Album: Take That, The Circus (Polydor)
Friday 28 November 2008
Though far from a household name, John Shanks is the producer whose touch defines the sound of American chart pop across the spectrum from teen fodder like Ashlee Simpson and Backstreet Boys to AOR stalwarts Santana and Sheryl Crow – the latter acclaiming his ability to "make stuff sound like it belongs on the radio".
But even a genius needs something to work with, and on this second collaboration with the reformed Take That Shanks is dealing with fluff and nonsense (and Gary Barlow and Mark Owen), reduced to applying his trademark power-ballad arrangements to some of the worst lyrics ever written. Lines like "If love is a game, I'm playing all my cards" and "Why why why do you cry cry cry?" are poor enough, but by no means as bad as when Owen tries to illustrate how hard the world can be with the example of a girl who can't decide which dress to wear. "How did it come to this?" he wonders. Barlow is more assured, claiming in his Edenic survey of war and peace "The Garden" that "We're just miracles of matter"; but he too can't spot a cliché like without stepping eagerly into it. Musically it's no better, stuffed with bland ballads alleviated only by a couple of bouts of sub-Beatles cornball populism that hanker back to Fifties notions of all-round entertainment. Though not around here.
Download this: 'The Garden', 'You'
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Malaysia issues arrest warrant for Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law after she publishes stories on leader Najib Razak's financial affairs
- 2 Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
- 3 Natalia Molchanova: World's most successful free-driver is missing and feared dead after disappearing in Mediterranean
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
The Great British Bake Off, series 6, preview: The most popular show on television is back
National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest 2015 winners in pictures
US bookshop offers Go Set A Watchman refunds over false marketing as 'nice summer novel'
Sherlock season 4: Benedict Cumberbatch will be 'a lot less brattish' in Victorian special
Bollywood stars Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar enter Forbes' highest paid actors list for first time
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke