tue 21/11/2017

CD: Take That - Wonderland | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Take That - Wonderland

CD: Take That - Wonderland

As middle age really kicks in, can pop's great survivors still cut it?

'That finale really drags it down the gurgler'

One tries not to conflate the man and the music too much. Getting overly tangled up in questions of authenticity is a fool's errand, songs are ultimately public property, and in general, short of Gary Glitter-level crimes, dislike of a pop star's demeanour or attitudes shouldn't stand in the way of enjoyment of a good piece of music. All that said, snide, smirking, condescending, tax-avoiding Gary Barlow makes it very, very hard to enjoy his work.

Not that there's a huge amount to enjoy here. It's a shame, because after being a good to excellent boyband, Take That upset every standard pop narrative by coming back as an equally good “man band". Schmalzy and supermarket advert-friendly their schtick may have been, but they delivered some killer songs – peaking with the still-great “Rule the World” – and even survived the temporary rejoining of jaded, gurning baboon Robbie Williams and delivered some pleasingly doolally moments thanks to both him and the oddly apocalyptically-obsessed elf-child Mark Owen.

Even if one were feeling forgiving, 'Wonderland' is really not a good record

All of that, though was predicated on big ballads and chugging midtempo tunes, laden with Beatles-via-ELO harmony choruses, all of which suited their pop elder statesmen status. This time around, reduced now to a trio, they've done the unforgivable mid-life-crisis thing and tried to get funky. Bringing in Madonna producer Stuart Price, they've filled the album with bad funk-pop and millennial woah-woahs that variously tries to emulate younger upstarts One Direction and The 1975.

Even the typically dark Little Mark Owen track “Superstar” is rendered uninteresting by this awkward attempt to get a groove on. But the real salt in the wound comes at the end, when there's finally a Barlow-written “grown-up Take That track”, in the mould of their most lovable songs. “It's All for You” has all the swelling choruses that you could want, and faux-nostalgic calls to all join together and be a friendly community just like in the old days.

And therein lies the problem. Your mileage may vary, but it's very, very difficult to hear that without a little bile rising, and the urge to yell “YOU WANT A SENSE OF COMMUNITY? PAY YOUR SODDING TAXES THEN!” Even if one were feeling forgiving, Wonderland is really not a good record, but given the reality of Gary Barlow, wow, that finale really drags it down the gurgler. Rubbish. 

@joemuggs

Even the typically dark Little Mark Owen track 'Superstar' is rendered uninteresting

rating

Editor Rating: 
1
Average: 1 (1 vote)

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Comments

Wow aren't you a little behind the times? You don't like the album fair enough no need for the personal digs though!

Jealous Much! This review shows a green eyed monster. And sound like someone that claims to edit/writes/dj's who is envious of their success! I doubt that you will influence anyone with your crap review! What's the saying....... Don't worry about what others are doing, worry about what YOU are NOT doing!

Awful review and clearly shows a disregard for giving a balanced opinion which any reviewer should do. Most importantly, this is the third album in a row where they have worked with Stuart Price so you can hardly say they are bringing him in to appeal to the One Direction crowd.

Pathetic, embarrassing review. What has paying taxes got to do with music? Clickbait...poorly written...by a man called Muggs. Say no more!

You obviously are not a long term fan. I personally think the boys still have what it takes to entertain us and bring great music and the tour will prove that. I think you may need to clean your ears out and listen to the music properly.

Honestly your insults to Gary, Robbie, and Mark are disgusting. The album has some of their best work yet. You are free to dislike it, it's your loss. However your review is just piss poor and full of jealousy. How is Gary Barlow snide, smirking or condescending? He's very polite and giving to many people, and cares a lot about his fans.

Your first paragraph said it all, particularly 'short of Gary Glitter-level crimes'..... what a vile, pathetic excuse for a man you are. That's not a review, it's a personal attack and has nothing whatsoever to do with the album.

This review is vile. There is no need for this level of insult to anyone, let alone in the public arena. And can we please get over the 'tax' issue, its getting old. 'Giants' is great.

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