Written on: 02/07/2009 by speakout (86 reviews written)
If you're like me and grew up with Take That in their heyday, you will have known someone that was traumatised by their demise a decade ago. If also like me, you thought Take That were an ok boy band who knocked out a couple of ok tunes but weren't blown away by their albums, then this second coming and fifth studio album is a complete and maybe unforeseen pleasant surprise.
After listening to the 'The Circus' by Take That for the up-teenth time in the car on a long journey last weekend, I was struck by how many sing-a-longable tracks there are. There is only one song ('Julie') on The Circus which doesn't get me heartily singing along wishing I was part of this now 'manband' who really do seem to have struck gold this time round. I am always dubious about once idolised groups making comebacks (i.e. Spice Girls - that comeback single was terrible and seeing as I can't even remember the name of it demonstrates the lack of impact it had), but I was dead chuffed for Gary Barlow's gang when 'Patience' was released and proved to be a popular and triumphant return to the top of the charts. I also think Gary especially deserves this new found adoration because he had always been hailed as a very good songwriter, but following the flop of his solo career and the public slaying by Robbie Williams in the press, he sort of just faded away and didn't get the recognition I felt he rightly deserved.
The general publics love of Take That appears to know no bounds and the release of 'Greatest Day' heralded Take That's eleventh number one single in the UK. To be honest on first hearing I thought it was a bit dull but it proved to be one of those tracks that just builds and grows on you until almost sub-consciously you're singing along and then you realise you're hooked. 'The Circus' is a truly classic pop record. It's an innocent blend of pure pop songs - soaring and melancholic ballads interspersed with sparkly up-tempo tracks. What is great about 'The Circus' is that everyone gets a go on vocals and the tracks are a collaborative effort which works very well indeed. Mark takes lead on 'Hello' which has an infectious chorus, 'Up All Night' and on one of my favourite tracks, 'Hold Up A Light' which you just know will go down a storm in a live environment. What is maybe even more surprising is the Jason Orange contribution 'How Did It Come To This' which manages to crowbar words like "compartmentalising", "schizophrenic" and "OCD" into the lyrics yet still remains a credible and enjoyable song. The earnestness and longing can still be heard in Gary's song writing and comes to the fore in another of my favourite tracks, 'The Circus' where he sings 'everybody loves a circus show, but I'm the only clown you'll ever know' and you remember that Take That do actually have a serious side to them too. After listening to other big ballads 'Said It All' and 'You', you should be left in no doubt that Take That are probably 'back for good' (oops sorry!!).
Gone are the days of throw away (sometimes lame) sugary boy band pop that Take That were churning out and what we now have is a mature and dignified pop group who aren't trying to be clever and cool but are just enjoying what they do and are all the better for it. So Take That in my opinion have once again trounced their competition with 'The Circus'. What has happened to the comebacks from other likeminded acts such as Boyzone and New Kids On The Block? If I wasn't a stellar supporter at the height of their success first time around, I certainly am now and I for one am certainly looking forward to the next record and wish them every future success.
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