The Christmas Present

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The Christmas Present
Robbie Williams - The Christmas Present.png
Studio album by
Released22 November 2019 (2019-11-22)
RecordedJune–September 2019
StudioLos Angeles, California
Las Vegas, Nevada
London, England
Vancouver, Canada[1]
GenreChristmas
Length78:26 (Standard edition)
92:06 (Deluxe edition)
LabelColumbia
Producer
Robbie Williams chronology
Under the Radar Volume 3
(2019)
The Christmas Present
(2019)
Singles from The Christmas Present
  1. "Time for Change"
    Released: 22 November 2019
  2. "Can't Stop Christmas"
    Released: 20 November 2020

The Christmas Present is the 12th studio album by British singer-songwriter Robbie Williams, and his first studio album since 2016's The Heavy Entertainment Show. It was released on 22 November 2019, and features guest appearances from Tyson Fury, Rod Stewart, Jamie Cullum, Helene Fischer and Bryan Adams. Williams performed a pair of concerts dubbed " The Robbie Williams Christmas Party" at the SSE Arena on 16 and 17 December 2019 in promotion of the album.[2]

Background[edit]

Williams began recording the album in June 2019, just before the final leg of his Wynn Las Vegas residency, and concluded in Vancouver in October 2019. Williams joked that he was going to call the album Achtung Bublé, a play on words of the U2 album "Achtung Baby", and in reference to Michael Bublé's "monopoly" on the Christmas music market, which he said "must end now".[2] Williams was asked in an interview whether or not there were any plans for Bublé to sing on the album and he answered: "He sang with me on an album of mine called Swings Both Ways. You sort of get it in your head that you can only use that token once. I might be wrong. I should have got him involved.''[3]

In an interview with Smooth FM, Williams stated: ''I wrote 50 songs for the Christmas Present record. And you can’t write 50 songs in one month because it’s Christmas and you feel Christmassy, so you have to do it when the fancy takes you.''[4]

Williams initially aspired to cover "Fairytale of New York" as a duet with Britney Spears which the latter declined.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic52/100[6]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[7]
NME3/5 stars[8]

The Christmas Present received mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 52 based on 4 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]

Jordan Bassett of NME rated the album 3/5 stars, writing: ''The original compositions are richer than the covers. The galloping ‘Darkest Night’ opens with the fabulous line “December in London / Think I’ve just been made redundant” and the optimistic ‘New Year’s Day’ borrows quite liberally from George Michael’s ‘Freedom’ on a jubilant bridge where Robbie and a gospel choir rapturously exclaim, 'Oh! It’s an energy! Oh! The memories!''''[9]

The song "Bad Sharon", featuring Tyson Fury on guest vocals, was called a "favourite" to be the UK Christmas number one.[10]

Singles[edit]

''Time for Change'' was released as the album's official lead single on 22 November 2019.[11]

The album's second single ''Can't Stop Christmas'' was released on 20 November 2020.[12]

Commercial performance[edit]

The Christmas Present opened at number two on the UK Albums Chart, behind Coldplay's Everyday Life. The album sold 67,000 copies in the UK during its first week, the same amount as Williams' previous album The Heavy Entertainment Show (2016).[13] Despite not getting to number one on the charts, Williams' had the fastest selling cassette release in over two decades. The Christmas Present sold over 10,000 cassettes in its first seven days of release. Halfway through its second week, Williams' album climbed to number one, outselling Rod Stewart's album by 5,000 copies and becoming Williams' 13th number one, tying Elvis Presley for the most UK number one albums.[14] In its second week, 57,000 copies had been sold. Williams now ties Presley for the most #1's in a solo career, and has 17 number one albums when including his Take That career.

The Christmas Present opened at number two on the Australian music chart, behind Coldplay's Everyday Life. The following week, The Christmas Present became Williams' first number one album in Australia since Reality Killed the Video Star 10 years prior.

Track listing[edit]

