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Robbie Williams’ “Go Mental” Makes Absolutely No Sense

This single is either the worst thing he's ever done or an attempt to use horns and roaring female vocals to raise us to a higher consciousness.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB

Some things are just too difficult to comprehend. Our brains are not cut out to adequately process such subjects – life, death, the expansive and indescribable mass of the universe – and they become consigned to the parts of our brains labelled "concepts that we must accept that we will never fully know." And that's OK. To understand your limits is, to some degree, to be human.

But there is one man who refuses to accept these limits; who pushes on, against the current of what we accept as our intellectual lot, into something further past general understanding. Arise, Robbie Williams.


Robbie is a musician whose career has erred further and further towards the unintelligible (to the ordinary human brain, at least) in recent years. It is a journey that began over a decade ago now, with 2006's single "Rudebox" (lyrics: "Up your jacksy, split your kecks / Sing a song of Semtex / Pocket full of Durex /Body full of Mandrax / Are we gonna have sex (yes)"), and which has been happening under our ignorant noses since. Until now.

Until now. With his new single "Go Mental," featuring Big Narstie, Atlantic Horns, and an anonymous female vocalist who appears not to have been named for the protection of her own reputation (hear it above), it seems very much as though Robbie Williams is trying to shake his audience into higher consciousness – like, the reason it sounds like a hypnotic chant is because it is. And the song tries to do this in a number of ways:

1) Sheer force and volume
This is an exceptionally loud song. Robbie, it seems, will get us onto his plane by literally startling us awake, via deafening horns and the loud roars of a woman's voice declaring (Robbie exists past time) "AND I LLLLLLAAAAAAV IIIIIIIIIT."

2) Universality
Robbie Williams himself is a pretty big draw, yes. He is, after all, one of the most beloved solo artists the UK has ever spawned. But to spread his message as far as it will go, he needs more. So he enlists Atlantic Horns, dressed in the music video like ushers at a particularly heavy wedding while sat on the fucking toilet (for the BBC 2 and Chill audience), and Big Narstie, to interest the Young. It's a fascinating piece of strategy from our greatest living genius.


3) The language of war
Robbie wants us to make war on our old, closed-minded way of thinking and we know this because in "Go Mental," his final call to arms, he says so:

Bang bang
I shot you dead
Pushed you down and went to bed
Bang bang
All over town
I cocked it first and then I shot you down
Bang bang
No dignity

I'll be a playful piece in your history
Bang bang
I'll get you boy
It's going to be the longest summer
The world's going crazy can't stop it
They been pulling me
Squeezing me, feeling me
And I love it
The world's in my head and it's spinning
The rhythm of life is unkind
But I keep grinning

Though it's muddled (Robbie exists past time), it's clear that here he acknowledges the difficulty of our current, unenlightened way of life, describes the weight of introducing millions to a new way of understanding existence ("the world's in my head and it's spinning") and predicts the chaos to come once we are freed. The "you" he shoots dead is simply your old, closed-minded self. He is imploring you to join him, to make the ultimate leap. To "Go Mental."

Read more: Robbie Williams – the Great British Pop Star Who Will Never Go Away

And yes, alright, you may laugh at the sight of close-ups of Robbie Williams' teeth, or of him dabbing in a Peppa Pig t-shirt emblazoned with the words DADDY PIG. To unexpanded brains, these things do indeed seem like the funniest things you will literally ever see. They may actually bring you to tears. But to experience "Go Mental" on this superficial level is to miss the depth of its philosophy, and the world-changing nature of what it can do for you. Open yourself up to it; let it wash over you, and soon, you too will join the millions awakening to a brighter, more fulfilled understanding of the world. The masses will rise, lead by a gurning Robbie Williams in a cut-off vest, and they will cry in beautiful unison: "I LLLLLLAAAAAAV IIIIIIIIIT."

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