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Life Thru a Lens

Robbie WilliamsAudio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 2011 $9.49  
Audio CD, Import, Extra tracks, 1999 $8.00  
Audio CD, 1997 --  

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Image of album by Robbie Williams


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Out of all the members of Take That, Robbie Williams never really seemed to fit in. Roguishly handsome where his bandmates were merely cute, Williams was tougher and sexier than the rest, which made him more distinctive. He also fought regularly with the other members and their management, primarily because he was occasionally adverse to being so heavily packaged. So it didn't come as a ... Read more in Amazon's Robbie Williams Store

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Life Thru a Lens + I've Been Expecting You + Intensive Care
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 23, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Phantom Sound & Visi
  • ASIN: B00000JG8E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,010,562 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Lazy Days
2. Life Thru A Lens
3. Ego A Go-Go
4. Angels
5. South Of The Border
6. Old Before I Die
7. One Of God's Better People
8. Let Me Entertain You
9. Killing Me
10. Clean
11. Baby Girl Window

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All we dared hope for, and much much more. June 6, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Robbie may have gone on to make better (or at least more consistently satisfying) albums, but 'Life thru a lens' will always retain pride of place in the hearts of us Robbiephiles, when, what could have been a self-pitying play for sympathy (especially after that misjudged first single, the cover of 'Freedom'), turned out not to need any excuses whatsoever.
At the time, cred-building Robbie was finding succour in then-popular Oasis, and their baleful influence can be seen on songs like 'Lazy Days' and 'South of the Border', although he brings his own alchemical ingredients, like 'imagination' and 'wit', though, sadly, not 'melody'. There are a couple of lovely ballads here ('One of God's better people', 'Baby Girl Window'), and 'Clean' is an amusingly self-mocking take on the pop star misbehaving in public (Robbie's lyrics are so endearingly naive in their confessional literalism they frequently become clever and truthful).
It is, of course, the magnificent singles that sustain 'Lens', all using Robbie's 60s/70s/showbiz fascinations with intelligence: the speedpop ranting title track; the pubrock humility of 'Old Before I die'; the simultaneously arrogant and gracious 'Let me entertain you', a Kiss-tribute rock dazzler that easily out-pummells its source. Oh, and a trifle called 'Angels', a song of staggering (emotional) maturity, a ballad whose poignancy arises from the recognition that happiness, never mind perfection, is an ungraspable dream: it is, quite simply, one of the ten best songs ever written.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IT'S ALL ROB AND YOU JUST GOTTA LOVE IT! April 29, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I just got my copy of Life Thru a Lens. After wearing out I've Been Expecting You, I decided I had to hear some of Robbie's earlier stuff.
It took a bit of getting used to because I've grown accustomed to the more mature and sophisticated sound of Expecting You. But Lens is still all Robbie and in no time at all I was totally into it.
Angels, the classic is there in all its glory. The outrageous and totally infectious "Let Me Entertain You" makes you want to grab a hairbrush and pretend you have a crowd of thousands screaming at your feet.
But the real surprises here are the ones that weren't as popular. I love the groovy sound of "South of the Border" and "Killing Me" is so haunting but grabbing that sometimes I just play that track on repeat. And as someone who has lost a parent, I find the ballad "Baby Girl Window" comforting and reassuring.
"Ego a Go Go" is hilarious especially when you know the story behind it and the rivalry between Robbie and his former bandmate, Gary Barlow. It's a preview of the harder and more vindictive "Karma Killer" (on Expecting You) which was an angry memo from Robbie to his former manager the now notorious Nigel Martin Smith.
On a whole, Lens is but a preview of the extrodinary artist Robbie Williams has become and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerhouse Debut Album by a Pop Genius December 10, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I remember when I first heard of Take That. It was in a video for a song called "It Only Takes A Minute". They were still a brand new boy band in the footsteps of New Kids On The Block but they were british. Out of the five members, Robbie Williams stood out. He was the funniest, cheekiest member and he seemed to have more personality than the others. At the end of the video, there was Robbie pointing his finger up and crooning the line 'Just one minute...'. It was funny. 4 years later, Robbie left Take That and the future didn't seem too bright for the lad. He made several public appearances afterwards, one being as a host of the MTV Europe Awards in the fall of 1996. Prior to that Robbie had done a cover version of George Michael's Freedom. Not too impressing work there and more of a mockery of his boy band image. But Robbie struggled to change that. He hung out with Oasis, grew a goatie for a brief time, and began venturing into Rock music.
