Thursday, March 18, 2010

Project 365 (77/365): Robbie Williams's Escapology

And finally, the backlog has been cleared out! Whew.

.:77/365: Robbie Williams’s “Escapology”:.

Yes. I meant the album.

I wanted to go and talk about this particular album, if only for its title. I like Robbie Williams as a musician, and ultimately, he’s one of the better performers of our generation.

This album was sort of a coming of age for Robbie. It was his fifth studio album, and it actually marked his noticeable increase in creative control over his album. He parted ways with his songwriter, Guy Chambers, and started writing more songs in the album himself, as well as redoubling efforts to actually break into the United States, which he last achieved with his debut solo album, The Ego Has Landed.

Anyways, I think the title of the album really suits Robbie and the way his life really is, because he’s a very misunderstood genius, in my opinion. He has had numerous songs, and his talent is definitely immeasurable, but he’s always had the problem of not quite finding out how to break free from his demons and given the Take That reunion, his past.

Escapology as a magical art is aspirational and symbolic to most people who watch it. The excitement of seeing a man in mortal danger for our entertainment cannot be denied, but neither can we ignore the sheer joy that comes with seeing the escapologist succeed, and us living vicariously through his very success. It speaks to us of the escape that we seek and crave from the mundane, from the dreary, and from the mediocrity we beset ourselves with in daily life.

With every chain, every rope, every lock we liberate ourselves from, in the audience’s minds, they are reminded that they can break free from their own bonds as well. The bonds of bad governance. The bonds of apathy. The bonds of underachievement. There are so many things wrong with this world, but escapology, as opposed to mere escapism, shows us that those who wish to make a stand can and will find ways to break free. It’s not merely about getting away from something. It’s about ending the cycle and breaking past it.

We all need a little escapology in our lives, I guess. Whether we need to escape from the problems we’re dealing with, or we need to escape frivolous accusations against our reputation, or escaping Being itself (Thanks for nothing, Levinas!). Give the album a listen, and take note of the song entitled “Come Undone”. I’m pretty fond of that song.

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