Robbie Williams

The Great 'Escape'

RobbieAround the globe, Robbie Williams is a household name. But in the U.S., it seems more is known about his revolutionary recording contract than the man and his music. Virgin Records is hoping to change that situation with the release this week of Williams' latest album, "Escapology." The set, released in most markets Nov. 18, 2002, has already topped the charts in many European territories.

Much is riding on this release, particularly in view of Williams' much-discussed new global contract with EMI, which is estimated by various sources as being worth between $70-$120 million. Whatever levels he reaches in the U.S., Williams has a remarkable track record to live up to. Worldwide, his sales are fast approaching the 25 million mark, according to the label, with five solo albums to his credit. Two albums released in the U.S. have sold less than 700,000 copies total, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The U.S. version of "Escapology" will differ from its European counterpart in several ways. Brand-new songs "One Fine Day" and "Get a Little High" have replaced "Hot Fudge," "Cursed," and "Song 3." Says Williams, "In the past, I often regarded myself as not being good at anything. This album is me doing my best at a certain point in my life. Lyrically, I was forced to be at the top of my game. Eminem inspired me to write such great lyrics."

He continues, "Contrary to what's been written in the British press, I did not set out to make an American-sounding record. I'm not Ryan Adams, Avril Lavigne, Limp Bizkit, Vanessa Carlton, or John Mayer. I like big pop choruses. The sun was always shining when I made this record. For me, it's a joyful record. Perhaps a few Americans will agree." A two-month U.S. tour begins in September.

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