Old Before I Die was the first non-pop song Robbie came out with that was an original song that he wrote along with an unknown, Guy Chambers. Highly influenced by Britain's biggest rock band, Oasis, Robbie wanted if not needed to get into the new mainstream since boy band music became a joke. After months of slacking, but not really slacking, Robbie returned with a full length album titled 'Life Thru A Lens' in September of 1997. I think i was the only guy who bought that CD at a Music store in downtown Beirut, Lebanon. And for some crazy reason, i felt like i really wanted to love this album since it felt weird just to hear Robbie on his own and see what he can prove. I was impressed, no...more, I was taken completely by every song on the CD!
The opener struck a chord with me, 'Lazy Days' is a song about depression.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Anticipation, No Disappointment July 28, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Being the proud owner of "The Ego Has Landed" and "Angels Rarities", I was eager to get my hands on more CDs from Britian's latest export. I heard much ado about his 2 albums in the UK and some questioned why he didn't release them individually Stateside. Was he not proud of some of the songs on both his albums? Keeping that in the back of my mind, I cautiously bought "Life Thru a Lens" (I decided on his 1st album, because I wanted to follow the progression of his music). I now feel it my duty to tell anyone who had any doubts about the songs not released on Ego can lay those doubts to rest. If you dug Ego, then you'll dig Life. Obviously, I can't speak for Robbie on whether or not he's proud of the songs he left off Ego, but I found them to be quite delicious. Even songs like "Clean", with its Beatles meet Seasme Street melody, seems not much unlike an exersize in sophisticated irony by having such a sweet little ditty be about such a heavy and adult subject. Every song is a gem. I can't wait to get my hands on "I've Been Expecting You" to see what other hidden treasures he's been keeping from us here in the States.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Robbie does it right.
Robbie Williams does it right the first time with his first solo album. It had catchy tunes and amazing orchestral instrumentation. Well done Robbie, Well done.
Published 18 months ago by Hunter Womack
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad for a Debut
Britain's most noticeable pop boy Robbie Williams got on to a strong start with his debut, Life Thru a Lens. Read more
Published on March 16, 2010 by Atli Hafsteinsson
3.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous voice, mediocre album.
Robbie Williams has a fabulous voice. Truly. But this album doesn't do the best job showcasing it. The songs are short and empty and the lyrics are very trite. Read more
Published on March 6, 2005 by Nicole A. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Immature, but Robbie took off from this very first trial...
I find it not easy to judge this album fairly for I began listening to it after purchasing the four later CDs from him. Read more
Published on September 25, 2003 by Debby
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant Album
I Got this yesterday, and have listened to it, and it is a great album! The upbeat songs Lazy Days, Life Through A Lens, Ego A Go Go, and Let Me Entertain You(my favorite), are... Read more
Published on May 13, 2001 by Michel
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant Album
I Got this yesterday, and have listened to it, and it is a great album! The upbeat songs Lazy Days, Life Through A Lens, Ego A Go Go, and Let Me Entertain You(my favorite), are... Read more
Published on May 13, 2001 by Michel
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Thru a Lens
Recently, a friend of mine got me listening to Robbie Williams by sending me this CD. I think it's AWESOME!!! Robbie Williams is very talented, versatile... Read more
Published on March 23, 2001 by
5.0 out of 5 stars John Lennon would be proud (at least I think he would be)
This is one of the most exciting rock albums that I have heard in a while. I am shocked that Robbie has not caught on with teeny-boppers. However, I do have a theory as to why. Read more
Published on January 5, 2000 by Douglas Hahner
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
This is the best cd I have ever bought! Every single song on this album made me feel so happy and joyfull. Read more
Published on November 3, 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Album
This is by far Robbie's best - a CD that can be listened to time after time after time. This Brit boy is finally getting the recognition he deserves after his hard slog. Read more
Published on August 1, 1999
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