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Progress - Take That

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Artist: Take That / Audio CD released 2010-11-15 at Polydor

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      22.03.2013 22:07
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      Impressively mature and experimental album from a reformed Take That

      Take That's journey is quite a remarkable one. They were such a revelation in the 90s, and despite being a manufactured band their own musicality soon shone through, each of them with their own individuality that shone through more the further the band developed. When Robbie Williams left they disbanded not all that long after, and they pursued individual careers. Communication though is key, and as we're by now aware, a decade or so later all bar Robbie reformed with a bang, leaving other 90s boy and girl groups wishing they'd been the first. As ever though, Take That led the way, and they do so with their progression in this aptly named album as well.

      For me, it started with the front cover, showing the five members of the band in an image that reminds you of the evolutionary line from ape to man, each one of the band striking a pose. It does actually make you wonder if the music here is going to be somewhat different to what we're used to from them.

      Largely, it is, and although my lack of recognition of the tracks was initially a worry that I just wouldn't get into it, I found myself impressed with the composition skills that have Gary Barlow's stamp all over them, as well as the now recognisable vocals from most of the band. While previous attempts have usually focused a lot of Barlow's voice, curiously this album features rather little of it. His keyboard skills are put to use on every track, but vocally it's Mark Owen and Robbie Williams who take the plaudits for the singing for the most part here.

      The album starts off with the commercial track that has no doubt caused the majority of sales for the albu, The Flood. I really enjoyed this one when it came out as a single, being played pretty much everywhere. It was not long after Williams' return to the fold to reform the five of them that this came out, and fans of Take That will no doubt have experienced a shiver down their spine from the opening 'Standing....' right through the lowered key change as Barlow and Williams co-lead on the track. There are certain feel good elements on here that have become quite signature with Barlow's writing, and there are no surprises, just entertainment.

      This is where the expectations finish though. Much as Williams' first solo album Life Thru A Lens was, this features a lot of passionate and quirky sounds, from the harmonious falsettos of Happy Now to the loud and low aggression of SOS, which Mark Owen takes the lead on. Owen's music has seen highs and lows. I thought his first couple of solo efforts after they originally split were okay, but not enough to go and buy the album. However, put him with the others in Take That and he really shines. You only have to look at Shine (not on this album) to see how much more relaxed and capable he is with the others around him. Here, What Do You Want From Me? is a prime example, with the singer's thoughts and feelings strong as is his voice. I thought this track invoked passion from the lyrics and the gentle way he sings it, while his voice on SOS with Robbie has an aggressive tone that matches the co-singer.

      Owen has made no bones about the hurt he felt when Robbie left the band originally; indeed, Shine was written by Owen about the man he considered his best friend and role model. The ego-mad Williams dips into most tracks here, and in many ways it's as if he never left. The voice integrates very well with the rest of them, and in particular the way his and Howard Donald's voices link on Wait makes you smile somewhat. Donald and fellow backing vocalist Jason Orange were always considered the two less likely to provide lead vocals on tracks, but this never seemed to bother them as much. I'm sure Barlow still rues the day he let Donald sign the lead on Never Forget, the group's iconic track that has fans with their hands in the air and is always a great one to end a gig on. In Progress, we see a solid solo effort from Donald in Affirmation, and it's curious how I find myself listening to the tracks not just for the music, but to see who's singing each track.

      I suppose it's hard to have a decade of your teenage years dominated by a band who took the world by storm only to see them split up just as you turn your attention to something different and more current and contemporary; only to then see them come back again with a maturity that makes you listen a lot more to the lyrics than their lust and love fueled churn pop did in the 90s. The same sort of things are there, talking about life's journeys and loves lost, but there are also a lot of forward thinking lyrics. It's no longer just about living in the moment. These teenage hearthrobs are now family men, and proud of it. Owen sings about wanting to continue a future with the love of his life; he and Barlow sing about being in trouble when the kidz (not a typo) come out, which I gathered was about parenthood; while the reflection of time running out and wisdom not being forthcoming enough in What Do You Want From Me? is a panic button being pushed, completely the opposite to the buildup of quirkiness in Pretty Things which crescendos and is possibly the most enjoyable all round tune on the album.

      Progress is perfectly named, in all ways. It not only highlights the way their musicality has developed over the years and how they're more mature and wise; but also how they have progressed as a group of friends. Perhaps the key thing is the finish, which is Jason Orange's chance to shine, for once. Certainly the one to have been left out of the solo opportunities throughout the group's history, this is often put down to the fact that his voice is not as reliable as the others' vocal talents. Here though, there is a secret track at the end of the album that Jason leads on, and it's one of the most thought-provoking there. Thumbs up for him on this one, even if the breakdancing, philosophising and harmonies are his forte within the group.

      The album doesn't supply you with the lyrics for this one as it's secret, although the stark yellow paper accompaniment that helps make this album instantly recognisable on your shelf (unless it's next to Dizzee Rascal's Boy In The Cover) gives the lyrics to all the tracks. I like this - who really wants to know the name of the man who played third guitar on the sixth track and whether it was created in 2010 despite the album coming out in 2011? Not me - I want to know what they're singing, and this album gives you just that. On the left of each double page you have the lyrics for the two tracks, and on the right a head and shoulders digital image of one of the boys from the band. Simple yet effective and you don't have to spend the whole album making up words because you can't quite make it out.

      All five of them take credit for writing the album, and so they should. There's a maturity here that impresses me, and although the album is now two years old, you can tell that because Robbie dips in and out of the band but the other four carry on, there's a certain acceptance about it. They're friends who like making music together and who are actually very good at it. Their personalities balance in real life and in their music, and you get a true feeling of intent and feeling when listening to this album. It's experimental in a way, almost as if they're feeling their way into this decade with it, a second wind in their professional careers taking shape after comfortably and successfully coming back onto the screen and reintegrating their estranged fifth member, if only for a one off. This particular one is a single disc, 11 track (including the secret track) CD. There is a further purchase, a double album called Progression, which adds something extra, but this single disc is enough to be going on with. Well worth the purchase, you no longer need to be a screaming teen to buy a Take That album. In fact, it's almost cool.

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        05.07.2012 20:35

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        A new twist on classic Take That

        I have been a massive Take That fan since they were famous the first time around! I was thrilled when they made their comeback and have really enjoyed them as a 4 piece band. I used to think a lot of Robbie Williams (even travelling to Dublin to see him on a solo tour). However, after seeing how he treated Gary on a TV programme, I really went off him. So I was more than a little disappointed when I found out that he would be 'rejoining' Take That for this album and tour.

        Of course, it didn't stop me pre-ordering the album! Unlike their other albums, this one took a while to grow on me as it's quite different from their other music. There is the token ballad on there - The Flood - which is a fantastic song. The other songs tend to be a bit more electro-pop and Robbie does ALOT of the lead vocals, which irritates me. It's a shame that Jason doesn't get to do a solo song (except for a hidden track at the end).

        My favourite tracks are Pretty Things and Eight Letters.

        All in all, it's a great album and you can pick it up for a few quid now. I would recommend it to both Take That fans and non-fans as it's something a bit different.

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        07.06.2012 18:59

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        Welcome back Robbie!

        I enjoy listening to this album as it is their first album featuring Robbie Williams since they got back together.

        The album has a more mature sound with a touch of electro pop thrown into it.

        Lead single The Flood is an eye opener. This is a gorgeous ballad with impressive vocals from none other than Robbie Williams. Gary Barlow is a brilliant song writer and it's his song writing ability that really makes this album stand out from the rest. It's still a pop album, but with an edge. The Flood has a great melody to it and it's a lovely ballad that sounds mature NOT cheesy. In fact none of the songs sound cheesy, which is different to their younger days!

        S.O.S is another favourite track of mine. It has a great beat to it and it's very addictive. The song is quite feel good and upbeat and I love the boy's vocals on this. I think I can detect a SLIGHT hint of autotune in this song but I may be wrong. It might just be down to the futuristic feel of the song itself.

        The album is very grown up for a "boyband" album, although Take That are no longer a boyband as such. The whole feel of the album is mainly pop which focuses on life, relationships and friendship. I would recommend the album. It is well written, well produced and highly addictive. There are no fillers on the album and it comes with an extra track at the end too, which was a nice surprise when I first played it!

        A great electro pop album from Take That.

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        17.03.2012 17:29
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        Great album

        Take That have always seemed to be ahead of the game. Nearly all boy bands fade into mear memories after their height of their careers, never to be touched again. I think with most boy bands, they're more of single selling acts, and people either don't bother or can't remember the album tracks much. Take That are completly different. They had a shaky start with some of the first singles, but they still managed to become an established album selling act. Then Robbie left the band, but the quartet still managed to be successful. Robbie went on to become an international superstar whilst the quartert disbanded which caused an emotional distress to fans. Gary and Mark went on to become solo artists, but they weren't as successful as Robbie. Which surprised many people who thought it was Gary who had the biggest potential as a solo artist.

        In the mid-naughties, Take That reunited as a quartert and invited Robbie who declined the inivitation, but they had always left a space for him. Their next two studio albums, a live album and their tours were also sucessful which could have rivaled Robbie's solo success. If you look closely on the album covers of The Circus and Beautiful World, you'll notice a huge space. No idea weather it was intentional or not, but as far as I'm concerned they have always left that space open for Robbie should be ever wish to return.

        Take That were about to enjoy their 20th annerversary in the music buisness as well as 15 years since Nobody Else, which many believed would be the last album with Robbie. It was announced that Robbie would re-join them and they would celebrate with a new album. The singles recieved so much airplay, they decided to release the album early to increase sales. This is quite a happy record when you think about it. Although many have noted how the lyrics, music, and composistion is quite dark compared to The Circus, Beautiful World and of course their older albums. I don't think Progress is that dark at all. It's just a lot more heavier and rockier than their previous albums. Most of their post reunion albums have been light, but also had that epic vibe.

        The overall sound of the album falls nicely inbeteen rock and electropop. I think it's one of the band's most ambitious and experimental albums. All the members get a chance of being lead vocals, although it's Robbie that comes across as the lead singer of the band, although Gary Barlow is still considered their "captain." The album contains ten tracks including a hidden track lead by Jason Orange. The band continued the style when they released an EP called Progressed that featured eight new songs alongside the Progress album. As far as I know it's one of Take That's best selling albums, and probally one of their best, although I prefere The Circus and Beautiful World. My opinion would have remained the same weather Robbie had stayed or not. I don't think once, Take That left people's mind. Robbie's solo success would have made new and international fans curious of Robbie's previous work. On top of that Howard is a DJ who has dabbled in electronic and club music.

        Take That felt whole again. Their enthusiasm shows. Listening to The Circus and Progress the sound change is quite obvious and seems out of place in Take That's discography, but if you bring in the solo albums from Robbie, and perhaps Gary and Mark's solo albums too then the change becomes a bit more logical in a sense. Robbie's Rudebox wasn't as successful as planned, but at least we know Progress won't get turned into roads in china.

        The Flood is the odd one out on this album because there is nothing about this album that would scream electropop or rock to you. It's quite typical of Take That since their reunion to have that grand vibe. The Flood has a simular formula to The Greatest Day, This Garden and Patience with the orcestral arrangements and cinematic motivational songs. Robbie and Gary lead the song like brothers. You can still hear Mark, Howard and Jason in the chorus. I love The Flood and I think it's magical and heroric. I shared it to my friend who likes metal, he loved it too.

        Mark Owen is on some kind of sugar rush. When it's Mark's turn to sing he's very loud and hyper. SOS and What Do You Want From Me can prove it. There's a good reason for this; he's uber excited that Robbie's back in Take That. Latley I've started to find a new appreciation to Wait. Wait is a lovely synthpop album that balances the autotune and vocal talents off in a way that they don't drown in autotune.

