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Take That - Beautiful World

Take That, Beautiful World

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE first album from Take That in over a decade begs a rather obvious question – why bother? Yet the success of their reunion tour, which saw them playing to over 500,000 fans, suggests there is still a market for them.

What’s more, remaining members Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Mark Owen are clearly striving to expand themselves creatively and have strived to make up for the absence of Robbie Williams in a number of ways.

Not only have they enlisted the services of Grammy award-winning Producer of the Year John Shanks, who also co-wrote the majority of the songs with the band, but they all sing lead vocal on at least one track for the first time ever.

They have also toned down the pop tendencies in favour of an epic sound which occasionally translates well to some of the better material, such as lead single Patience.

But even though the album is accomplished and sounds far better than the latest offerings from the likes of McFly and their ilk, it still falls someway short of the benchmark set for this kind of thing. In terms of ballads, it’s still Keane and Coldplay who call the shots, while the more upbeat material somehow feels geared towards a much younger market than maybe it needs to be.

Opening track Reach Out sets things off in OK fashion, emerging as a fairly breezy slice of emotive soft-rock pop. It’s the type of track that delivers skyscraping choruses and hopelessly upbeat harmonies that are designed to have you swaying along in tandem with them and owes more than a passing resemblance to the compositions of Embrace – albeit with a little more boyish charm.

Patience follows and changes tempo nicely, emerging as an earnest plea to a prospective love interest to wait while the singer recovers from a broken heart. It’s cheesy, for sure, but far better than the juvenile warblings of bands such as McFly.

While in efforts such as Hold On (do you detect a recurrent theme), there’s a hint of the James Blunt about the passionate style of delivery – both in terms of the questioning nature of the songwriting and the falsetto chorus. That’s no bad thing, of course, particularly if you’re a fan of Mr Blunt.

The brooding piano that underscores I’d Wait For Life, meanwhile, contains very definite traces of both John Lennon and Elton John without ever coming near to the quality of either. Although it’s easy to guess that the romantically inclined will be swooning, while the lighters will be in force when it’s replayed live.

Final track, Butterfly also drops some nice lyrics. But elsewhere, the album gets bogged down in well-meaning but underwhelming ballads that merely serve to highlight the gulf that exists between Take That and Coldplay. Tracks like Like I Never Loved You At All, What You Believe In and Mancunian Way are at best forgettable, at worst downright awful.

Mancunian Way, in particular, grates, while What You Believe In is a blatant James Blunt rip-off.

The overall result is an album that occasionally surprises but mostly does what’s expected. It’s nowhere near as bad as I had been anticipating but never once fails to become anything other than merely pleasant in places.

Track listing:

  1. Reach Out
  2. Patience
  3. Beautiful World
  4. Hold On
  5. Like I Never Loved You At All
  6. Shine
  7. I’d Wait For Life
  8. Ain’t No Sense In Love
  9. What You Believe In
  10. Mancunian Way
  11. Wooden Boat / Butterfly

  1. Why the hell would Take That want to be like Coldplay? Take That fans are happy, we don't wish to slit our wrists so therefore wouldnt' want Coldplay. The album is amazing and the boys have really grown - keep your opinions to yourself as the sales are all the reviews we need.

    Lisa Mealing    Nov 29    #
  2. This album is one of the best the music industry ever had! All the songs are brilliant and probably some of them could easily become a pop classic in the future.

    Jase    Nov 29    #
  3. I think this album is brilliant, every one of the songs are different and the lyrics are very well written for all of them. Its a great album and shouldn’t be compared to Coldplay and James Blunt. Take That are unique and a brilliant band!

    Vicky Clarke    Nov 29    #
  4. I was surprised by the album: it didn't really sound like Take That at all. Although there are a number of acomplished songs well produced, it's more like a Gary Barlow album than Take That. I’ll go back to listening to the greatest hits compilations I think ;-)

    PG    Dec 4    #
  5. I think this album is excellent and have been waiting for it to come out for ages, I've got some of Coldplay's albums and can say this is nothing like them. This is one of the best albums they have done, one of my favourites is “Shine” which I notice the reviewer hasn't commented on…. maybe he likes it too? And that's why?????????? It's easy to slate someone isnt it?
    Carry on Take That - you're doing a brilliant job!!!

    vicky smith    Dec 4    #
  6. A very slanted review. Poor journalism.

    Babyhead    Dec 10    #
  7. It can't be a Gary Barlow album when he only sings half the songs. On other albums he sang 80% of songs. It's a case of believing what you want to believe. And funniest of all is the fact you mention them copying all these other bands. How absurd... Take That were around when James Blunt was still in short trousers. Nobody will remember these other people in 10 years, I bet on it.

    Miss Murphy    Dec 14    #
  8. Whoever wrote this bloody review on Take That’s newest album, has totally no idea what he/she’s up to. I guess this person doesn’t know how to appreciate good music. Especially coming from a good and established songwriter like Gary Barlow. Come on! Give these guys a break. I’m so OTT that they are Back For Good. Tell me, which boy band can write their own songs and play their own music? Lemme tell you. None. None @ all. At least, Take That are still down to earth and humble. Unlike other manufactured, wannabes boybands. Hahaha….. Lemme congratulate the guys on the good album. Judging from their sell-out concert dates and the current album sales and the chart positions, these facts show that TAKE THAT is Never Forgotten. Just like The Beatles.

    Kyn    Dec 23    #