Disc one: Christmas Past[15]
No.TitleWriter(s)ProducersLength
1."Winter Wonderland"2:18
2."Merry Xmas Everybody" (featuring Jamie Cullum)Chambers3:33
3."Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
  • Chambers
  • Williams
1:57
4."The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:12
5."Coco's Christmas Lullaby"
  • Robbie Williams
  • Kelvin Andrews
  • Richard Scott
  • Danny Spencer
  • Chambers
  • Williams
2:55
6."Rudolph"
  • Williams
  • Andrews
  • Scott
  • Spencer
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:40
7."Yeah! It's Christmas"
  • Williams
  • Andrews
  • Scott
  • Scott Ralph
  • Chambers
  • Williams
2:49
8."It's a Wonderful Life" (featuring Poppa Pete)
  • Williams
  • Andrews
  • Scott
  • Spencer
  • Chambers
  • Williams
2:51
9."Let's Not Go Shopping"
  • Williams
  • Andrews
  • Scott
  • Spencer
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:09
10."Santa Baby" (featuring Helene Fischer)
  • Joan Javits
  • Philip Springer
  • Tony Springer
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:27
11."Best Christmas Ever"
  • Williams
  • Guy Chambers
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:45
12."One Last Christmas"
  • Williams
  • Flynn Francis
  • Konrad Olsen
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:33
13."Coco's Christmas Lullaby Reprise"
  • Williams
  • Andrews
  • Scott
  • Spencer
 1:14
Disc two: Christmas Future
No.TitleWriter(s)ProducersLength
1."Time for Change"
  • Williams
  • Chambers
  • Karl Brazil
  • Tom Longworth
Chambers3:30
2."Idlewild"
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Timothy Metcalfe
Chambers4:08
3."Darkest Night"
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Owen Parker
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:19
4."Fairytales" (featuring Rod Stewart)
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • John Garrison
  • Martin Terefe
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:33
5."Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" (featuring Bryan Adams)
  • Chambers
  • Williams
2:43
6."Bad Sharon" (featuring Tyson Fury)
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Benjamin Roy Castle
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:40
7."Happy Birthday Jesus Christ"
  • Williams
  • Flynn Francis
  • Konrad Olsen
  • Philipp Steinke
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:15
8."New Year's Day"
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Benjamin Roy Castle
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:41
9."Snowflakes"
  • Williams
  • Francis
  • Olsen
  • Steinke
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:41
10."Home"
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Parker
  • Sam Sure
  • Chambers
  • Williams
4:10
11."Soul Transmission"
  • Williams
  • Andrews
  • Spencer
Soul Mekanik & Daft Dog4:14
Disc two: Christmas Future (2020 release)
No.TitleWriter(s)ProducersLength
1."Can't Stop Christmas"
  • Chambers
  • Richard Flack
3:23
2."Time for Change"
  • Williams
  • Chambers
  • Karl Brazil
  • Tom Longworth
Chambers3:30
3."Idlewild"
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Timothy Metcalfe
Chambers4:08
4."Darkest Night"
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Owen Parker
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:19
5."Fairytales" (featuring Rod Stewart)
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • John Garrison
  • Martin Terefe
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:33
6."Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" (featuring Bryan Adams)
  • Chambers
  • Williams
2:43
7."Bad Sharon" (featuring Tyson Fury)
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Benjamin Roy Castle
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:40
8."Happy Birthday Jesus Christ"
  • Williams
  • Flynn Francis
  • Konrad Olsen
  • Philipp Steinke
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:15
9."New Year's Day"
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Benjamin Roy Castle
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:41
10."Snowflakes"
  • Williams
  • Francis
  • Olsen
  • Steinke
  • Chambers
  • Williams
3:41
11."Home"
  • Williams
  • Brazil
  • Parker
  • Sam Sure
  • Chambers
  • Williams
4:10
12."Soul Transmission"
  • Williams
  • Andrews
  • Spencer
Soul Mekanik & Daft Dog4:14
Deluxe bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
13."I Believe in Father Christmas"3:11
14."Not Christmas"
  • Williams
  • Francis
  • Metcalfe
  • Olsen
3:26
15."Merry Kissmas"
  • Williams
  • Brahim Fouradi
  • Edwin Serrano
  • Memru Renjaan
  • Carlos Vrolijk
2:43
16."It Takes Two" (featuring Rod Stewart)
  • William "Mickey" Stevenson
  • Sylvia Moy
3:53

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Austria (IFPI Austria)[55] Platinum 15,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[56] Gold 100,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b Bassett, Jordan (18 October 2019). "Robbie Williams wants to take Christmas back from Michael Bublé – and I am here for it". NME. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Robbie Williams interview: "I have no chance of being the Christmas number one"". Smooth. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Robbie Williams interview: "I don't look at the charts anymore, it would be a miracle if I got there'". Smooth. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  5. ^ Griffin, Louise (22 November 2019). "Britney Spears turned down Fairytale Of New York duet with Robbie Williams". Metro. UK. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  6. ^ a b "The Christmas Present by Robbie Williams reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  7. ^ Yeung, Neil (23 November 2019). "Robbie Williams: The Christmas Present review – a lurching mess of styles". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  8. ^ Bassett, Jordan (23 November 2019). "Robbie Williams – 'The Christmas Present' Review". NME. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Robbie Williams – 'The Christmas Present' review: the pop don's festive gift is anything but a lump of coal | NME". NME | Music, Film, TV, Gaming & Pop Culture News. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  10. ^ Jones, Rich (18 October 2019). "Tyson Fury and Robbie Williams favourites to land Christmas No.1". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Time for Change Official Video". YouTube.
  12. ^ "Robbie Williams tackles coronavirus on new festive single 'Can't Stop Christmas'". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 20 November 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
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