        Happy Now has a really awesome chorus. The verses probally have too much editing on the vocals, but I can appreciate how freestyle it is. Pretty Things is also another song that is dominated by Robbie's vocals that could make others think that it's more of a Robbie Williams album than a Take That record. Kidz is one of my favourite tracks of the album because of it's strong beat and strong imagery. My only problem with Kidz is that sometimes I can't tell weather it's Robbie or Gary singing the chorus because of the vocal editing.

        Affirmination is lead by keyboards and vocally by Howard Donald. It sprouted from Howard who wanted to make an angry song that ended up sounding simular to the Foo Fighters. I'm curious to hear the Demo version of the song because Howard seems to prefere the heavyness of the demo.

        Undergound Machine is pure electronic rock with dominance from Robbie. The lyrics are a bit odd and it reminds me of The Killers and Kings Of Leon. Robbie tells as all we're in a room with a rockstar! I'm not sure if Rockstar is appropiate, but popstar could be. I think this song has the best basslines out of all the tracks on this album. Eight Letters and the hidden track Flower Beds are really lush tracks. The compositions and lyrics are strong and they really stand out. A great way to end a brilliant album in my opinion.

        This album makes me look forward to Robbie's next solo album, the band's next album and the future duet between Gary and Robbie. Maybe one day I can actually see these brothers perform live. The album makes me happy and energized.

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          28.09.2011 10:30
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          A great new album from the Take That boys!

          I am a massive Take That fan and at first I wasn't sure about this album; it is definitely different to anything they have done before. I took a while to grow on me, as the songs are not like their usual but I can say now that it is really good- I really like it. The CD costs around £4 from Amazon at present, which is good value. It was first released in November last year from Polydor music.

          The CD includes the tracks The Flood, SOS, Wait, Kidz, Pretty Things, Happy Now, Underground Machine, What do you want from me?, Affirmation and Eight Letters. These songs range from ballads such as Eight Letters to more uplifting and fast pace including SOS and Happy Now. A lot of these tracks have been released as singles including the amazing The Flood as their comeback single. Happy Now was also the Comic Relief single, and Kidz has also been released. My favourite track is Eight Letters as it has a lovely tune.

          My only thing I am not so keen on in the album is that Robbie Williams sings the lead on a lot of the tracks, whereas on their other albums they tend to share it. However, I am not saying this is a bad thing I just personally prefer Gary being the lead. This is my personal opinion, and maybe I just need to get more used to Robbie being part of the band again!

          Even though the tracks are different to what Take That have done before, I like the way they are fresh and different; the songs are catchy and I really like the album.

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          19.06.2011 14:08
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          Oh, you've got to love a bit of Take That! I have a confession to make here today which is that I'm a secret fan! I have this cd and love it!

          The CD cover is quite artistic as it reflects the album title very well in my opinion. It is bright yellow so this isn't an easy album to hide. It sticks out amongst all my other cds which are all mostly dark colours. The band members are all shown on the cover, as shown in the picture above. I think I have managed to work out who is who now but at first you can have some fun deciding lol.

          The tracks on the album are:

          1. The Flood
          2. SOS
          3. Wait
          4. Kidz
          5. Pretty Things
          6. Happy Now
          7. Underground Machine
          8. What do You Want From Me?
          9. Affirmation
          10. Eight Letters

          The main genres that thsi album comes under are pop, pop rock and electropop. This is a fab album and one all Take That fans are sure to love. I'm not even that big a fan of the band normally but I think this is an absolutely fantastic album. My favourite song is Kidz. Mark Owen does most of the singing in this song and I like his unique, sort of cheeky sounding voice. His voice is distinctive. Gary Barlow also shows off his amazing vocal skills in this album. He can hit all the notes perfectly.

          And of course Robbie is back in this album, I personally am not really that big a fan of his and am not bothered about whether Robbie Williams sings in this or not, but for those of you who are fans of his you will be pleased to know he sings a lot in this album too. He kicks off the album at the beginning of 'the flood' when he sings the opening verse. The Flood is a great tune, I'm sure you will remember it from being all over the charts at the beginning of the year.

          Overall this is a great album with a great mix of songs, all the band members sing lead vocals on at least one song, except for Jason Orange who is more like a backing singer in this album. He's the best looking of the band in my opinion so maybe he is just there to look good? I would like to hear what his voice sounds like as I have never heard him sing before. Overall though a great album and one I would recommend.

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            06.02.2011 14:34
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            This is the first album that I have bought of take thats'as I have never really listened to there music before, but after there performance at the royal variety performance, and the second song they did 's.o.s' I decided that it was time to investigate what the fuss was about.

            As always I first listened to this album on spotify before buying it, and I have to say I was hooked. That's not saying that I am going to go out and there back catalogue of albums, but it was avery good album!

            I bought this album because I loved the song s.o.s but after listening to it just once on sotify I decided that I loved kids as well!

            The first track on this album is the well known track the flood, this one, I have to admit when I first heard it on the radio, I tought it was alright but nothing special. Now, itis one of my favurites, like with all songs you have to be careful not to overplay it, otherwise you WILL get bored of it (talking from experience).

            I couldn't say that there was any songs that I didn't like any, but my least favourite was probable affirmation, no particular reason, just not my kind of song, I guess!

            With this album, I liked how some of the songs just blended together.If it wasn't for the slight skip in the song as it was changing from one track to the other, you wouldn't have noticed that the song had changed at all, you might have thought,like me, that it was just an add on to the previous song.

            Overall, this a very good buy. I would recommend this to any die hard take that fan, or to anyone who is a relatie newcomer! Enjoy!

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              19.01.2011 15:23
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              Great album as a 5 piece again, I'm liking the new vibe

              After 15 odd years apart Take That reunited in July 2010. For lifelong fans like myself it was a day mixed with happiness to see Robbie back in the band, but also tinged with a little worry...would they really be as good as a 5 piece again? I mean their success and music back in the nineties was where it was at, anyone who was anyone was a Take That fan. I remember the days spent at school with my friends chatting about who was our favourite from the band and who liked them the most!
              Anyway I digress, after reuniting I thought it was only right that I purchased their new album aptly named Progress, to find out for myself if they were back to their best. Being their 6th studio album and the first to feature Robbie since 1995, I had faith that the guys could produce some more magic with this one.

