Why it’s now cool to like Take That

Posted by Laura
Before reality TV, before MP3 players and before they scrapped cassettes, the climate in Britain was ripe for a musical phenomenon. The early 1990s was a time when soap stars were becoming pop stars and the single-buying British public sent Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do to number one for a record-breaking 16 weeks. Big international artists from across the pond were making huge assaults on the UK charts and it was about time home-grown artists fought back.
The unlikely pretenders to the nation’s musical throne were five lads from the north, who went on to prove that whatever the Americans could do with their New Kids on the Block and their Boys II Men, the UK could do better. Take That were born and the British boy band was back.
The crowds of teary-eyed, screaming girls that followed them around smacked of 1960s Beatlemania, and the band notched up 15 UK hits, including Relight My Fire, Could It Be Magic and Back For Good. But, in February 1996, to the sound of teenage hearts breaking everywhere, the boys announced they were to split. Despite the loss of Robbie Williams, Take That as a foursome were still on a high, having accrued 10 million album sales.
The only real phoenix to rise from the ashes of Take That’s demise was Robbie. The remaining band members enjoyed limited success with singing, writing and even acting projects. But it seemed the sum of the individual parts didn’t quite equal the whole and the legend of Take That was to be relegated to the bin of nostalgia documentaries and old Just Seventeen annuals. Until now, that is.
They’re back in the number one chart slot with the single Patience – more than 10 years after they split. Granted, they’re a bit rougher around the edges now, and perhaps comfort eating during the darker days of obscurity could account for the fact they won’t be as scantily clad as they were previously, but Take That have captured the very essence of a successful comeback; they have a great song.
Here on the homepage, where none of us were true TT fans the first time round, we’ve become converts to the track. They’ve evolved, without doubt, but the essence of what so many loved about them is still there. And judging by the response to our coverage of the boys (or, rather, 30-something guys), you, our users, can’t get enough of it either. Patience is top of MSN Music’s download chart (download it here) and our featured video interview with the band got many of you clicking.
So, in a music market now saturated with boy bands, reality TV stars and has-beens clinging to their last threads of fame for dear life (Upper Street, anyone?), how have Take That emerged from the background to explode back on to the scene and trounce them all?
My theory is that, despite the Simon Cowells and the Louis Walshes of the world trying to convince us otherwise, the music-buying public has got so wise to the manufactured, one-song-fits-all approach of the reality TV transient star-making machine that they’re not interested in what it has to offer anymore. Talent hunters have trawled the country so many times surely they’ve found all the people worth making famous for 15 minutes now anyway?
The CD and download-buying public’s love affair with the gameshow pop star is waning. There’s only so many times the rags-to-riches tale of undiscovered talent turns teen idol can be retold. Louis Walsh may be 100 per cent behind X Factor reject band Eton Road now, but how long, realistically, will it be before they’re subsumed into the cover-record and cabaret-circuit abyss? (Read all about their exit on our X Factor blog).
Perhaps Louis should tell the youngsters to go away and come back in 10 years. A decade’s absence seems to have made Take That’s appeal just as strong, if not stronger, than it ever was. Perhaps the timing is perfect for them; Robbie’s bizarre take on rap-meets-electro-meets-I’ve-made-my-cash-and-can’t-be-bothered-anymore seems to be falling deaf ears. And the fact Take That came about in the early 90s makes them slightly retro – and we all know that retro, in music terms, means cool.
This is a band who posed pasty-white and naked, before most men were comfortable with sunbed use, with cardboard letters spelling out their band name stuck to their bottoms. And the public forgave them. They managed to make ageing singer Lulu the envy of every teenage girl in Britain. The loss of their youngest member prompted one of the biggest solo careers of the 21st century while the remaining four failed to live up to the hype. Yet still they managed to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and bring out a number one record with all their self-respect intact.
10 years ago, when my peers and I were too immersed in Britpop and trying to look cool in shrink-fit Adidas to admit we liked Take That, we missed out on one of the best pop acts of the decade. Now, 10 years on, and the Britpop hellraisers have turned into the middle-class Primrose Hill set, liking Take That doesn’t have a stigma attached to it any more. Go on, admit it, the boys are back… but is it for good? (Download the new album, Beautiful World, here for just £5)
What do you think about Take That’s comeback?
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10 Responses to Why it’s now cool to like Take That

