Yes, I confess. I had a couple of long journeys to make this week, and being of a certain age I bought the Take That CD. The one with all five of them.
Well, it is bizarre.
I mean, the opening track is the single, and it is musically very interesting - but if anybody has the foggiest idea what it is actually about, I'd love to know. And then it gets opaque after that.
There are a couple of tracks that I quite liked, and I sort of felt I might be a "grower" - the kind of CD I'd like more if I lived with it for a bit. After all, some CDs you buy & love on first listening soon cloy & get boring. This could be the opposite.
Then I got to the final track. Eight Letters.
For the first time I had to replay a song straight away. "Eight letters, three words, one meaning." Anyone who feels that pop songs lack intelligence in their lyrics needs to listen to this. All tracks on the CD are credited to all five blokes, but they've been studying Stephen Sondheim to come up with this one.
"We were once the answer and then you discover
You're actually just one thing after another
And what was the question and why was the lesson so deafening?"
Goodness. Anyone who has gotten just a little bit older and hasn't felt that hasn't spent their youth well or learned the smallest mite of self-awareness as they aged... But to hear it spat out at you so clinically and beautifully from your car audio is both glorious and painful. "You can look back but don't stare". And suddenly staring is all you are capable of.
Gentle, caressing, melancholy, seductive, beautiful.
I don't know if I'll ever love this CD; but this song - oh yes; and it will haunt me for a while.