              The artwork for the cover of the album features the 5 band members, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams, positioned to represent evolution, how man evolved. The album is kind of representing a new Take That - almost a new era for the band.

              The album features 10 new tracks, lead vocals being dominated throughout by Gary, Robbie and Mark. The boys have ditched their cheesy approach and have emerged with a more electro-pop album, showing they have broken away from their earlier boy band image.

              The 1st single to be released from the album was The Flood. This is an upbeat tempo, catchy pop track, heavily featuring Robbie and Gary, with the other 3 lads providing flawless backing vocals in great tune with one another. It's an easy listening track and is most definitely one of my favourites on the album.
              Other songs on the album include Wait, Pretty Things, Happy Now and Underground Machine.

              Kidz is widely expected to be the next single to be released from the album with Gary and Mark featuring on lead vocals. The song is another upbeat track with a definite elctro-pop edge to it. I think Mark Owen provides a kind of eery sense to the lyrics through his singing style on this song. Clear similarities are seen with Mark's style on this track and SOS. SOS for me is quite a "shouty" song, where the lyrics are emphasized loudly throughout to create an edgy atmosphere; they are making their point.

              Other tracks on the album are Affirmation, Eight Letters and one of my favourites What Do You Want From Me?, with Mark Owen on lead vocals on the latter. It has a slower tempo than some of the other tracks and starts with a slightly longer musical introduction. The words in the track seem quite personal and you can feel his emotions through the song.

              After having listened to the whole album a couple of times now, it's definitely grown on me. It's completely different to their previous work, so don't buy it if you are expecting the nineties boy band style mixed with Robbie's solo ballads. It's a kind of crazy collaboration of electro/techno-pop tracks that just kind of work well together on this album. I like their new work and can see where they are trying to put the band in the charts today. I await the next album with baited breath.

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                12.01.2011 18:31
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                A superb comeback for Robbie Williams and take that as a whole

                One of their best albums to date.
                Take That - Progress, The first comeback album with former take that member Robbie Williams.

                The album is a superb rendition of take thats classic ballards mized with an indie/ beatles style genre. The beats and lyrics are superb with the majority of songs being slightly taken over by Robbie himself, however this is fair enough considering this is his comeback.
                The style has a lot of offbeat and ecentric challenges, with styles that cannot be immediately identified and as ever take that has produced a style of music which is suitable for people of all ages to enjoy and of course not only dance to but listen to on an everyday basis whether it be within your car, with freinds or simply washing up.

                There are incredible systematic links to the lyrics and music identities of david bowie within this album and yet it holds unique capability to suit both take that fans of old and new. It is an amazing comeback album with robbie, and long may it continue. The band are as strong as ever bot in personal relationships and this is very evident within their music.

                The album consists of 11 tracks and is 47 minutes long.

                It can be purchased from any main music store as well as supermarkets and online stores such as amazon, play and ebay.

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                  24.12.2010 14:41
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                  Take That finally back together and on form

                  I'm actually hugely impressed by Gary Barlow for a number of reasons, most of which are highlighted on this hugely successful 6th (???) studio album. It cant have been easy to have not only welcomed Robbie Williams back into his personal life, but also give him a huge amount of vocal time on this album, which Williams features heavily on. I, personally, loathe Robbie Williams. I dont get that he's a great showman, I dont think his music was among the greatest and quirkiest of the 90s pop-set. I think he's an ego bigger than his talent, with success way beyond the deserved. Yet, this could be Take That's most solid progressive album to date. Hence, the title is hugely appropriate.

                  This is also down to Barlow's unique writing talent. Who'd have thought the slightly chubby awkward vocalist from a boyband covered naked in jelly would turn out to be one of the best pop songwriters of this new century. Whilst comeback album "Beautiful World" may have seemed like a huge step forward for the foursome, this album highlights what an awkward and polite record it actually was. A sort of "we're back together, but we've not quite found our pace yet" apology. Last album "Greatest Day" was a huge step forward, and revealed the kind of quirky upbeat pop that Robbie Williams only dreamed of making.

                  Surprisingly, Williams takes vocal prominence here, and it actually proves to be one of his best deliveries. He shares, to varying degree's, with the sparer parts of the group. Howard Donald turns up on one song, and Jason Orange gets some airtime, although their roles in Take That once again prove to be purely honorary. It's Mark Owen who reveals himself to be the staple of the band, bringing Williams, Orange and Donald together with Barlow's lyrical statements against governments and throne holders as well as lending a quirkier side to the quite straight delivery of Williams and Barlow. Owen's is clearly the only one who got anything from his solo time, even if it wasn't a roaring success. Barlow sings on only five songs, and actually only takes the lead on one, which is a shame, because he has proven to also be an excellent vocalist, with a nice edge to his voice.

                  Whilst this album marks the full time return of Williams, it is also notable for the inclusion of executive producer Stuart Price. Price has already put together albums for Madonna, Scissor Sisters, Keane and only this year was part responsible for the production of Kylie Minogue's Aphrodite album. He is becoming quite a force in pop music, with his main duty being to ensure the quality of the record and to put it together in such a way that is cohesive and appealing to the listener. This, he does very well. If the album's huge success is down to the TT brand, the great lyrics, its also down to the excellent production values on display.

                  The songs have quite a theme running through them, relying largely on modern dance, synth sounds whilst updating a lot of the 80's electro sounds that seem to be so prominent on many a dance record of late. The other surprising thing about the album is that lead single "The Flood" could possibly be the drabbest song on display, although it is powerful enough to have scored the boys another huge hit. Lyrically, the album comes to life as early as track 2 with "SOS" really reminding me of Depeche Mode when they were young and good. That's actually the thing about the album, it does conjure up images of many of the great electro pop bands of the 80s from the exuberance of Human League through to the sobriety of Pet Shop Boys.

