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After narrowly avoiding fading back to obscurity after the sucsess of their first album. Take That, and Gary especially were determinted to continue their success and work even harder for their fans and for themselves. The music became more up to date, the dance routines were harder, the image was slicker and the lyrics were wiser. They worked themselves to oblivion on this album and they earned their first four number ones and two top five hits. All the tracks on the album were written by Gary Barlow apart from Dan Hartman's Relight My Fire and If This Is Love which was co-written by Howard Donald.
The overall sound of this album is dance orientated pop, with some soulful adult contempary. There are some influences of jazz and club music that natrually come in with the use of keyboards, synthesizers and small orchestras. I would say that this album would be my favourite Take That album from the 1990's because I think the album is so easy to listen to. It hasn't aged as badly as their debut album.
First of all, I'd like to say that the musical arrangements on this album are sublime. In my opinion, it feels a bit timeless although the energy shows that's an obvious 90's album. The energy and happy emotions that come from the music are priceless. It flows perfectly with the vocals and the atmosphere fits with the themes of the songs. I would consider this to be a pop gem of love songs. You could say it's a bit of a concept album because all of the songs on this album tell a tale of romance in one way or another. I think I like it as much as I like Progress, but not as much as I love The Circus and Beautiful World.
Everything Changes is lead by Robbie. I think it's a really adorable track and Robbie sounds really young on this track. I think he did the song justice on this song. It's an oldie but a goldie. I don't think this song is a phenominal as the next track, which is their first number one hit, Pray. Pray is a very solid track. Great vocals, lyrics and music. I love it's theme of redemption. It's one of my favourite songs from Take That because it has some nice emotional lyrics that can be easilly related to.
Wasting My Time has a very oriental feel to it. There's a lot of energy coming from this track which feels very summery and cute. Gary sounds cute on this track. I don't think it's anything special, but it does sound simular to one of their first songs, I've Found Heaven. I think the track is too busy because it's got too many instruments that clash with each other.
Relight My Fire is one of their most sucsessful tracks from this album. It's quite intense and has a strong club feel to it. It also features vocals from Lulu. A lot of people thought that she was a bad choice and they should have chosen someone like Aretha Franklin, but I think Lulu did a good job on this song. I think Lulu's presense helped Take That appeal to some of their older audiences because they might have grown up with Lulu. It's a great party track, and I think Lulu made it better. I haven't listened to the original version, I can't really compare.
I've never really understood why Love Ain't Here Anymore was chosen to be released as a single. It's a nice summer ballad, but I think the chorus is a bit patchy. The harmonies are really nice, but I don't think it's as good as some of the other tracks on here. I think it lacks a special personality, although it does stand the test of time. I always used to think that this was a cover because it's cheesy.
If This Is Love is the song lead by Howard. His voice is a bit dry and not as polished, but I think he does a good attempt on here. I think his vocals have improved from this one. Howard isn't very loud on the track so for some of the fans it will sound quite sensual. I'm quite surprised at how high Howard sings on this song.
Whatever You Do to Me is a jazz fuelled track with a very smooth rhythm. It's a karma promoting track with the message of what goes around comes around. The track is quite fun and upbeat, but I think the song goes a bit too slow. There's a more superior live version availible on youtube where they speed the song up a lot more, which makes it sound a lot more better. The next track, Meaning Of Love carries on the album's consistency, but I think I'll have to listen to it again to remember how it sounds like because I find it really forgettable.
Previously from their first album Why Can't I Wake Up With You was remixed and revamped for Everything Changes. I think this version is a lot more catchy than the original. The original was a light ballad whilst this version is has more of an exotic funk to it. This track is more teen pop with a majestic touch. The maturity that Gary tries to portray comes across better on this one than the original version.
You Are The One reminds me of a lot of modern gothic metal bands because of the upbeat orchestral sounds. Of course this song is neither gothic nor metal. It's a nice upbeat track with some strong disco vibes. I like it for what it is, a decent song from the 90's. I'd happilly dance to it.
Another Crack In My Heart is a piano driven classic that also has potential to be a good single. The light guitars featured on the track would make it very radio friendly. For a song about a broken heart, it has a very happy vibe to it. It's been desribed as fans as a song to listen to when one has a broken heart. I think that this would have sounded really interesting with a latin remix. It's a good song, but the production of the song does make it feel a bit flat.
Broken You Heart has failed to age. I like the use of keyboards and strings on here because it reminds me of a lot of the chart music in Japan. It's a very energetic song and I like those etheral echoes because it reminds me of the Sailor Moon opening song. It's a very upbeat song that also feels magical at the same time. The keyboard solo is wonderful and the vocals are great as usual. I think this would have been a much stronger single than Love Ain't Here Anymore.
Babe is the best song on the album. Although I think it's really cheap to end an album on a ballad, there are the occasions when I don't mind because the ballad is enjoyable. This is one of those occasions. Babe is my favourite Take That song. It stood the test of time and it's got a gorgous acoustic atmosphere. Mark sounds really sublime in it and I think most people would agree with me when I say that this is the best song on the album.
It's only £2.99 on amazon at the moment and it includes many bonus tracks that I haven't mentioned in my review, which includes the spannish version of Love Ain't Here Anymore. I've only reviewed the UK Cassette/CD edition of the album that was originally released in 1993.
It is nice to take a stroll down memory lane with these guys. Gary, Howard, Mark, Robbie and Jason are all household names and it was around the time of this release that they were making their impact on the music scene. There are thirteen songs on here to enjoy.
'Everything Changes' is the lead song and is one of my least favourites. The chorus is energetic, yet the verses come in too limp for my liking and lack the dynamic punch they really needed. The chorus ignites the song with a certain flair of excitement when they all muck in, but I feel it is an unworthy opener for the album. Far better is the sterling 'pray' in which Barlow takes control and delivers a most rousing vocal. He sounds mature, sensual and mellow all in the same breath. The raw emotion on the song is accentuated on a powerful chorus in which Barlow sounds so convincing, you could be well be moved to tears. A truly remarkable piece of music.
'Relight My Fire' might have gone down well in discos, but I find it a nuisance having been exposed to it too much over the years. Lulu's arrival is a high point supposedly, but one cannot help feeling her role would have been better carried off by Aretha or Jocelyn Brown. Nonetheless, the song is fun at least.
'Love Ain't Here Anymore' is a trifle plodding but Barlow's vocals are gripping and he commands you to listen and once again captures tenderness at each turn. Some of the unreleased stuff is worth a peek, I recommend 'Meaning Of Love' which conjures up strong emotive images when I hear it. Not as instant as the aforementioned, but rewarding in the long term.
As the album closes on the Owen solo song 'Babe,' you wonder if he should have been given more songs to sing on his own, as Barlow carries ninety percent of the songs here. I don't think Owen's voice is as good myself, but the song is sweet and festive and his girly vocals work well with the innocent lyrics. All in all, a decent pop album.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Everything Changes
3 Wasting My Time
4 Relight My Fire
5 Love Ain't Here Anymore
6 If This Is Love
7 Whatever You Do To Me
8 Meaning Of Love
9 Why Can't I Wake Up With You
10 You Are The One
11 Another Crack In My Heart
12 Broken Your Heart