Playing the role of scruffy ne'er-do-well in Britboy teen sensations Take That, Robbie Williams earned the adoration of the world -- give or take the U.S. Now, with the boy band (and resulting drug excess) behind him, Williams seems poised to conquer the rest of us with an altogether more realized approach. His new role: Master of Ceremonies gussied up like Elton John and pressed out like George Michael. Resoundingly, "The Ego Has Landed" succeeds.
"Millennium's" James Bond-esque melodic transcendence sends the track's simple social voyeurism skyward. "Strong" finds Williams beneath strummy guilt, left with nothing but an R.E.O. Speedwagon refrain to dry his (and your) eyes. And the career-starting ballad "Angels" wins the international sap award for its idealization of troubled love. These are the songs of life exposed, and Williams makes for an attractive and willing subject.