  1. michelle says:

    I think its fantastic that, Take That are back, I was one of those screaming fans following them around all them years ago and its like reliving the fantastic memories I had when I was a teenager. OK so I\’m 27 not NOT in to boybands anymore and A big fan of Rock but from the moment I saw Take That back it was great! I think its cos I loved them so much when they where first out I love them so much now.
    Good to see you back boys!

  2. Lynsey says:

    Couldn\’t agree more about Take That\’s come back being the best thing to happen in music in a long time.
    Yes I do watch X Factor and have in the past watched other music reality shows, I can\’t help thinking that not one of the single artist\’s that have won any of these shows would ever touch anything TT had back in the day right to this day now.
    My sister and I were huge fans and  was absolutely distraught to have missed their concert this year as I was stuck in Portugal and my flight was cancelled after I specifically changed my flights to make it home for the concert!!
    Welcome back boys your home again!!

  3. JD_ABC says:

    I went to one of their concerts in Hamburg. I was about 24 at the time (1994). I thought they were good hen, and I think they\’ll be better now. It is good to see them back and I like their sound. These guys are beyond the one-year-wonders of current boy bands, even without Robbie. Way beyond! I hope they are…back for good.

  4. laura says:

    I love that \’take that\’ are back, I was a hugh fan back then and even though i will not be the screaming teen anymore I will support them once again. Their concert this year were brilliant. Go take That go.

  5. cal says:


  6. Claire says:

    Having been a Take That fan since i was 15 years old having them back is just like a blast of fresh air. Now i\’m 30 and all grown up i\’m still as excited by the fact that the will be a tour next year and hopefully another album in the future. It is a pure shame no one saw the talent and wonder of these lovely sweet guys that we fans saw all those years ago. I saw them in concert this year back in April and i must admit i was wondering if they would be able to pull it off like they did on the other tours i had been to but the was never any need to worry the show was out of this world and was just as good if not better than the shows from years ago. The music is alot more grown up now i love Wooden Boat and Shine the album has a Beatles feel to it that i love and all their voices are amazing. WE NEVER FORGOT and now a million more people get to see why their music stood the test of time.

  7. Simon says:

    I don\’t mean to offend anyone here although it\’s more than likely I will, you say everyone\’s getting bored of all the X-Factor tripe, but what is the difference between take that and eaton road. You talk about wasting talent yet none (including TT) would ever be considered to be play or write a single part of the instrumental music you hear (quote i hear 24/7 about pop artists: "they\’ve always got a great beat"). When you see them playing live and one of them has a guitar in his hand (both bands above have done so) They are not playing the guitar live. If so how come you can hear drums but can\’t see a drum kit nor a drummer. B B Mak (sp?) used to "play live" with a full band apart from a bassist yet there was certainly a bass guitar in the music. Again I don\’t mean to offend, the lads are good at what they do. BUT, what is the difference between them. And Boys II Men where wicked lol! As much as the same things goes with them they weren\’t anywhere near as manufactured or Walsh-Cowell-ised as TT. If you\’re bored of that there is SOOO much out there with amazing musicians that might make you realise you have been listening to the same beat (probably by the same session drummer) for 10 years non-stop. I\’m only 23 and I don\’t understand how people haven\’t woken up to it yet.  Listen to Dave Matthews Band or The Cat Empire (neither from UK unfortunately) if you want REAL TALENT. Music taste should be something to warm to after a while and have you aching for more and want to find more, not something you can come a custom to within half a second, just because your so used to the beat and the Media have TOLD you it\’s good and in your taste.

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