BMG/ Sony Music Entertainment
So manufactured male vocal quintet Take That (Since four of the five rarely, if ever, played any instruments they were never a band of any sorts, so the term boy band would be wrong although, if I’m being honest Gary Barlow is, in fact, a musician) got to record a second album. It’s puzzling really if you know what their debut sounded like. I do because I reviewed it (It utterly and completely sounded like crap.) But it was inevitable because said debut miraculously sold enough copies to warrant a follow-up. But let’s keep things brief. It is 1993. Robbie Williams, who would later become Europe’s biggest rock star, is still with the group. They release their worldwide smash hit of a sophomore album and become the most succesful british group since the Beatles.
That last factoid is just fucked up isn’t it?
1. Everything Changes
During the first few seconds Robbie pretends he is a serious R&B singer and straight talks to
Take That’s gang rape victim his love interest in a “romantic” manner. On the Take That greatest hits album they edited this intriguing bit of prose out which is definitely for the better but it doth not a good song make. This title track was in fact a hit single but, like everything the man did while in Take That, a complete misfit to Robbie’s style. I mean it’s cute and catchy and all, but one can’t help but think he himself would never himself have elected to record this out of all the songs that are out to be sung. So yeah. I’m not sure how Robbie managed to get the first lead twice on the first song of one of these albums by a boy band of which he wasn’t the lead singer. Maybe he hit Gary K.O. in the head with a pool ball in a sock right after the studio guy pressed “record” and then hogged the mic. Maybe that was why he eventually couldn’t be in the band anymore. The instrumental? This was written and produced by Absolute, who would later on do half of the Spice Girls’ debut. This sounds like electronic faux post-disco except for that it isn’t funky in any way, shape or form. The electronic bit means as much as that the producers were actively trying to make post-disco but couldn’t be bothered to use actual instruments. Well, except for a Kenny G-ish sax that is. Gotta love those…
Overly breathy and too bland to be cheesy in a entertaining way. That’s all I got, sorry.
3. Wasting My Time
I am trying to find out whom it is the boys, or rather Absolute, who produce this one too, are trying to imitate here. It could be Barry White, I suppose, but Gary vocally being the polar opposite of the late walrus of love (Barry can make your subwoofer put cracks in your wall if the volume is cranked up a bit too high by just speaking on record.) keeps that from becoming clear entirely. The nod to Barry is appreciated. I been bumping the pillow prince for a while now and still can’t get enough of his love (no homo). As for this. Meh. The songwriting and music are neither here nor there. Perhaps an actual soul singer could’ve pulled it off but Barlow’s adolescent yelp of a voice just can’t seem to do the trick.
4. Relight My Fire (feat. Lulu)
Well, there‘s that glorious early 90’s, diet cheese-music I was looking for when originally starting to listen to Everything Changes or Take That and Party for that matter. Allegedly this is a cover of a song by some cat named Dan Hartman but I never heard the original and can’t be bothered to look it up right now. This is what Jamiroquai would be doing… if Jamiroquai was a manufactured boygroup rather than a skilled band, was singing covers of cheesy old shit rather than perform their own class A nu-disco capm and had a less soulful, less charismatic lead singer, and if this doesn’t make you tap your foot, or some shit like that, you are likely to be either a corpse or Stephen Hawking. Barlow seems to have been put on the planet to sing material like this, and the guest vocal by British, white soul kitch-diva Lulu only adds to the fun.
5. Love Ain’t Here Anymore
Well this wouldn’t be an 90’s pop album without a sugar-coated, uselessly bombastic ballad, now would it? This one here could make even the Backstreet Boys cringe with lines such as “Love ain’t here anymore, It went away to a town called yesterday”.
6. If This Is Love
Howard Donald get to do some leads. Whom did he have fellate in order for that to happen!? Nigel Martin-Smith, probanly… He is technically proficient in singing but yeah, technically so is Justin Bieber…
7. Whatever You Do To Me
A Motown rip-off? Okay, why the fuck not? Despite it’s clichéd “What Goes Around Comes Around” theme it’s pretty decent and even the use of a saxophone makes sense.
8. Meaning of Love
Now here the boys accomplish what they probably were trying to do for the entirety of their debut. Record a decent dance tune. It’s too bad they didn’t stick around for the UK Garage era because they sound perfectly at home on this melodic (relatively speaking) house beat. Well played, gentlemen.
9. Why Can’t I Wake Up With You?
I really liked the beat which consists of drums, strings and some hiphop breaks and little more. Okay, the entire song isn’t half bad. But don’t tell anyone I said that.
10. You Are The One
Whereas this dance tune is glorious in showing all that was wrong with this particular bit of the 90’s. The melodies are corny, The instrumental is overstuffed with sound effects and the drums… well there’s nothing wrong with the drums but yeah, this song fucking godawful still.
11. Crack In My Heart
Meh. No this isn’t about Robbie’s love affair with cocain… That’d be fucking epic.
12. Broken Your Heart
Any of my comments on Meaning of Love also apply here, positive comments, mind you. I could bitch on how this song is too similar to Meaning of Love but in stead I will congratulate the boys for having found a style that did in fact fit them.
Okay, this Mark Owen guy is also not a terrible singer and Babe is a not-too-awful male vocal group-ballad, even if, like most of the music in this genre, is much too dramatic for its own good. The fact that this contains every single cliché this type of songs could potentially offer would either be a criticism or the lion share of the trashy appeal this holds today. And with that Everything Changes is over.
Relight My Fire, Whatever You Do To Me, Meaning of Love, Why Can’t I Wake Up With You, Broken Your Heart, Babe
So Everything Changes is a vast improvement over Take That and Party. But then again that‘s not any sort of accomplishment. If the boys would’ve farted into their microphones over these beats it still would’ve been a vast improvement over Take That and Party. So, what then? Well, the instrumentals sound a little less cold and dead on first listen, this time around. That doesn’t mean they do very well under close scrutiny. But at least most of the songs here are inoffensive enough that you won’t be too disturbed by them when your woman forces you to go to the mall with her to carry her bags of useless, expensive shit and you are forced to endure them because the mall staff seems to believe playing adult contemporary music and yesteryear’s hits encourages big spending. Also Everything Changes is about as close to a first class, all included time machine trip to 1993 as you can get. So that counts for something, if you’re into that. I am. But the fact that this never once manages to escape its epoch also means that today it will appeal to only a very small group of people, namely 90s nostalgics. Just like todays pop music in twenty years will probably only get any love by people who are young now. If you never cared for 90’s pop, even when you were under the age of ten when this came out off course this will do nothing for you. Go back to your dubstep tracks, quickly!, before it goes out of fashion! But on to the main reason I’m reviewing these guys in the first place, Robbie motherfucking Williams. Well he gets one song on the entire album, and not a very good one at that, so fans of his solo career should pass on this.
Everything Changes is quite a lot of fun at times. But not so much fun overall that you should exchange money for it. That Crystal meth habit isn’t going to support itself, ya know? But if you were a fan of the group when it was popular and you might have a copy lying around you should dust it off and give it a spin. And if you are one of those people and you can’t seem to find it, a trip to the pirate bay may be in order.