Friday, December 8, 2006

While I wait for Royal Mail to deliver my Wii...

...I came across a very interesting analysis of Take That's comeback from regular reader Keli. For those of you who never read the comments on the blog (and why should you?) I'll reprint it below:

Take That [never] had much appeal to me in the first place. My theory on why Take That are doing so well again is that people have short memories, and can only remember "Back For Good" (quite a passable, if somewhat plodding, pop ballad) and possibly their cover versions ("It Only Takes A Minute", "How Deep Is Your Love", "Could It Be Magic"...)

Most people conveniently seem to have forgotten that all the rest of their output was tepid cack of the highest order... the production on "Never Forget" is so embarrassingly dated I cringe, and don't get me started on "Babe". And newie "Patience", whilst at least one notch above Gary Barlow's usual dogsh*t sandwich songwriting, makes James Blunt's "Back To Bedlam" sound exciting and edgy.

I've been avoiding the rest of the new album, although it may not be so terrible if the other members have hand a hand in the writing. I actually quite like much of Mark Owen's various solo output.

I have a feeling this post may not endear me to some people. Ah well. If anyone wishes to construct a logical counterargument I'll listen... as long as I don't have to listen to more of their bloody records, that is.

Keli's quite right. Take That experienced a massive critical re-evaluation soon after Back For Good and suddenly became national treasures. Prior to that, if I remember correctly, they were a laughing stock outside the 15-year-old girl demographic.

He's spot on about the production values of their music, too. The band famously had one week in the studio for each album. Maybe Beyoncé can get away with that, but that's because she hires the world's most expensive producers and whips them until they weep hits onto a silver platter. Take That never had that sort of budget - although I'm pretty sure they had the S&M gear. Funnily enough, they secured the services of top US producer John Shanks for the new album.

I disagree with Keli about Never Forget, though. The single version is appalling, but only because of a shockingly self-indulgent remix by Jim fucking Steinman. The album mix - slightly less bombastic, and free of the creepy children's choir - is quite a gem. Good lyrics, too, for a pop band.

Although I was never particularly a fan, my two younger sisters loved Take That. As a consquence I have seen all of their tours on video countless times (in between repeat showings of Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman) and I have to say they are one of the best live acts the UK have ever produced. They were totally committed to their shows, and the the dance routines in particular were breathtaking. From what I saw on ITV last week they're still on top of their game, putting today's pop stars to shame (I'm looking at you, The Sugababes).

We've both gotten a bit over-excited by this, haven't we?

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