Jan 13

TAKE THAT – “Everything Changes”

Popular44 comments • 2,704 views

#704, 9th April 1994

The fifth (of six!) single from Everything Changes, and yes, it shows. Breezy, disco-inspired, but this is the fussy, low-fat studio hack’s version of disco which dotted pop albums through the 90s and beyond. A sax solo fills in time and helps to cement the impression that this is a sketch of a song, bulked out as required by passing sessionmen.

What can be said about it? The B-Side was a medley of Beatles songs – as with the Lulu team-up, this feels a bit of a “we belong” move, though the band is asserting a continuity of boyband frenzy and light entertainment domination rather than any kind of songwriting chops. More importantly for Take That’s immediate future, this is the first number one with lead vocals from Robbie Williams. Cheeky in front of the cameras, chafing (by his later account) behind them, Robbie does nothing at all here: with hindsight you might take his perfunctory devotion as a sign of boredom, but it’s just as likely he simply wasn’t ready to own a performance yet. “I love you”, he mutters at the end: the words have rarely sounded less convincing.



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  1. 26
    punctum on 4 Jan 2013 #

    From fairly early on it was evident that Robbie Williams had a long-term agenda of his own; in the group’s many appearances on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast he was always the one whom your eye caught first, and most naturally, eternally romping around the garden or playing echt-bemused in his woolly hat. He never quite fit in with the notion of cosy communality inherent in boybands; but then it was the guy with the woolly hat in the Monkees who went on to invent MTV (Monkees TV? Some things are spelt out all along).

    “Everything Changes,” the title track from Take That’s second album, was their first number one to feature a lead vocal by Robbie. It’s a perfectly serviceable uptempo pledge of loyalty and faith to their Others as the group depart for yet another tour, but although it was intended to signify a new element of sophistication in Take That’s music, it harks back to the days of SAW with its bright electro-Philly feel – though only half a decade away, SAW’s music was already beginning to settle into its time, a phenomenon accentuated by the imminent reappearance in 1994 of Kylie, with a single deliberately designed to sound and feel as far away from SAW as possible.

    The song trots along in a way which reveals what a Waterman-produced Osmonds might have sounded like, and it’s not too bad at all with its nostalgic – if synthesised – flutes and glockenspiels and Robbie’s sturdy, confident vocal in which he discovers a couple of dozen ingenious ways of phrasing “I love you” without ever quite convincing the listener that he means it, and the fealty oath is eventually and shamefacedly punctured by the couplet: “The rumour’s true, you know that there’ve been others/What can I do? I tell you baby, they don’t mean a thing!” The long-term questions were: should we believe Robbie, and if so, what is our belief in him worth, and to whom? Still, with its cheery chorus of “We’re a thousand miles apart, but you know I love you,” I can let it pass. We always do with Robbie.

  2. 27
    anto on 4 Jan 2013 #

    I find myself increasingly impatient to the notion that we somehow cannot do without Gary Barlow. Maybe it has something to do with his ubiquity – here we are 4 days into 2013. Mr.Barlow appeared on tv New Years Day, yesterday I became bizarrely involved in a plan to print his face on some t-shirts, tonight an aquaintance of mine is going to watch him – I would describe that as ubiquitous.
    Anyway I’m not convinced as some of his fans seem to be that he’s a great songwriter. He’s an accomplished one at best and the appeal of Take That is one which I continue to find highly resistable. As for songs such as Everything Changes – yoghurt for the ears.

  3. 28
    punctum on 4 Jan 2013 #

    Given the dismal facial expressions on most of his “Friends” on that selfsame ITV broadcast, I would have thought that “Gary No Mates OBE” would have been an apter title for the programme.

  4. 29
    Chelovek na lune on 4 Jan 2013 #

    I’m inclined to wait until his solo career starts (briefly) troubling Popular before really getting stuck digging into Barlow’s utter mediocrity. Repugnant mediocrity, in fact.

    His first album (notable as far as I could tell for its utterly soullness production and presumably session musicianship rather than anything else, “Open Road” not being an utterly terrible song, notwithstanding) seemed to rapidly become aural wallpaper in pretty much every charity shop I set foot in within a few years of its release (always being available for purchase at what might appear to be a very reasonable price: the digital-era equivalent of the old Woolies bargain bin of 7″ singles)

    But, hey, TT were still better than NKOTB, even when they were as dire and remarkably unremarkable as they were here…

  5. 30
    Tommy Mack on 5 Jan 2013 #

    I always think of Take That as a group I like but every song that’s come up so far, apart from the cover of Relight My Fire, I’ve thought ‘yeah, but I don’t like this one’. Now I think about it, apart from one possibly bunnyable example (and no, it’s not the one you’re thinking of) and grudgingly one of the post-reuinion efforts, I can’t think of any of their own songs I do like. I never thought I was susceptible to winning personalities and regional pride, but I guess I woz rong…

  6. 31
    Tommy Mack on 5 Jan 2013 #

    In other words are there some TT disco bangers that missed the top spot that I’ve forgotten? It all seems to be soppy love songs so far. In my mind, they were always more fun and more lively than this.

  7. 32
    James BC on 8 Jan 2013 #

    The best other Take That disco-type songs are It Only Takes A Minute and Could It Be Magic, which both made top 10 but not number 1 because the group’s popularity was still building at that time.

    It seems Take That were a lot more disco on the way up than they were when at the top. Now in the group’s “second coming”, when they are bigger than ever, they’re also further than ever away from the pop-disco sound that made them popular in the first place.

  8. 33
    Steve Mannion on 8 Jan 2013 #

    That said, the last album WAS produced by Stuart Price. Sadly by then he himself had seemingly moved away from or lost the disco midas touch he possessed between ‘Darkdancer’ and ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ (not that I think the reformed TT would really have suited the approach he took with Madonna there…unless perhaps he could’ve done for them what he did with Seal on ‘Amazing’ but that probably requires a stronger solo voice than anyone in TT has.

  9. 34
    tm on 8 Jan 2013 #

    I was looking forward to talking about Could It Be Magic (Barry Manilow cover IRC?) and was really surprised it didn’t get to number 1. It seems a smart move for a breakthrough single, I always remember the piano on it, pegging TT as more of a D:ream-style pop-dance crew than a bunch of soppy moppets. It was only later when I saw them doing Babe or Pray or maybe even IOTAM on telly that I dismissed them as girls’ music.

    I’ve very little time for most of the post-reunion stuff. Apart from one quite fun and massively over-exposed number and a couple of very pretty moments in a couple of the ballads, it all seems too Coldplayish; battering the audience into submission with production heft and crafted instant-anthemicness. Actually, a lot of it sounds more like the number Chris Martin wrote for Embrace; a sort of generic post-Verve indie-ish anthem preset. Not my bag at all and I’m guessing, not a lot of people on here’s bag either.

  10. 35
    Mark G on 8 Jan 2013 #

    I remember “Could it be magic” was done by Barry Manilow and Donna Summer around about the same time period (Donna did accentuate the word “come” in particular), but I don’t know which was first.

  11. 36
    Lazarus on 9 Jan 2013 #

    I wasn’t sure either, so I looked it up – it appeared on Manilow’s 1973 debut album and was released as a single in the US two years later. Donna’s version came the following year, and Manilow’s UK record company finally issued it as a single here at the end of 1978. The single edit – played by Ken Bruce yesterday, incidentally – is a good deal shorter than the album version which runs to nearly seven minutes – that’s the one that appears on ‘Manilow Magic.’

  12. 37
    wichita lineman on 9 Jan 2013 #

    Barry Manilow originally recorded Could It Be Magic under the group name Featherbed, a single on Bell produced by Popular alumnus Tony Orlando. Here are Barry’s memories of its first incarnation:

    “Tony had produced (a single called Amy) a few months before on which I had been a “ghost” voice of a fictitious group called “Featherbed.” Bell Records wanted another “Featherbed” record and (Could It Be Magic) seemed like a good follow-up.

    I remember sitting at the piano in my small apartment, playing the song for Tony.

    “Now the way I hear it, Tony,” I said, “it should be very romantic and build slowly. to a climax that makes you feel as if the performer is totally carried away with passion.” He said he understood perfectly and went away to begin producing the track.

    When I showed up at the recording studio and heard the bubble gum sounding track (complete with cowbells and a girl trio!) I was thrown for a loop. He had treated Could It Be Magic in a young-sounding up-tempo way that in no way resembled the style I had hoped for.”

  13. 38
    weej on 12 Jan 2013 #

    Agreed with the score here, but for different reasons. This is surely the least annoying entry in their dismal catalogue – still not great, just a bit of throwaway 90s pop I’d, perhaps, not turn off the radio for.

  14. 39
    Patrick Mexico on 29 Mar 2013 #

    The sleeve just screams “A gestalt creature of us five would make Bobby Briggs from Twin Peaks”

  15. 40
    stebags on 8 Apr 2013 #

    My nethers were alight watching them sing this live on TOTP in sailors outfits.

  16. 41
    glue_factory on 9 Apr 2013 #

    Re:37 – there’s also a Sylvester version, on his live album Living Proof. I’d assumed it would be the basis of the Take That version, but it’s actually quite stately and almost melancholic.

  17. 42
    Patrick Mexico on 9 Apr 2013 #

    Re: 34. Damn right. Sometimes I wonder how Chris Martin sleeps at night, thinking as a student he dreamt of Radiohead-esque iconoclasm but is now filed alongside S**** and J****** B****** (bunny block activated!) on the “nightmare rock festival lineup” memes.

  18. 43
    Erithian on 27 May 2013 #

    Catching up a bit here! I really don’t have a problem with this – a grower, and one you can perfectly understand as a hit. More particularly in the That narrative, after those vids of them being unattainable sex objects, here they’re cheery, cheesy lads joining in and having fun with people of all ages, about to be adopted as the country’s new national treasures, even if Barlow still looks smug as hell.

  19. 44
    Musicality on 14 Dec 2014 #

    This had character and personality from Robbie on lead and is a good pop track with jazzy parts to it.

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