I wanted to be, which I feel still very strongly linked to."[2] He added that Swings Both Ways was originally going to be similar to his first swing album Swing When You're Winning, but he later changed his mind and added the original tracks: "Going in I planned it to be very similar to the last one, and then I realized – that’s actually not what I wanted. It’s different – it’s not all covers, I had some songs that I wanted the world to hear and check out and maybe become part of the fabric of their lives, if I’m lucky enough, that I’ve had a hand in writing. So it’s very very similar to the last one, and very different – and hopefully I’m off to romance the world!"[2]

Lily Allen said of her collaboration with Williams: "‘Dream A Little Dream’ is one of my favourite songs of all time so I didn’t hesitate when Robbie asked me if I’d like to duet with him on it. I was a bit nervous when we recorded it, especially when I asked him what he wanted me to do and he said something like ‘just be you’. But I’m really happy with it and think we do justice to a classic song."[3] Murs also commented on his first collaboration with his long-time friend: "I absolutely loved working with Rob on this album. After touring Europe with him this year it seemed only right that we record something together, and “I Wan’na Be Like You” is such a classic sing-a-long tune. It’s always brilliant when you get to work with your mates!"[3] Wainwright also spoke of his duet with Williams: "Working with Robbie is a dream come true. I’m once again the envy of both sexes. Robbie is the real deal, full package, a total mensch and if I could come up with any more paired descriptive sayings I would use them as well."[3]

Singles[edit]

"Go Gentle" was released as the album's official lead single on 10 November 2013.[4]

The album's second single "Dream a Little Dream" was released on 13 December 2013.[5]

"Shine My Shoes" was released as a promotional single on 12 September 2013, upon pre-orders of the album being made available. The track premiered on radio that morning, and shortly after an official audio stream was released to YouTube.[6] It was released digitally as the third single from the album on 24 March 2014.[7]

Chart performance[edit]

In the UK, the album opened at number one (which became the 1,000th UK number one album) with 109,000 copies sold.[8] During its second week, Swings Both Ways dropped to number three, the following week the album climbed to number two, the following week the album climbed back to number one in its fourth week, selling 126,000 copies - an increase of 31% from the previous week. Williams secured the Christmas Album Number One with sales of 126,000 copies.[9] The album was the fourth best-selling album of 2013 (excluding multi-artist compilations) with 626,000 copies sold for the year.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 58/100[11]
Review scores
Source Rating
Daily Express 5/5 stars[12]
Digital Spy 4/5 stars[13]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[14]
The Independent 3/5 stars[15]
Metro 3/5 stars[16]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[17]
The National 4/5 stars[18]
The New Zealand Herald 3/5 stars[19]
The Observer 2/5 stars[20]
Time Out London 3/5 stars[21]

Swings Both Ways has received mixed to positive reviews from music critics. As of December 2013, the album holds an aggregate score of 58 out of 100 assigned by Metacritic, based on 7 reviews.[11]

Track listing[edit]

Swings Both Ways - Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Shine My Shoes"   Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers, Chris Heath 3:23
2. "Go Gentle"   Williams, Chambers, Chris Heath 4:31
3. "I Wan'na Be Like You" (featuring Olly Murs) Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman 3:31
4. "Swing Supreme"   Williams, Chambers, Dino Fekaris, Frederick Perren 3:17
5. "Swings Both Ways" (featuring Rufus Wainwright) Williams, Chambers, Rufus Wainwright 3:58
6. "Dream a Little Dream" (featuring Lily Allen) Fabian Andre, Gus Kahn, Wilbur Schwandt 3:33
7. "Soda Pop" (featuring Michael Bublé) Williams, Kelvin Andrews, Scott Ralph, Rich Scott, Danny Spencer 3:19
8. "Snowblind"   Williams, Chambers 3:19
9. "Puttin' on the Ritz"   Irving Berlin 2:32
10. "Little Green Apples" (featuring Kelly Clarkson) Bobby Russell 3:16
11. "Minnie the Moocher"   Cab Calloway, Irving Mills, Clarence Gaskill 3:41
12. "If I Only Had a Brain"   Harold Arlen, Yip Harburg 3:52
13. "No One Likes a Fat Pop Star"   Williams, Chambers, Heath 2:52
Swings Both Ways - Deluxe edition bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
14. "Where There's Muck"   Williams, Guy Chambers 4:09
15. "16 Tons"   Merle Travis 2:36
16. "Wedding Bells"   Williams, Gary Barlow 4:35
DVD - Deluxe edition bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Dream a Little Dream (Video)"   Fabian Andre, Gus Kahn, Wilbur Schwandt 1:22
2. "Soda Pop (Video)"   Williams, Kelvin Andrews, Scott Ralph, Rich Scott, Danny Spencer 3:37
3. "I Wan'na Be Like You (Video)"   Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman 1:56
4. "Swings Both Ways (Video)"   Williams, Chambers, Rufus Wainwright 4:03
5. "Gallery"   - 3:23

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA) Platinum[60] 70,000+
Austria (IFPI) 4× Platinum[61] 60,000+
Czech Republic (IFPI) Platinum[62] 12,000+
Denmark (IFPI Denmark) Gold[63] 10,000+
Germany (BVMI) 2× Platinum[64] 400,000+
Hungary (Mahasz) Gold[65] 2,000+
Ireland (IRMA) Gold[66] 7,500+
Italy (FIMI) Gold[67] 30,000+
New Zealand (RIANZ) Gold[68] 7,500+
Switzerland (IFPI) Platinum[69] 30,000+
United Kingdom (BPI) 2x Platinum[70] 710,000+[71]
World - 1,500,000

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Format Label
Germany[72] 15 November 2013 CD, digital download Island Records
United Kingdom[3] 18 November 2013
United States[73]

References[edit]

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