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This is the first single from British singer-songwriter Robbie Williams' eighth album, Reality Killed the Video Star
. It was his first single since "She's Madonna
" in March 2007.
The single was debuted on Chris Moyles' BBC Radio 1 breakfast show on September 4, 2009. Robbie delivered the new track in person to the DJ.
Both the single and album were produced by veteran producer Trevor Horn, (Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Seal), who in his younger days was one half of electro-pop duo the Buggles. The album title is a reference to the Buggles' biggest hit song "Video Killed The Radio Star
This is described by the singer's PR machine as an "apocalyptic conspiracy-laden" song. Williams has a well publicised interest in UFOs and related paranormal phenomena.
The song's music video was directed by Williams' frequent collaborator Vaughan Arnell and was filmed in California's Mojave Desert. The clip features Williams' American-Turkish actress girlfriend, Ayda Field.
The song has Williams, who was raised a Catholic, referring to a number of religious ideas, including new age and Buddhist references, as well as the Christian message. However it is Christianity that the Angels
singer devotes much of the song to, with the repeated refrain "If Jesus really died for me, Then Jesus really tried for me." It's not clear exactly what he is getting at in his lyrics, but it would appear that Robbie is addressing the narcissistic "look good naked" culture in which we live, and the secular belief that when we die our body ends up "in the cemetery, and that's the way it's gonna be." We have made a mess out of looking for validation from our body image obsessed culture and instead Williams is maybe suggesting that we would be better off looking for validation from the crucified saviour.
Towards the end of the song, Williams throws in the line: "Jesus didn't die for you, what do you want?, (I want perfection), Jesus didn't die for you, what are you on?" It has been suggested that the lyric is a criticism of President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. The claim has been made that the American President saw the invasion of Iraq as a 'holy war,' and this lyric is criticising Bush for sending troops to fight in a needless war in Jesus' name.
The song topped the singles charts in a number of countries including Austria, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland and Turkey. It was also #1 on the European Hot 100 for two weeks.
Williams on working with Trevor Horn: "The first day we met, he was like, 'So what hours do you like to work?' And I was like, 'Friday.'"
Williams admitted to Q magazine December 2010 that the words to this song made little sense because he was stoned when he wrote them. ''A great track but the lyrics are f---ing gibberish. You look at them and go 'stop watching documentaries, you knob','' he said. ''Who knows what I was going on about?'''
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