                  The highlight of the album has to be "Kidz", which manages to make a political stance against greddy governments whilst still managing to be a bloody good pop record. In stark contrast, yet musically in the same vein, Pretty Things is really a statement about the fear of growing older and losing those all important looks. Most of the tracks are stripped down in a similar fashion, with only a couple of duds. As mentioned before, lead single "The Flood" is misleading in terms of sound and style, and is also the weakest song of the set. If you failed to buy the album on the merit of that song (and Robbie Williams painfully shouty X Factor performance), then dont let it mislead you.

                  The track list is:
                  The Flood
                  SOS
                  Wait
                  Kidz
                  Pretty Things
                  Happy Now
                  Underground Machine
                  What Do You Want From Me
                  Affirmation
                  Eight Letters

                  There is also a hidden track called Flowerbed, which appears at the end of the album. Let your CD play out to reveal whether it is on your album.

                  This is the album that Take That have been gearing up to make since they got back together five years ago. It's almost a pity that Robbie Williams has jumped on their bandwagon as he will probably now retain some of the credit for how astoundingly good it is. In fairness to him, and it pains me to see it, his contribution as a vocalist is welcome, and I can feel his presence more here in the company of his four companions than I could on any of his last 4 solo records. Welcome back to Take That, now becoming a force in pop music, and welcome back to Robbie Williams. Lets hope Mr Barlow can keep the ego landed.

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                    17.11.2010 21:54
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                    An excellent change of direction from an established band! Highly recommend

                    I have been eagerly awaiting the new Take That Album, Progress and finally on 15th November 2010 the day had arrived.. With the return of Robbie Williams to complete the line up I must admit I had high hopes for this album and was a little nervous that it would disappoint.

                    The CD arrived and I set about loading the songs on my phone, put in my earphones and blasted it as loud as I could. My little ears were in for quite an awakening first thing in the morning when I was greeted not with the standard Ballads of Take That's fame and instead were met with glorious storming electro Rock (I must also admit I didn't realise I would like this style but was to be amazed and surprised).

                    The album has been produced by Stuart Price (also responsible for Madonna's 'Confessions on a Dancefloor') and is a marked departure from Take That's previous albums, which is indicated by the title 'Progress'.

                    As an established band with a large fan base it would be easy to sit back producing the same music album after album but Take That as a five piece decided to throw aside their usual style and head into unknown waters. This was a real risk for the boys but in my opinion a risk that has paid off. I think this really is Progress for the 5 from Manchester and releasing to critical aclaim it is likely to provide them a few more followers.


                    == The Album (A Ballad Free Zone) ==

                    The album can currently be purchased in CD format for as little as £7.99 or if you don't mind not owning a physical product it can be downloaded from Amazon Downloads for £3.99.

                    There are 10 tracks on the CD plus a bonus track which can be found at the end of the last song. As I understand it Gary had already prepared some of the music for the newly reformed 5 pieces writing experience and was instrumental in the change of style for 'Progress'.

                    The album itself flows very well starting with, the closest to their usual style, 'The Flood' which was also their lead single. With Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow on lead vocals this is an epic song, big and commanding, that slowly edges the listener into the new style (a hint of the new direction whilst merging with the usual format). I really don't think this is the best song on the album but I can see why they would want to edge their core fan base into the new album. The lyrics are strong though and I would give this a 8/10

                    Next comes 'SOS' which I believe is one of the best on the album (it would be a travesty if this one doesn't get released as a single!). It is an electro tune with a heavy beat that wouldn't feel out of place in a club setting. Mark gets the lead vocals on this with Robbie in support and the two voices work very well together. I love the lyrics and you can really feel Robbie's writing influence, I just can't picture Gary penning "We'll get a five minute warning for divine intervention, with the satellites falling prepare for ascension". I find that I can't stop myself from dancing along to this which is a little embarrassing when I'm listening on the bus and I have been playing it to death. A spark of genius from the band and wonderfully produced (if you hear no more on the album I strongly recommend you get this one) 10/10

                    'Wait' is another Robbie Williams lead tune. It begins slow and soft with strings and a piano (fooling me temporarily into the belief that SOS was going to be the only standout and experimental track on the album) before dramatically kicking into a strong electro beat. Although Robbie gets the verses the chorus is sung by the full band nicely blended together. This is also a very strong song but due to the calibre of this album is not one of the best offerings. I find the harmonies on the chorus beautiful and again a very well produced song 9/10

                    From here on in I was heavily immersed into the new Electro Rock style and enjoying every moment of it.

                    The next track 'Kidz' is another where Mark is given the Lead with Robbie in support. A marching beat and once again heavy on the electro the lyrics are fabulous. I also can't sit still to this and I am desperately trying to learn the words so that I can sing along (although the words do come with the CD or Itunes download its hard to keep up). The stomping beat is really rousing and it is a very strong track. It is also one of my favourites, a stroke of genius and a brillant departure from the Take That I am used to! Would be another great contender as a single 10/10

                    By now I couldn't keep the grin from my face or my feet still, it appears even at the grand old age of 33 given a great tune with a strong beat you still can't stop me dancing round the house!

