Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 1995 third album Nobody Else by British boy band, Take That. Will this album be one to Never Forget, or will you Pray for a better one? Read on…
This 11 track CD opens with lead single Sure, which gave them a #1 UK hit in the autumn of 1994. This sound is reminiscent of their Why Can’t I Wake Up With You from their previous album, but also echoes the sound dominating the charts via Eternal. Gary Barlow takes the vocals here as usual, and he does a good job of the range and protracted notes as the rest of the group take the backing vocals in their fishnet shirts (yes, really).
Next up is the group’s biggest selling single Back For Good. This song is a contrast to Sure, and gives us oodles of strummed guitars, and soft vocal harmonies as Gary expertly sings. It’s not daring like Sure, but is a pop masterpiece. Like previous track, it went to #1 in the UK when it was released as the album’s second single.
Every Guy follows this, and was issued as a promo, but wasn’t released as an official single. The track brings Robbie to the microphone, alongside Gary. The track returns to a similar sound as Sure, with record scratches, fat basslines, and again reminds me of what you’d find on Eternal’s Power Of A Woman album. Gary’s vocals don’t really sit as easily here as Robbie’s do, although musically it bounces along nicely.
That’s followed by Sunday To Saturday which is a slick little pop song. The brass sections and vocal harmonies really make this track stand out and sound warm and up-lifting. It reminds me a bit of The Brand New Heavies, who were releasing very similar sounding music at this time. The track clocks in as just over 5 minutes long, and the saxophonist gets just a little bit too much time.
Turn the lights down low now, because it’s the titular Nobody Else track. Finger-clicks and a simple electric piano give Gary a soft backing track to sing a saccharine sweet ballad. Strings tease the listener along with a chime bar, but the heartfelt lyrics keep you hanging. This definitely sounds like it was probably the end of side one of the cassette edition, and it can’t end soon enough, which is annoying considering that it is almost 6 minutes long, and has a false ending.
Never Forget is up next, and this was the third and final UK single from this album, and like the two earlier singles, it also gave them a #1 in the UK. This single was the departure for Robbie, but gave Howard Donald a lead vocal, which is nice to hear as I can’t imagine Gary quite doing this one justice. This song is a joy though, and it builds up to include a fantastic choir, which includes Clive Griffin.
Up next is Hanging Onto Your Love, which has David Morales at the production and co-writer helm. This is evident, having been familiar with his other work at this period. There’s some nice vocal samples, which doesn’t cause the track to sound dated, and the track is simply a nice little upbeat pop song.
Sad cellos aptly lead us into Holding Back The Tears, which ironically would be needed in just a few months with the departure of Robbie. Gary has the mic again, and this allows him to wallow in a miserable love song. The strings make the track interesting, but otherwise it just sounds like a generic paint-by-number power ballad.
Robbie gets the mic again for next track Hate It, alongside Gary. Again, it’s reminiscent to the sound heard in Sure of 90’s RnB. Whilst it is musically interesting, and there are some wonderful backing vocals (and almost some barbershop quartet) the lyrics are a bit lacklustre, and it feels like a filler to keep Robbie happy pre-solo career.
Again, with the mic in his hand, Lady Tonight sees Robbie take the mic alongside Gary. The tempo picks up here, and this really helps this song sound interesting and actually quite good. Robbie gets a well placed and fairly gentle rap in the final third, again hinting at a contrast of styles.
The album closes with The Day After Tomorrow and this finally lets Mark Owen take the lead vocals. Naturally it’s a ballad, which allows him to wallow in a slow song that he floods with his nervous childlike vocal style – ‘being in love is a big responsibility‘ he sings, and it’s almost easy to wonder how he knows this yet. I think Howard would have sounded better on this track, as Mark’s vocals aren’t quite strong enough to consistently deliver all the vocals.
The hit singles really do shine on this album, but there’s some other nice tracks too. There’s a couple of different styles here, and even a sharing of the microphone that allows the tracks to take on different sounds and characters.
The low point being the title track and Holding Back The Tears both in their nauseating ballad lyrics and that they’re just too long and overindulgent.
The similarities here to other contemporary mid-90s acts shows just how ear-to-the-ground the group and their team were – and it’s no surprise to find Steve Anderson and Brothers In Rhythm tucked away on the credits with David Morales.
This is Take That at their original height of fame, and within months, their devoted record buying schoolgirl fanbase would be heartbroken as the group announces their split. For the purposes of this album, they didn’t really need to try – it’d have been a hit – but thankfully they did.
- POP RESCUE 2020 RATING: 3 / 5
- 1995 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #1, certified 2x Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: 33p from a British Heart Foundation store.