Music Features Writer
1:01 AM 2nd December 2023
Albums: Take That – This Life
Take That – This Life
Keep Your Head Up; Windows; This Life; Brand New Sun; March of The Hopeful; Days I Hate Myself; The Champion; We Got All Day; Mind Full Of Madness; Time And Time Again; One More Word; Where We Are
Releasing their ninth album, Take That, they have returned with This Life.
Naturally, the three remaining members of the group have moved on, sounding more confident musically on this surprisingly refreshing album. With influences from 1970’s American soft rock along the lines of The Eagles and most notably Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the lead-off single Windows comes packed full of harmonies and a distinctive melody.
The decision to record some of the album in Nashville at RCA’s historic studio was a wise one. The sound is of a band spreading their wings, taking risks, though overall the feeling is one of celebration and soaking up the atmosphere of their American surroundings.
Gary Barlow’s voice, though, does not always lend itself to some of the higher notes he sings on the album title track, This Life
, where Barlow reflects on his life following his son’s graduation from university.
Now no longer the boy band that they once were, the songs here reflect that, with One More Word
seeing Howard Donald imagining giving his daughter away on her wedding day. Elsewhere, there is a nod to The Police on Days I Hate Myself
, which recalls the Sting-fronted band around their Message in a Bottle
period. With all three members now writing the songs, Mark Owen offers Brand New Sun
, though it is still Barlow who comes up on top in terms of songwriting ability.
Overall, the sound here is one of Take That maturing, contemplating, and moving forward.