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Take That: Progress Live [Digipack] [DVD] [2011]  [NTSC]
Take That: Progress Live [Digipack] [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Take That
Offered by rsdvd
Price: £3.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never forgotten, 1 Oct 2014
Glorious conceptual concert to accompany the same-titled album, The Progress tour was also record-breaking just like the album itself upon its release, selling out within days. Mainly aimed at Take That enthusiasts, but also at any pop fannatic, it brought together the band's oringinal line-up for the first time since their devastating split back in 1995, celebrating music, fun, and memories. Combining the cocky showmanship of Robbie Williams with the enduring appeal of the band, and featuring fantastic costumes, skilled choreographies, powerful and emotional performances, an amazingly designed stage, it really offered anything that anyone could ask from a pop show. Inevitably, thus, it could not be anything but a mega success. 2009's The Circus tour was more of a pop show extravaganza, and so its sheer spectacle will remain unsurpassed, being thoroughly entertaining. However, the Progress show feels more accomplished and satisfying than its predecessor, due to the fact that, by the time the show reaches the finale with "8 Letters", there is a strong feeling of a story coming to an end; a happy one, with the Take That boys eventually becoming men. And, just like in fairytales where time seems to pass ever so imperceptibly, and where anything can also mean something more than just what meets the eye, one could argue that the 8 letters of the song could be those that form the band's name; the band who will forever be associated with a time when everything was young, carefree, and eternal. One can "Never forget" Take That, they are to be treasured.


Progress (Deluxe Edition)
Progress (Deluxe Edition)
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £5.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A progress, indeed!, 25 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Following their reform in 2006, Take That returned with "Beautiful world" and "The circus", both of which featured soft adult pop-rock/folk songs, developing from the pop-orientated material that established and made them a true sensation in the nineties. "Progress" sounds nothing like these 2 albums, being a straight-up electronic record with a more upbeat synth-driven sound. Continuing their way forward, the increasing maturity in lyrics, the beautifully written melodies, the gorgeous vocal harmonies, the experimental and soul-baring qualities, were quite a deparure altogether from the typical Take That style of former records, introducing them to a more adult audience. Lead single "The flood" unanimously ranks among the group's finest moments, even for the disorientated fans. Many were initially unpleasantly surprised upon the album's release. However, most soon came round to admitting that this change in sound was rather necessary for them as a band in order to take another leap forward. Inevitably, Robbie Williams' influence was also seen with reserve, causing both positive and negative criticism.

Living up to its title, with "Progress" Take That broke new territory, and some records, too (the second fastest-selling album ever in the UK, and best-selling album of 2010 in Europe). The album is considered to be among Take That's boldest and strongest efforts, a contemporary pop classic. Its subsequent re-package, under the name "Progressed", only enhanced interest (and boosted sales evenmore, resulting in total UK sales of 3 milion!), boasting 8 new tracks, equally impressive, and sitting more than comfortably alongside the original 10; a serious extension of this important album, rathen than a simple addition to the original set. A mention about the exquisite, minimalistic artwork, too. Both the yellow and the red covers, depicting the human/Take That evolution, are equally striking and bold, making a clear statement, and emphasising the context of the songs. "Progress" and "Progressed" not just re-inforced the belief that Take That is not just a boy band anymore, but established them as an exciting band with creativity and longevity. Impressive. (and the reason for writing this piece 4 years after the album's release)


Progressed
Progressed
Offered by TIP TOP SELLER
Price: £2.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Progressed, literally!, 25 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Progressed (Audio CD)
Following their reform in 2006, Take That returned with "Beautiful world" and "The circus", both of which featured soft adult pop-rock/folk songs, developing from the pop-orientated material that established and made them a true sensation in the nineties. "Progress" sounds nothing like these 2 albums, being a straight-up electronic record with a more upbeat synth-driven sound. Continuing their way forward, the increasing maturity in lyrics, the beautifully written melodies, the gorgeous vocal harmonies, the experimental and soul-baring qualities, were quite a deparure altogether from the typical Take That style of former records, introducing them to a more adult audience. Lead single "The flood" unanimously ranks among the group's finest moments, even for the disorientated fans. Many were initially unpleasantly surprised upon the album's release. However, most soon came round to admitting that this change in sound was rather necessary for them as a band in order to take another leap forward. Inevitably, Robbie Williams' influence was also seen with reserve, causing both positive and negative criticism.

