Take That – Giants

“Well that’s not a sound I expected.”

Tom: It’s taken me a few days to send this to you, Tim, because for several days I just… well, I saw it, but never clicked on the link. Because it’s a new Take That song. There are only three of them now. Surely it’s just the last dregs now, hanging on?

Tim: Well that’s not a sound I expected.

Tom: Let’s get this out of the way first: Howard Donald looks increasingly like Brian from Spaced.

Tim: There, I will not disagree with you.

Tom: As for the music, though: that’s a promising introduction, rapidly killed by the first verse. It’s like they got M83 in just for one particular sample, and then decided to just chuck some lacklustre lyrics over the top of it.

Tim: I wouldn’t go with just that one part – you mention M83, and in fact the whole thing seems to be kind of like Shot At The Night, as far as in comparison to the normal output.

Tom: Which seems to be the pattern here: there’s a heck of a lot of good stuff, along with some questionable counterpoints that seem to kill the mood.

Tim: I don’t know, I’d say it’s just about kept afloat, and I think it works. I’ll take this.

Tom: It’s no “Shine”, but then it’s rare that anything is.

Take That – These Days

“Once it had finished, I couldn’t remember it at all.”

Tom: And then there were three.

Tom: So Decent Solo Career and Comedy Surname have left, which leaves Tax Dodger and The Other Two.

Tim: Which is a perfectly good band name in its own right – don’t know why they’re sticking with this.

Tom: And the result is surprisingly good, I reckon.

I found myself nodding along to this: it’s a surprising cross between original 90s Take That and modern production, and it sounds really rather good. There’s enough similar styles in there that it’s still absolutely recognisable as a Take That song.

Tim: It is that, and yeah, it’s decent enough – nothing amazingly special, admittedly, but it’s good enough to be an album lead track, even after some time away. Get people back in the mood for it.

Tom: The trouble is… once it had finished, I couldn’t remember it at all.

Tim: Really? Because I’ve got the “gonna live for” fairly stuck in my head.

Tom: There’s no massive singalong hook in there: just a ‘these days’ that, out of the context of the song, actually sounds a bit downbeat and melancholy. Go on, try singing it on your own, a capella. It’s like Eeyore decided to do a vocal line.

Tim: Maybe, although that then seems plain suicidal if they’re what you’re living for.

Tom: And once I noticed that, the whole song fell apart for me. I still love that intro — it’s the best bit of the song — but the rest of it just seems to have something missing. Two things missing, perhaps.

Take That – The Flood

When it kicks in… it’s worth the wait.

Tom: And now, something I never thought I’d write: the five members of Take That have a new single.

Tom: It starts slowly. Very slowly. But when it kicks in – heralded in the video by an actual starting pistol going off – it’s worth the wait.

Tim: Yes. Although I did like the slowness – it was a pleasant calm rather than a boring calm.

Tom: The trouble is, Take That have been gone so long that people only remember the hits and, perhaps, the two decent songs that they’ve had since. All the album tracks have faded into memory – so if they ever come out with a dodgy one, people are going to start proclaiming “they’re past it”. And with high-emotion, choir-filled tracks like Never Forget behind them, this is going to have to be something very special.

And by the end of it, I think it just might be. This one’s a grower.

Tim: I’m not sure about a grower – I think I got pretty much everything from it the first time I heard it, and I think you’re right about it being as good as people remember. I have two criticisms, though. The first just grates enough to be slightly annoying, and it’s that I cannot, however hard I try, ignore the fact that they are pronouncing ‘flood’ wrong. I know, regional accents, blah, but dammit I don’t care. Anybody who speaks properly knows that flood rhymes with mud, not wood. The second is something that will get better over time, and it’s the instrumental chorus that appears near the end. I can best compare it to the ‘light to light the way’ from the backing singers in Love Shine A Light (or, if I feel like shaming myself massively, and apparently I do, the ‘love me, love me’ from Love Me For A Reason) – musically it’s great, but it makes it very difficult to sing along to.

Tom: The video’s a bit strange. They go for a rowing race. They lose, but rather than accept defeat gracefully they continue into a half-CGI London and Thames Estuary, rowing out into a stormy sea where they’ll almost certainly perish. I’m now assuming that when they sing that they were “holding back the flood”, they meant it literally, and as a result of their defeat they’re now planning to summon an enormous storm that will destroy London.