                    'Pretty Things' has a joint lead with Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams and sports an upbeat tempo. The lyrics on this feel heavily influenced by Robbie again. I did not enjoy this one much on first listen however I have found it is a bit of a grower after a few listens but it is a song that wouldn't sound out of place on one of Robbies solo albums. 8/10

                    The next song in the lineup is 'Happy Now' with Gary Barlow & Robbie Williams taking joint lead again. Another up tempo song this one had a bit of a disco feel to me on the chorus but it is still clearly in line with the rest of the album. Another brilliantly written tune and this time (for the chorus at least) easy to sing along with. The chorus is very melodic and is a little more pop like than the rest on the CD. I love this song, it is beautiful and I can't rate it any less than 10/10

                    'Underground Machine' sung by Robbie and lyrically again feels heavily influenced by him this song seemed quite odd to me on first listening. Again it is Electro Rock and has a real marching beat before kicking into quite a dance feel that wouldn't be out of place in a nightclub. After waking up singing "when the boy meets girl, and the girl meets boy, and the boy thinks the girls all right" I realised this one had really nestled itself inside my head and now I love it. This would make a great dance track and is very quirky 10/10

                    'What Do You Want From Me' sung by Mark is for me the weakest song on the album (although I think would be the strongest song had it appeared on the circus). Still keeping inline with the rest of the album but it just seems to miss the mark for me. It is a little slower and this one wouldn't feel out of place on a Mark Owen solo album. I can't get excited over the lyrics on this but the song itself is still above average 7/10

                    At this point I was a little worried that the album was going to take a turn for the worst as I had been so spoiled by fantastic tunes in the first half.

                    Thankfully 'Affirmation' which sees Howard on the lead for a change, was straight back up to the quality of the start of the Album. The song begins with a really strong beat and piano melody and once again the lyrics are impressive. This one is quite quirky and another tune that i found difficult to stop myself from moving to. Howard's voice works perfectly for this and it is very well produced. 10/10

                    'Eight Letter' gives Gary his only solo lead and (as seen in the ITV documentary) the lyrics were written by Robbie. This is a little slower than the other tracks but could still not be described as a typical Take That ballad. It is however a beautiful song that suits Gary perfectly and still fits within the Electro style of the rest of the album. The words throughout are well written 10/10

                    'Flowerbed' is the bonus track and is sung by Jason. Starting slow this song is quite synthesized but again the lyrics are beautiful and as bonus tracks go it is very beautiful. Although Jason doesn't sing often for the band his voice is quite soothing and provides an added element to the album. 9/10

                    This is a compitent album from the 5 guys from Manchester which is a giant departure from the last two albums. Almost all of the tracks would stand up well if released as singles and you can feel the effort they have put in to create the album. The lyrics are strong throughout and the album as a whole I find uplifting and do not miss the standard ballads usually produced.

                    == In Conclusion ==

                    Any fears I had that Robbie rejoining the band might be a bad idea have been blown out of the water by this fantastic album. His lyrical influence is evident throughout with the underlying musical direction of Gary Barlow, although he does get more lead vocals than Gary on this album Mark also features more heavily than usual. They seem to be enjoying making music together again and I have very much enjoyed listening myself.

                    Having read great review after great review in the press I have to agree with them that this album was a risk for Take That but it has really paid off. The addition of Robbie's Lyrics to Gary music writing makes for an exciting and entertaining album that doesn't disapoint. A brave new stle for Take That but a very enjoyable listen. I much prefer this album to the previous 2 they have released since their comeback.

                    Who would have thought that Take That could successfully pull off Electro Rock but the album is a refreshing change, is lyrically brilliant in places and has me dancing round the house. Several tracks sound quite experimental but they all work brilliantly and the only criticism I would have is that there are not enough tracks.

                    The album is very well produced with consistent, high quality tracks that flow perfectly.

                    In my opinion this album is a vast improvement on the previous, The Circus, and sees the boys reinvent themselves successfully. Progress has a fresh new feel and it is likely to win them some new fans but possibly at the cost of some of its older fanbase.

                    The album has also achieved the most first day sales of the decade so it appears I am in good company in my love for it and is set to be one of the biggest selling albums of all time in the UK.

                    Definitely the best Album I have bought in years with not a filler in sight, I cannot recommend this enough. However if you are expecting ballads in the style of Greatest Day or Patience then you will be disappointed as there isn't a ballad in sight. I think Take That are in danger of being a little bit cool with this one.

                    A brilliant change of direction Album from a good band that has kept a smile on my face for 3 days this Album has to receive 5/5

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                      17.11.2010 13:21
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                      A must buy album this year whether your a Take That fan or not

                      I don't usually buy Take That albums, but I must confess, the hype of Robbie Williams re-joining the band was enough to make me download this album on its release date. I have however heard all of the previous Take That albums as my sister is a big fan and plays them constantly.

                      Firstly I was extremely pleased to find it for £3.99 on Amazon for the album download. I believe this was a limited time offer, but you can also purchase it for £7 from itunes. If you prefer an actual CD you can buy this from Amazon for £7.99.

                      For this price you will get the following tracks:

                      The Flood
                      SOS
                      Wait
                      Kidz
                      Pretty Things
                      Happy Now
                      Underground Machine
                      What do you want from me?
                      Affirmation
                      Eight Letters
                      Flowerbed

                      Everyone knows the story of Robbie Williams walking away from the band at the age of 21 and then having international success as a solo artist, whilst Take That split and disappeared from the lime light for 10 years. Years of insults came from Robbie towards Take That, aimed at Gary Barlow in particular, until rumours began in 2009 that Robbie would re-join the band. Now the band have put their troubles behind them and for the first time in fourteen years are performing as a five piece again.

                      So what is it like? Well a lot of people who have eagerly awaited the return of Robbie Williams, may be surprised by the sound of this album. Completely different to their previous albums both old and new, this takes on a much heavier, dance, techno pop feel. Out are the ballads we have grown to love and in are the fast lyrics and strong beats. Usually on a take that album, you expect to hear plenty of Gary Barlow. Well not this time. Gary's vocals can hardly be found on this album and are instead replaced by a lot of Mark Owen and Robbie Williams.

                      But is it any good? Well as I mentioned above, I am not the biggest Take That fan in the world, but this album is my cup of tea entirely. However I do wonder if perhaps some of the avid Take That fans are going to miss their usual laid back pop style and ballads. Don't expect the likes of "Patience" or "A million love songs" to appear on this album, because they couldn't be more different. Also those in the camp that did not want Robbie Williams to return will definitely not be pleased by how many lead vocals he has been given.

                      If you listen to the lyrics in this album, it is obvious a lot of heart and soul has gone into each song. The experience's of this group in previous years has given them plenty to write about and that is apparent in some of the numbers.

