Mar 13

TAKE THAT – “Sure”

Popular72 comments • 3,596 views

#711, 15th October 1994

Take-That-Sure-36711 A third album in as many years – for all that they were an honest phenomenon now, for all the still-spiralling popularity, Take That kept their workrate brutally high. Invisiblity is death in pop, and in the pre-net era visibility meant product. Commercially, said product would be as close to a cert as one could want, so even amidst the Stakhanovite grinning and flexing there might be room for experiment. Namely, a seven-minute video to show off the boys’ comedic talents (which proved feeble) and a chance for Gary to do an R&B number.

Alas! R&B and Barlow were uneasy bedfellows. For a few seconds “Sure” keeps its footing, sounds excitingly on-trend even – a confident whomp of a beat with producers Brothers In Rhythm doing a decent Teddy Riley impression. But then comes Gary, whose voice is all wrong for this – too bluff and needy, hectoring where it should plead, plodding where it should cajole. The backing vocalists (“Sure! So Sure!”) carry all the hook – Gary roams aimlessly in between, a street dancer in wellington boots, issuing his list of tedious requirements to a returning honey. “It’s gotta be social, compatible, sexual, irresistible” – is there a less sexual word than “social”, a more resistible one than “compatible”?

Perhaps they felt the need to act grown up – something their next singles would try more convincingly. By this time Take That no longer had the field to themselves – their rivalry, or rather brand differentiation, with East 17 added a necessary twist to the story. But maybe it irked that East 17 were the bad boys, the streetwise boys, the dirty ones. (Their “Deep” is preposterous, but still sexier than this.) Maybe Take That wanted to show they could still play that game, too. But they couldn’t. They made duller singles, but not worse ones.



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  1. 51
    anto on 26 Mar 2013 #

    re33: It was around this time (1993/94) that Tony Parsons appeared to be trying to outdo his former wife in terms of being a contrarian pain-in-the-bum. Certainly he was a constant presence on C4s Without Walls programme explaining why he thought the working classes ought to pull their socks up/women ought to get back to the kitchen etc, and of course why pop music was all downhill after The Beatles/Winifred Atwell/Bobby Crush or whoever.
    It was a blessed relief when he started writing novels and was seen on tv a bit less.

  2. 52
    tm on 26 Mar 2013 #

    #44 – ‘For “Millenials” Bon Jovi = classic rock’ – just asked a boy if he’d stand in with a school band doing Wonderwall and Boulevard of Broken Dreams. He replied “I’m not really into old music”. Made me feel like a proper dino it did.

  3. 53
    Cumbrian on 26 Mar 2013 #

    Is classic rock a distinct genre or is it just rock music that was popular x years prior to now (with x being a floating value but likely to be greater than 20)? If the latter, Bon Jovi are surely classic rock – it’s been something like 27 years since Livin’ On A Prayer was released.

  4. 54
    weej on 26 Mar 2013 #

    #53 – I have a feeling it was the former at some point, though it was inevitable that it would become the latter. I just meant that this “classic” label gives it an air of respectability / quality it doesn’t deserve – you might extend this to all “classic rock” though I probably wouldn’t go that far.

    I remember Tony Parsons interviewing Roy Chubby Brown around this time and trying to get him to say it was an ironic persona he adopted on stage – Royston was having none of it of course, but Tony kept trying to persuade himself that it was an act. You’d think he’d have checked before inviting him on.

  5. 55
    Tom on 26 Mar 2013 #

    #52 speaking of “the kids” I have started asking my 6 year old his opinion on new entries, beginning with the next one.

    I also showed him Slade, saying “this was No.1 forty years ago when Daddy was born”. He was, I’m afraid, not very impressed.

  6. 56
    Sarah on 26 Mar 2013 #

    Was it the six-year-old who contributed to the Adams-a-thon? His input was invaluable.

    I wasn’t into the That or E17, though I’m the age to have been. I remember two seconds of this song perfectly (the “sure, so sure” bit) and exactly nothing else. That’s some hook-to-song ratio.

  7. 57
    lonepilgrim on 26 Mar 2013 #

    various mentions of the Spoiler Bunny in this thread: I have found his picture

  8. 58
    Mark G on 27 Mar 2013 #

    So, it’s not “Sexually resistable”, right?

  9. 59
    Dan Quigley on 27 Mar 2013 #

    The backing track sounds like a mash-up of En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Go’ and ‘Lies’ – no bad thing in my books. But those vocals (both Gary’s and they boys’) are almost parodically lacking in suppleness, not helped by their over-prominence in the mix.

