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jyuufish


"Cause I'll be lighting fires for you.."

~I'm there in the Light when you need me~


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: Take That's Progress - A Review :
Jason☆Super heavy elements
jyuufish


Disclaimer: This is a Take That CD, it may not appear to be that initially but it is. With strong muse/bowie/drug influences.. except no drugs were involved with the making of this,. (Mr. Clean-Living Jason Orange probably wouldn't allow it.) There is no 'shines', no 'beautiful world' nor 'greatest day''s, no sparkles or sunshines, no rainbows or cheerios while drinking tea. The most hilarious review I've come across to date has been 'there may be one song about love, but then again.. it may be about robots'.

"The Flood" | (☆☆☆☆☆) When I hear the Flood, I would like to say that the first impression that comes to mind is that this is epic, this is exactly what you would expect them to sing. It has all of the beautifully gorgeous vocal hooks that Gary Barlow is so well known for. If you've seen the music video, you also see them rowing into a dark sea. That dark sea is in fact this album. There's rough waters ahead you guys and we're leaving the Take That we know and love for something a bit different.

"SOS" | (☆☆☆☆) Excellent Seque into this song, a flash of thunder and lightening to end "The Flood" and then this song is the rough waters. Or perhaps we've just gone through the looking glass where everything is inverted and upside down. Mark sings "It's an SOS.. like a bullet to the head, it's an SOS" in post apocalyptic techno-grunge. Robbie sings counter on this but it works after listening to it. I had no qualms with Robbie launching in on this song, because I in retrospect I didn't notice his voice all that much, this song after all carries more of Mark's vocal signature more then anything else. Still the harmonies in the very background are patently Take That, I can hear their voices in the "Oh no no no.." and so to me it's still Take That, albeit Take That with eye liner and tight leather pants.

"Wait" | (☆☆☆☆) More Robbie. It is really hard to get into the song initially but then when you hear the Chorus, it's hard not to be pulled on or in. And Jason's voice comes out really strongly in the chorus. (Okay so I can sense Jason's voice a mile away since I think his voice, both speaking and singing is just plain gorgeous). This song is a Robbie song but it doesn't annoy me whatsoever.

"Kidz" | (☆☆☆☆☆) This song is infectuous to me. And this is my favorite Mark song by far. But it's not just because of Mark.. but because this to me is so much a solarian song for me (you know me and anything that I could attribute to Xenogears). It's also the military beat and when you hear them going 'lalalalala" toward the end of the song you can hear every single member of the band keeping beat in their own time, with Mark's all over the place, Jason's merely chiming in while Howard and Gary keep almost strict beat and time. It's those little details which make me happy. It's amazing what you can hear when you actually keep a listen to it.

"Pretty Things" | (☆☆☆) This is a duet between Gary and Robbie song, and while it's a very good song, I just would rather just hear Gary's voice, though yes.. both Robbie and Gary have strong voices which vocally could do alot of competing in a song, unlike Mark and Robbie's who voices are very compatible and meld together pretty well. So I'm not too happy about Robbie's voice being predominate throughout the song. It's very addictive though you can hear the guys harmonizing in the distant background, just Gary's vocal signature could stand to be a bit stronger.

"Happy Now" | (☆☆☆☆☆) This is my favorite song on this album. This is one of those songs about robots, or it could be about prozac, but in essence maybe it could be about both? THIS SONG HAS ALL THE DRAWS OF A TAKE THAT SONG, IT SOUNDS HAPPY. It may or may not really be that way. False sense of security. Oh I love you Take That, I love you so god damn much) Not to mention that you can hear Jason chime in. One of the best things about this CD is that I've finally noticed that Jason treats his vocals like surprise buttsecks, you never expect it, and then you hear his vocal traces or even if he sings the sentance 'amazing me' in the course of the song, it just surprises you. I heard it and I was like "IS THAT JASON?" Also, Howard.. all over the Chorus. DOWNLOAD THIS ONE NOW! (if you only download two songs off this album, this is one of them!) Also, this song.. the piano going through it brings me to mind of Yasunori Mitsuda and the Zeal theme.

"Underground Machine" | (☆) This is not a Take That song, this is a Robbie Williams song, don't let the fact that it's on "Progress" fool you. You can tell that it is a Robbie William's song when he prattles on about what a 'beast' and a 'man' he is. "You might be good looking, but you can't sleep with yourself tonight". Robbie has to tell himself how awesome he is, the other members of Take That.. they already know. As it is 3 out of 3 Take That fans (myself, shuufish and vampyran) agree that this song is indeed the WEAKEST LINK on the album.

"What Do You Want From Me" | (☆☆☆☆) This song is going to be one of the singles, that's my prediction, and it's a good song, not my favorite of Mark's song, but in the case of my star ratings it's better then average. Mark is so used to singing songs about 'fucking up'. In fact he has four to date, and honestly they are endearing songs because he sings them and you just want to hug him and go "It's okay, Markie.. I forgive you!" because he sounds so tender and vulnerable. This song. NOT ONE OF THEM. He sings this very pragmatically and matter of fact, there's no pleas or anything. It's a bit refreshing really and pretty strong in the scheme of things. I wouldn't toss this song out of bed for crackers.. but then I wouldn't toss Mark out of it either.

"Affirmation" | (☆☆☆☆☆) Howard sings this song and you might of seen this rating from me already since I love Howard, and Jason.. (I love me some dancing muppets.) This song impresses me because we get to see the wide range of Howard's vocal capabilities, all along the course of ONE SONG. They aren't quite there but they are starting to navigate their way back to Take That-land after the wierdness that is/was the middle of the album. Dare I say that this is a very normal song for Take That, yes.. it's very close to it and a very lovely song. ("we're not really falling apart.. we're just incomplete" okay as normal as a Take That song can be without drowning in mounds of unrepentant sap)

"Eight Letters/Flower Bed" | (☆☆☆☆☆)/(☆☆☆☆☆) First "Eight Letters".. This.. this! Take That has finally came back to shore. This song, this this THIS THIS is a Take That song. It's one of the most mature Gary Barlow song I've ever heard, his voice is clear, easily heard... not overly synthisized. This is a stadium song at it's finest. Yes the Flood might of been a natural selection, but honestly, if they do not play this song at the "Progress" concert, I will be very very dissapointed, this song has all of the makings of a 'hold your lighter/cellphone' up in the air. I really like this song, alot and I think that it's beautiful. Next the special hidden track, "Flower Bed". That is a Jason song, it comes right after Eight Letters so the file is extra long. First of all, the first part of it is Jason having fun with a voice modifier. But really the song is so dreamy, so whimsical, slightly surreal that it's no surprise that it's a Jason song. Jason' voice is my favorite one out of Take That because his voice is gentle, dreamy and with a slight edge to it that makes it masculine. You can also tell it's a Jason song because he did have to seize on any opportunity to sing about 'going out of his mind'. It's a love song but it's not a conventional one, and that is what makes it beautiful. An excellent end to this album. ("I was enjoying myself sleeping in your flowerbed")

---- Overall Impression ----


The first run through, I wasn't really all that fond of it, perhaps because I couldn't exactly see where they were coming from or exactly what they were going to. But then after the second playthrough, I started to notice the little intricaies that just made everything so much better for me. While there are two songs on this album that I think are average or even below average. The other songs manage to strangely enough carry it. And there are so many memoriable songs, new.. different and innovative. It's quite exciting to see what they came up with when they said they wanted to surprise their fans. I will be listening to this album for a long time and just noticing different chords, different instances where I can hear Jason's voice, or Mark's voice, Howard's or Gary's... every listen through will be a new discovery.

Do I think you should download it? Absolutely. Do I think that you should buy it if you have the means to do so. OH GODS YES! It's the Take That album for people who aren't too fond of romance lovey-dovey. It has it's moment of sap but for the most part it keeps it real. And the romance that is so inherent in such songs as 'rule the world' and 'what is love' is downplayed and the love that is sang about is more realistic and everyday. It's love that you have to work hard to maintain.

