Back in the high days of Take That’s success, I too was a fan. Altogether, I was into the light hearted bubbly pop music while growing up, and didn’t really understood the pull to ‘serious’ sounding groups like U2, until much later. That’s not to say, that I didn’t like any of U2’s songs though.
Yes, when I was a fan. I wish, I could tell you, I turned out to be a die-hard fan who stuck by them throughout the years, but no. When they split originally, I quit. And I don’t know if I could say that “I just don’t do reunions”, but I do have trouble getting back into what groups do when they do a comeback.
When NKOTB did their first comeback tour, I went to see them. It was the weirdest thing. They were doing the exact same things they used to do, and of course there’s something familiar in seeing the same dance routines and show elements, but I was just a bit disillusioned by it too. They were all grown up, but doing the same thing they had done in their teens. It’s like they hadn’t progressed at all.
Progressing is something Take That have done over the years. Losing band members along the way, hasn’t slowed them at all, but just got them to reinvent themselves all over again. Next year, in 2016, they will be in their 10th year of their comeback. Not many bands can say that, even about their first time around.
In their comeback they’ve changed their sound. It’s still pop, but the light hearted bubbly feel has been replaced by, well, life experience. Their lyrics, at times, go deeper. The music has influences of pop rock and even alternative in it. And I think, they’ve managed to get more creative freedom there than ever.
And then there’s “Hey Boy”, the new single. And whataya know?! There’s a little bit of that young bubble gum thing coming back.
When the song begins, I get flashbacks to Nik Kershaw. That walking bass line is such a sign of the 80s. My flashback ends as soon as the vocals begin. It’s because I also saw a performance of this song that I know Mark Owen has the lead, but otherwise I would’ve not linked this song to Take That until they actually start singing.
The chorus and second verse really takes full advantage of the 80s influences. Synthesizers and vocal effects are not spared throughout the song, but cleverly mixed not to take the foreground. This actually makes the song fun to listen to a few times in a row, because the more times you listen, the more you hear. I'm glad they didn't release a ballad for Christmas this year.