Yes, your teenage dream has finally come true! After 11 years of mourning over the break-up of arguably one of the world’s biggest bands, fans can now welcome Take That (sans Robbie Williams) with open arms and teary eyes as the band stages a comeback with their latest album, Beautiful World.
And beautiful it really is. Granted, there’s been some doubt over the Take That reunion. With hard-partying ex-member Williams being the only one able to successfully carve a solo music career for himself, heart-throb Gary Barlow scraping the bottom of the music industry barrel with numerous ‘guest spots’ and Mark Owens making the band’s only newsworthy headlines by winning English reality television show, Celebrity Big Brother, your hesitation is fully justified.
Which only makes Beautiful World an even more impressive listen. Having acknowledged the fact that their once screaming teenage fans are as old as them “4 white old men” (their words, written in their lyrics booklet), the band has decided to do away with the cheesy, cringe-worthy stuff and churned out a soulful, stirring album that will surely (clichés aside) capture the hearts of both young and old.
Brilliantly produced, sung and written, Beautiful World also marks the first time that Take That has most of their materials co-written with various professional songwriters such as John Shanks (the producer of Jewel’s newest album, Goodbye Alice in Wonderland) and Steve Robson (who produced songs for pop-rock band Busted and boyband Blue). In fact, the only track of the 11 that is completely composed by the band is “I’d Wait For Life”, a moving number about waiting for your loved one, no matter what.
This time, the album doesn’t just consist of Barlow taking up lead vocals for most of the songs as the duty is evenly spread out within the band, giving this album more diversity. Listeners will no longer get that feeling of déjà vu whenever they put this record on, as opposed to previous Take That albums. Although the album lacks Williams’s energy, the 4 remaining members hold their own impressively.
While enjoying Barlow’s radio-friendly hit “Patience” (the album’s first single which came out tops in the U.K in its second week of chart entry and also came in third place on local radio station 987FM’s ‘UK Top 20’ chart show), be sure to keep your ears out for other tracks that are just as addictive. Owen’s funky pop track “Shine” (the album’s second single) will leave you bopping to the beat while Jason Orange’s “Wooden Boat” ends the album on a mellow and relaxed note. After listening to title track “Beautiful World”, led by Howard Donald who has since become a successful club DJ, you might find yourself unconsciously humming the tune later on.
While Beautiful World is refreshingly different from their previous albums, it must be said that it lacks the punch that old Take That records had before (no male or female can ever deny listening to past hits such as their cover of Barry Manilow’s “Could It Be Magic” or “Pray”). However it’s highly unlikely that such a minor flaw will deter the massive influx of 30–year-olds into record stores, rushing to purchase the album.
Of course, do keep in mind that they are no Backstreet Boys or New Kids On The Block. Take That now consists of ‘4 white old men’, so while it may seem dull upon first listen, give it a chance and you will discover the brilliance of the album after pressing the repeat mode .
And so fans can only hope that this time, they’ll be “Back For Good”.
UrbanWire gives Take That 4 out of 5 stars.