Monday, November 15, 2010

Take That - Everything Changes (1993)

A year after their debut, Take That came back with their second album, Everything Changes. By the time this came out, the group were bona fide stars, having scored a #2 hit with a new version of "Why Can't I Wake Up With You," plus #1 hits "Pray" and "Re-Light My Fire," which teamed the group with '60s pop singer Lulu.

Their second album had a more mature sound, but only slightly so. It was still dominated by dance pop, perhaps more akin to Cathy Dennis than the C&C Music Factory--less bubble gum, but still bubbly. The production moves toward urban too, appropriating some New Jack Swing sounds so popular in American pop at the time (see Color Me Badd). Overall, the production was better, as was the songwriting. The group even tried their hand at some genuine drama with the ballad, "Babe," which finds a guy searching for his lost lover (how hard that must have been before cell phones and Facebook), whom he finds...along with his son (surprise!).

A major thing that set Take That apart from other pop groups of the time was Gary Barlow. Not content to just sing other people's material, like most such acts did, Barlow actually wrote almost all the early era Take That songs, even most of the first album. That's pretty impressive, given the pressure to ensure hits often led to the producers of such group to seek material from established hitmakers. New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys, for example, only occasionally participated in songwriting.

Best: Pray, Re-Light My Fire, Babe, Everything Changes, Love Ain't Here Anymore (4/5).

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