                      The stand out songs on this album are The Flood, which is also their first single released from this album, SOS and Kidz. Perhaps it should be noted that both SOS & Kidz are lead vocals of Mark & Robbie together. A combination that appears to work very well. The one to skip is Pretty Things which sounds like its come straight from Robbie William's solo album despite the fact that Gary shares lead vocals with him in the track.

                      This album has sold 250,000 copies on the first day alone and is set to be their most successful album ever and with its quirky and entirely new sound, it's a well deserved success. With Robbie's unpredictable nature the future is unclear for this group as a five piece, but what is not in question is that this is one of the best albums to enter the charts this year.

                      I highly recommend this album and would suggest that if you have previously not enjoyed Take That songs, do not rule this album out as it is completely different from their previous albums.

                      In Summary - A completely new sound for Take That, but perhaps their best album to date. I rate this 9 out of 10.

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                        17.11.2010 09:58
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                        The new Take That CD

                        Take That are back with their sixth studio album - this time as a five piece rather than a fourpiece! The album was released on November 15th 2010 and so is very recent, and I also think it is fantastic value at a selling price of just over £7 on Amazon.

                        ~* Tracklist *~
                        1)The Flood 2)SOS 3)Wait 4) Kidz 5)Pretty Things 6)Happy Now 7)Underground Machine 8)What Do You Want From Me 9)Affirmation 10)Eight Letters

                        I am slightly disappointed with this album. I know bands and artists need to change their sounds regularly in order to maintain fresh, however, nothing on this album suggests that it is Take That! I want the Take-That I loved back...and I want it back for good!

                        I was expecting some great ballads like 'Patience' and 'Rule The World' and so in that sense I am very disappointed. The album is very different to their two previous albums as a four-piece-band, and I am sad to say that I do not like this album, half as much as I liked the other two. There are a couple of songs I like on here, although the majority of the songs are not to my taste at all, and if I am honest, musically I am very 'open' to any genre and like all kinds of music, but this album is just bad! I think my favourite song on here is 'Eight Letters', which is the nearest song to a ballad ; one of my favourite musical genres.

                        I never paid much attention to Take That when they were around the first time, as I was too young. It is only now since their comeback that I have realised how good they are (or were, if this album is anything to go by!). I liked the band when it was just the four of them, but I don't think that things are the same with Robbie (even though it is the original line up with him) - it seems odd to me Robbie in the band as I have only known him as a solo star.

                        It seems that Robbie has taken over a little bit. This album has a very 'Robbie' sound and it sounds just like one of his album. I like Robbie as a solo star, but I really don't like him in Take That! Gary is the star of Take That in my eyes; he is the backbone of the band, the one with the voice and the talent, and it seems as though it appears as though he did not have much input into the album at all, which is a shame as if he had, it would have been a much better album than this.

                        I am not too fussed on the singing on this album. One song I really dislike on the album is one called 'What Do You Want From Me' - with Mark as the lead vocalist. Why they give him the lead in songs, I will never know as he has such an upleasant voice which is uncomfortable to listen to. I wouldn't mind so much if he had just a line or twon in the song, but not the whole song - sorry Mark!! How come Howard and Jason never get to sing..ooh having said that Howard does get a song (Affirmation) - I didn't know what he sounded like until now!

                        I wasn't that fussed on this album compared to their previous two albums, although I would still recommend this album as obviously everyone has different musical tastes, and so some may like it, others may not. I would definately recommend it to Take That fans though!

                        Thanks for reading!
                        November 18th 2010
                        xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)

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                          16.11.2010 16:41
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                          A brilliant 'reunion' album.

                          Take That's 'reunion' album 'Progress' is a massive statement on their boyband past, their status as one of the most in-demand groups of all time and what the reunion of the original five piece with solo artist Robbie Williams means to them. The album might surprise or even shock long term fans as it showcases a totally different kind of sound and production. Most notible is the fact that Robbie's vocals are all over this album whilst Gary seems to take a back seat. The other obvious change is the different pace and lyrical differences of the music. People might think the raunchy throbbing vibes and daring lyrics are the Robbie William's influence but according to the band it was 'captain' Gary who thought it was time the reunited band went in a new direction with producer Stuart Price.

                          The first track on the album is 'The Flood'. It was the first single release from the album and hit number two. It's an brilliant anthem and musically it has an epic sound. Lyrically I feel it's a little too wordy and it's a little confusing when the lyrics of the chorus changes after the first chorus. I love the meaning of the lyrics though in terms of what it means for Take That but you have to think in metaphorical terms to understand this song. As Robbie and Gary take turns singing on the verses it becomes clear that this is the original line-up sound that fans have craved for years.

                          'SOS' is a fast paced disco style song sung by Mark Owen and Robbie. It's a perfect number for these guys as they sound rather like angry rock stars as they belt out the words. The lyrics of the song are intelligent, daring and are informed by important social issues. The chorus is an absolute head-banger and once you've heard the words they are seared into your brain.

                          'Wait' initially seems more typical of the 'old' Take That style as it is softened by violins and piano at the intro but this then cuts into a strange cool river of synth beats. Robbie seems almost to rap at the verse and it's a bit of a relief to hear the other voices at the chorus. Once again the lyrics are quite complicated and wordy - like there is too much to say and not enough space to say it. The "free your soul" hookline is chilling and memorable but ultimately the song does not excite me as much as other songs on the album.

                          'Kidz' is my absolute favourite track on the album. It begins with a strange hybrid mix of soldiers marching and young children singing. Mark Owen sings again and this is another song that really suits his tone. This is a song whose meaning and sound are very current and it also feels politically charged. It's a song that inspires lots of visual imagery thanks to the hip sound effects and poetry. Robbie's voice at the chorus sounds electrified with energy. The song is like a soft punk post-apocolyptic anthem. Brilliant song and sure to be a massive hit.