Living up to its title, with "Progress" Take That broke new territory, and some records, too (the second fastest-selling album ever in the UK, and best-selling album of 2010 in Europe). The album is considered to be among Take That's boldest and strongest efforts, a contemporary pop classic. Its subsequent re-package, under the name "Progressed", only enhanced interest (and boosted sales evenmore, resulting in total UK sales of 3 milion!), boasting 8 new tracks, equally impressive, and sitting more than comfortably alongside the original 10; a serious extension of this important album, rathen than a simple addition to the original set. A mention about the exquisite, minimalistic artwork, too. Both the yellow and the red covers, depicting the human/Take That evolution, are equally striking and bold, making a clear statement, and emphasising the context of the songs. "Progress" and "Progressed" not just re-inforced the belief that Take That is not just a boy band anymore, but established them as an exciting band with creativity and longevity. Impressive. (and the reason for writing this piece 4 years after the album's release)


Cheek to Cheek
Cheek to Cheek
Price: £12.99

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jazzy GaGa: The Lady is a champ, 22 Sep 2014
This review is from: Cheek to Cheek (Audio CD)
On her triumphant pop debut she paid homage to metal band Mötley Crüe. She launched, and also titled, her sophomore with a song-declaration about LGTB acceptance ("Born this way"). And she unabashedly became herself the main visual for the concept of her mighty-titled "Artpop" project. That is Lady GaGa, certainly not your typical artist. In fact, not typical, period. She has more diversity than any of her contemporaries, and is able to fuse many styles into her work and image, and she does it flawlessly. Taken for granted because of her unique sense of visual artistry and fashion, she is definitely a much better singer than people give her credit for. She seems to make fun of the whole pop culture as much as she embraces it, and though her singles are mainly generic, though most enjoyable, chart-toppers, the core of her albums is pretty diverse.

It only makes sense then that her love for jazz, which she has been singing since her early teens, resulted in a proper jazz/swing album, where she and the legendary Tony Bennett perform a set of classics. "Cheek to cheek" shows what GaGa has always done best. Her most honest deliveries came when singing her slower songs or covers from other artists with just her sat at the piano. Jazz takes a lot of musicality, character and training to sing. This album reveals the warmth and depth of her voice, her vocal precision is admirable. She and Bennett play it straight and safe, the record is just two accomplished vocalists having fun, with neither radical reboots, nor mediocre redos. He is exhibiting his trademark suave, while GaGa proves a revelation. They bond best on the uptempo tracks particularly, sounding carefree, energetic and fun.

It is questionable if GaGa fans want this from her. I did not, since I am a fan because of her original music, Lady GaGa pop. This is Lady GaGa jazz. Many famous artists struggle with chart success, but she probably does not care if this does not hit the charts. And so many will find this as an opportunity to trounce her once again, accusing her of being a monstrous money-making music machine. Regardless of success or money, she will stand proud as long as she stays true to her vision. Noone else is able to combine so many different musical and visual styles, and so perfectly match them all, like GaGa does. She is the ultimate chameleon, ra-ra ah ah ah roma rum mama GaGa ooh la la!

Note: The German edition of "Cheek to cheek" (an 18-track special edition) contains additionally the superb duet "The lady is a tramp" from TB's "Duets II".
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2014 5:48 AM BST


Partners
Partners
Price: £9.99

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Barbra!, 16 Sep 2014
This review is from: Partners (Audio CD)
As unorthodox as it may be for me to be writing about Barbra Streisand, well, here I go. A friend found it somewhat amusing burning me a copy of this the other day, demanding that I should give it a go. My initial thought was: "What the f**k, Chris Brown's new CD is out, and you're getting me this?". So, I thought it was equally fair - though quite challenging on my behalf - to give this a proper listen, just to aggravate my friend. After reluctantly playing the entire album once, 3 days later I am secretly enjoying this. In fact, spin after spin it gets better and better, Barbra's dominating voice is unmatched, nevermind that the material overall is too lacklustre for my liking.

