Friday, October 23, 1998 Published at 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK
Entertainment: New Music Releases
Robbie: I've Been Expecting You (Chrysalis)
Everyone loves Robbie. The archetypal boy next door is the sort of lad every mother would love their daughter to bring home for tea.
Who else could leave the most adored band in Europe in a right old pickle and end up becoming a bigger star than the rest of them put together?
Who else could sink deep into the squalid mire of drink and drugs and leap up smelling of roses?
Yep, our Robbie's got it taped all right. But beneath the cheeky, lopsided grin, the piercing eyes and the comic patter lies a very intelligent young man who's got both press and public in the palm of his hand.
And on the evidence of this, his second album, they won't be going anywhere for a while.
Pouring his heart out
This is Robbie dropping the boy band cherub-turned wild man of rock image and being himself. The results speak for themselves.
Opening track Strong is a reflection on the bad times: "My breath smells of a thousand fags and when I'm drunk I dance like my dad."
He really knows his life's a mess when "I wake up and look like Kiss without the make-up."
Win Some Lose Some on the other hand tells of the incredible feeling that only being in love with an All Saint can bring.
Soft rock strains are punctuated by cries of "I love you, baby" down the telephone from Nicole Appleton and the way he belts out the chorus you know he's telling the truth when he says "I may never need another".
Vast range of styles
If you want classic film scores, conjuring up images of espionage and James Bond, you've got them in the epic Millennium and the Corduroy-esque Grace.
If you prefer chugging punk guitars juxtaposed with sinister orchestral manoeuvres, you've got that too in the venomous Karma Killer - "I hope you choke on your Bacardi and Coke".
If you're up for a bit of star-spotting, look no further than No Regrets, which sees the Neils Tennant and Hannon on backing vocals.
Oh, and just in case you're wondering what's going to be the Christmas No 1, then wonder no more.
Heaven From Here - a gorgeously gentle strum-athon akin to Sam Brown's Stop - will see Kleenex factories everywhere working overtime.
If that doesn't bring a tear to your eye, the dedication on the sleeve surely will: 'In loving memory to my gran, Betty Williams from your ever-loving grandson, Robert.'
Everyone loves Robbie.