                          'Pretty Things' has a sexy, raw, 'real' feel to it. Robbie and Gary duet with Gary's deep, gravelly tones quite chilling and rockstarish. Lyrically it's quite sexual and has an adult theme. It's musically a very pretty and delicate track. It's a track that has massive credibility and is way outside of the realms of corny pop love songs.

                          'Happy Now' pumps out an electro-pop vibe which overwhelms the senses. The high-pitched chorus is reminiscent of the Bee-Gee's or very early Take That. The track varies between darkness and light but ultimately comes across as an upbeat dance anthem. Great to hear the harmonies on this one.

                          'Underground Machine' seems tailor made for Robbie Williams. His voice sounds awesome on this track and he seems totally invested in the lyrics. This track has a dark, sexy rock element to it and is almost eerie in parts (the voice over at the bridge in particular). It's another great song but with it's bold "Oh what a beast, oh what a man" lyrics and bolschy vocal performance it's one song I'd expect to find on a Robbie William's solo album.

                          'What Do You Want from Me?' has a moody, new romantic feel to it. Mark Owen on vocals again and he expresses the desperation involved in the lyrics so well. It's another track with an adult theme and this feels like a statement of maturity.

                          'Affirmation' sees Howard take the lead vocal. It's a tub-thumping track that seems like it might be at home in an all night club. It's fast paced, almost a little too fast for Howard to pronounce each word at the chorus! It's a catchy song though.

                          'Eight Letters' is a statement song whose lyrics were inspired by the feelings of the group back in the day. The words, however, seem to talk of a love affair once gone sour and rekindled so can still have a wider, more generalised meaning. It's a beautiful song with Gary on lead vocals. The bridge section where Gary sings of meeting on 'no man's land' is stunning. Another favourite of mine.

                          'Flowerbed' begins like a strange alien's song as Jason's voice is distorted. It's possibly the weakest track on the album as it's melody is not very memorable but it has a gentle power that lulls and soothes.

                          Overall it's a fantastic album although it's a big departure from the Take That of previous albums. Songs of previous eras nestled together on my ipod sound strangely tame after listening to 'Progress'. I feel that this album represents the style of music Take That are currently enjoying listening to and no one can deny that it sounds current and pretty darn cool. The album has already broken sales records and is sure to be a huge hit. Have a listen!

                          The album is available to download or on CD in two versions: the normal release or the Deluxe version which includes DVD footage.

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                            15.11.2010 22:31
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                            A good album that will shock Take That Fans but listen to it enough and it will grow on you.

                            So here it is just 15 years or so after the last album was released and with tickets to go and see them in June 2011 I just had to get the album and look forward to what I have been waiting for since that day Robbie left Take That.

                            Released today 15th November a week ahead of schedule this long anticipated album was available on download for £3.99 via Amazon for the digital download so I set about downloading it and getting used to the alternative Take That sound everyone is used to.

                            As Robbie Williams has been singing solo for so long Progress introduces some of his past sounds to Take That and this creates a whole new sound for Take That, different to anything they have produced before.

                            The Flood is the first song on the album and reached number 2 in the UK charts and I have to say I really do like this song and it has really grown on me. With Robbie singing the majority of the verses along with Gary it reminds you of how Take That used to be.

                            SOS is more Robbie Williams' style where the vocals are shared between Robbie and Mark an aggresive song that they try to rock out, Mark has noticeable been the more rockier one in the band mainly when he has sung Shine and Up all night on the previous two Take That albums and he has been let loose when performing with these techno beats.

                            Wait has a Pet Shop sound to it which has previously worked well for Williams when he was solo and released She's Madonna, this song shouldn't work but it does.

                            Kidz is one of my favourite songs with a military feel to the song and Robbie and Mark again share vocals on this track it takes a bit of getting used to but I could see it being a big hit!

                            Pretty Things is a more mellow track but still with that retro sound which is so very different to what we are used to, Gary and Robbie get together to sing this track and I have to say I have to forward past it I just do not like it.

                            Happy Now is Gary but not as we know him with a retro synthesizer featuring heavily in the background, its ok but not great and I can't see this song being released as a single.

                            Underground Machine another military sounding song which I do like, again it is more Williams than Take That as he tries to hit a more rocky sound but as the song kicks in the 80's electro beat is back! A possible single its quite cool.

                            What do you want from me? is another Mark Owen led vocal and I am still unsure about this song it is clear he is making his mark on this album but it does sound like something from back when the band had split up as its hard to hear the rest of the guys in the background apart from the odd verse and then again Robbie is clearly heard in the background.

                            Affirmation is another upbeat tune where Howard takes the lead vocals and with Never Forget being one of my all time Take That songs, Howard does this song justice and I love the sound of his voice and how this song stands out on the album.

                            Eight letters is Gary's song and what we are used to hearing on a Take That album mellow with piano/keyboard mainly in the background and a slow rhythmic beat I personally find this song a little too mellow and boring until it gets to the chorus.

                            Flowerbed a song where the lead vocals are sung by Jason Orange starts off a little strange but is probably one of the more mellow tunes on the album but the vocals are echoey and still that little bit retro.

                            I knew this would be different to Take That's previous albums in that it would incorporate some of Robbie's style and that it has taking bits from his electro pop album Rudebox with synth style pop and some strange lyrics that only Williams could have come up with.

                            Each of the bandmembers gets their own lead vocals on songs showing that Progress has been made where as all those years ago it would have been Barlow leading the vocals on the majority of songs. The collaboration between Owen and Williams works just as well as Williams and Barlow. Listening to this album however it is definately welcoming Robbie back to the band as its easy to spot his distinct sound on every track more or less but what will they produce next and it will be interesting to see if Robbie takes a back seat on the next album as the majority of Take That have done on this album.

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                          • Product Details

                            Disc #1 Tracklisting
                            1 The Flood
                            2 SOS
                            3 Wait
                            4 Kidz
                            5 Pretty Things
                            6 Happy Now
                            7 Underground Machine
                            8 What Do You Want From Me?
                            9 Affirmation
                            10 Eight Letters