But the songs about robots, drugs and anarchy are pretty awesome too ♥

Jyuu's Top Tracks (recommended)
"Happy Now"
"Affirmation"
"Eight Letters/Flower Bed"
"Wait"
"Kidz"


*download link available on request

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pretty please, may i have the download link! (:

Wow, that's a great album review, very thorough and not just positive sqeee. I actually feel like giving it a try, if you say it's not too lovey-dovey.

It isn't too lovey dovey, I'm quite confident that you will like it!

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=C1FY4OGY

I finally got around listening to it, and it was quite good. Thank you for sharing :)

I'm glad you enjooyed it! ♥

Good job with the review :D It's totally making me want to listen to the album. I'll probably do so once I get home ^^

Oh wow...thank you very much for the in-depth and incredibly detailed review. The more I hear about this album, the more curious I become about it. I'll definitely be looking around to see if we can buy it somewhere and if we can we might be giving it a try! Thank you again, objective and really detailed reviews are amazing for anything when you can find them! ♥ :D

Well I hae the link if you want it. http://www.megaupload.com/?d=C1FY4OGY give a few songs a listen and if you think you may want to buy it, by all means do so! It's really lovely!

... I think I'm going to cave in and buy this now, especially if it's not so lovey-dovey and more down-to-earth. *shakes fist good-naturedly* Very nice review, btw.

Thank you so much for this review. I recently have heard thirty seconds snippets of each, but can't remember too much. I already pre-ordered the limited edition boxset, which will be released on December 6th, but due to your great review, I would like to listen to it NOW. Would you mind providing a downlooad link?!

Absolutely! I'm going to upload it right now!

Well-written review! It's indeed a very different-sounding album from the previous two. I keep telling myself that Robbie can't be THAT important as to have too much of an influence on the sound, but the fact is, there are a few songs that sound like they come from a Robbie Williams album.

I do miss Gary's voice in the album, and there isn't as much of Howard either, but am pleased to hear so much of Markie in the lead, and also that Jay is having a stronger presence throughout the album. Just too effing much of Robbie, IMHO.

I've had the album on repeat for the past day, and I STILL can't hum any part of Underground Machine on the top of my head. That's the only song that doesn't stick...

You know, my first impression of it was that it had Robbie all over it, then I started really listening to it, I listened to the melody and I found that yes all of the songs have the others vocals cues very strongly which made me happier. Of course you are right, initially it does sound like something off a Robbie William's album but I think that they will keep doing things that are different and I'm pretty certain that if Howard or Jay are not happy, then no one will be happy.. Gary has stressed the whole "equal voice" type thing. Not to mention Robbie's not stable. I have grown to like Robbie a little bit more.. granted everyone's forgiven him, but I certainly haven't forgotten what Robbie used to do to slander Take That at his concerts.

It's going to take several albums for me to fully accept him.

I was so thrilled that Jason was more on this album since he's by far my favorite. And Underground Machine, is insidious. I like it, but I don't like it at the same time, I don't think it fits in with the album. (Wait however did.. Wait was a gorgeous song and took advantage of Jason's voice on the chorus, Gary's melody hooks and other things.)

I just miss a proper Take That love song. I want epic and beautiful. Something a little bit happy. :(

And yeah, still seriously missing some Gary voice.

Great review! I have been listening to the album non-stop for a month now, I have been looking for this album to buy in stores but haven't found it. What do you think is the change for Take That to come to the USA. Have they ever performed in the USA before?

You know, they did perform in the US before but they decided somehow that they didn't enjoy it. Not to mention it is hard to get their extensive equipment over seas in a timely manner (if you have watched any of their concerts, you'll know what I mean.. a giant animatronic elephant would of been hard to get over the channel) I recommend buyikng one of their ocncert DVDs though and they'll be coming out with a concert DVD of Progress which will be available around Thanksgiving of next year.

It's hard being a fan when you live in the states. :(

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