    Going by TT’s number ones so far there’s a sloppiness about Barlow’s songwriting that goes beyond the lyrics – I adore unexpected chord changes, but what’s going on behind the ‘I need positive reactions’ in the pre-chorus sounds random and inconsequential rather than sophisticated or daring.

    Prior to a still-bunnyable hit, Take That’s presence in Australia was far eclipsed by that of East 17, whose ‘It’s Alright’ was a number one and almost as unanimously loved among my fellow year-sixers as Dennis Leary’s ‘Asshole’.

  10. 60
    wichita lineman on 27 Mar 2013 #

    Is 58 referring to 57??

    Re 59: E17 huge in Australia? I never knew that. Was it just It’s Alright or a string of hits?

  11. 61
    Steve Williams on 27 Mar 2013 #

    Wimpy though this record sounds now – and it’s undoubtedly the That’s least memorable number one – it was accompanied by a brief hoo-haa about the band getting a bit too sexy. It’s already been mentioned about the sleeve showcasing a slightly more grown-up look but the antics on their accompanying tour were considered a bit rude for their teenage audience. I’ve got a Radio Times from 1994 when there’s a feature on them to coincide with an O Zone special and it quotes a parent as saying he doesn’t mind a bit of cheekiness but “when it comes to S&M and devil worship it’s going a bit too far”. I dunno where they got the idea about devil worship from.

  12. 62
    glue_factory on 27 Mar 2013 #

    Re: 61, didn’t one of their live shows or videos feature them dressed up in chaps and plastic devil horns? Ahh yes – here – http://markowendaily.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/normal_3367164.jpg

    Obviously that kind of behaviour is synonymous with the actual worshipping of Satan.

  13. 63
    James BC on 27 Mar 2013 #

    As I remember it a lot of the hoo-ha revolved around Howard’s exposed buttocks.

  14. 64
    Tom on 27 Mar 2013 #

    #64 I blame Bono, as with most things.

  15. 65
    thefatgit on 27 Mar 2013 #

    ‘”When it comes to S&M and devil worship it’s going a bit too far”‘

    I was picturing an AU, with T’That on the cover of Metal Hammer in full satanic regalia. Underneath, a quote from Alice Cooper: “It was only after I saw their show, I realised it was time for me to call it a day and concentrate on my golf swing”.

  16. 66
    Dan Quigley on 27 Mar 2013 #

    #60: House of Love and Deep were big hits here too, and floppy beanies, necessary in this climate about two days of the year and never advisable, were briefly a thing, thanks in a large part, I would say, to Levi(?) and the boys.

  17. 67
    Patrick Mexico on 27 Mar 2013 #

    #62 Anyone fancy searching for backwarded messages in the ‘That’s records and coming over all “Cool, groovy, morning, fine – Tipper Gore was a friend of mine?”

  18. 68
    Another Pete on 29 Mar 2013 #

    #67 No need, if you look there’s a message there in plain sight on the single’s cover. Take That > Sure.

    Given the album wouldn’t be out for another 7 months it feels like exactly what it is, a pacifier to appease a demanding fan base that just happens to be on the next album rather than a lead single.

  19. 69
    AMZ1981 on 30 Mar 2013 #

    First time I’ve commented;

    One point to note about this is that Take That themselves seem to have written it out of their story; it was the only one of their number one singles they didn’t do on the comeback tour and – to the best of my knowledge – they’ve never revisited it since.

  20. 70
    Erithian on 4 Jun 2013 #

    I’m struck by the confidence they display with this – the epic-length video, the branching out into acting, the babes coming to party, the cocksure dance routine. Pretty much all of it misplaced. The song is dull as ditchwater and the dance is only marginally less embarrassing than Boyzone’s (can we mention them yet?) notorious appearance on the Gay Byrne Late Late Show.

  21. 71
    Andrew Farrell on 12 Jul 2014 #

    I think the video does well – I’m not sure it’s acting quite as much as Brand Establishment: Mark is sweet, Jason dances, Howard (does he get called Hal at one point?) is into the dance music, Gary suffers as the Artist, and Robbie… will do anything for attention, and is a needy little fellow in that area. Looking back, I’m surprised there was never a Take That cartoon, in the spirit of the Beatles one.

  22. 72
    Musicality on 14 Dec 2014 #

    I like this but the fact is American artists do this type of music better. Take That excelled in their own unique style and this seemed to follow American trends.

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