That opening duet with the velvety-voiced Michael Buble is wonderful, and the duets with Lionel Richie, Andrea Bocelli and Elvis, they are most enjoyable. Some of the songs are helplessly lukewarm and rather predictable, but I am guessing that, if I can appreciate some of this stuff, then dedicated fans will most probably love it. It is a great idea to introduce old songs to a younger audience (some would call this a relentless cashing in). Perhaps a "Partners" version with female duets could follow? With such a powerful throat at 72, she sure is able to keep recording for years to come. A living legend. Not my cup of tea, but I am certainly enjoying a few Barbra sips. Now, time to spin that Chris Brown CD...


X
X
Price: £12.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars X-cessively X-citing, 15 Sep 2014
This review is from: X (Audio CD)
On the title track of this, his 6th album, Chris Brown makes an attempt to take responsibility for his actions: "If you're only as good as the company you keep / Then I'mma blame you for what they say about me", he says. "I know just who you are ...you just love to heart shop". Ouch! With such harsh lyrics, so blatantly addressing a certain "X", the harrowing image of a bruised Rihanna comes to mind, back in 2009, after gotten beaten up, one of pop's most infamously endearing gossip stories of recent years. But that is only half the story. The rest is somewhere between the lines of the songs of this record. Following the controversial incident, critics tend to misleadingly review CB as a person within the confines of popular culture, rather than as an artist.

"X" x-hibits the dance-R'n'B-hip-hop-electro-pop genre that CB is loved/hated for. Explicit references, funky beats, infectious floor-fillers, smooth midtempos, all present. It is a little far behind from being another cohesive and imaginative set, in the likes of "Graffiti" and "F.A.M.E.". Whereas those albums are nicely balanced, "X" suffers from Brown-overkill. At 75 minutes long, and 21 songs in total, "X"'s flow often gets interrupted by some painting-by-numbers material. It is a shame really, since CB's vocal abilities and content progression are evident, and some of the tracks here are truly great. "Add me in", "New flame", "Time for love", "Autumn leaves" and the excellent title track are highlights. Special mention for last year's single feat. the late Aaliyah, "Don't think they know"; a great way to honour a beloved artist who remains an inspiration.

Any possible numerical significance aside, "X" is an album echoeing former relationships and situations, there is no hiding or denying it. After cleverly nameing his last 2 albums "F.A.M.E." and "Fortune", with "X", Chris Brown seems to be closing a personal chapter, and opening a new musical one. Underneath the anger and violence of the past, there is a talented young man looking at the bright future ahead. One can only sympathise with him, and hope that with this record he will eventually overcome his demons. "I swear to God, I'm moving on", he also promises on the title track. Rihanna called her last album "Unapologetic"; Chris Brown named his, "X". They have both stated their cases, and are now officially even.


BELINDA
BELINDA
Price: £10.16

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty and Belle, 10 Sep 2014
This review is from: BELINDA (Audio CD)
"Belinda", Belinda Carlisle's solo debut, emerged in 1986, a year after former band - and America's most successful all-female group - the Go-Go's, were gone-gone. "I have a feeling of starting out again", she said at the time. "I don't know what's going to happen. But the Go-Go's went No. 1 on their first album, so anything's possible." As was proved, it was. Fresh from rehab, and in great contrast to the Go-Go's punk image, for her own image and sound Belinda adopted a more innocent and feminine look, successfully re-introducing and re-launching herself. The album was a promising first effort, which would lead to a fruitful solo career, as subsequent releases attested. Featuring hit singles "Mad about you" and "I feel the magic", the heartbreaking "Stuff and nonsense", and the achingly melancholic "Since you've gone", "Belinda" captured the essence of Belinda, and also many hearts along the way (mine included).

Presented in a fantastic casebound book, this ultimate edition comes along with new sleeve notes, lyrics, bonus tracks, remixes and 2 promo videos. And, for the first time, a 1986 45-minute concert programme with some interview material gets to see an official release. As with all 6 previous re-issues, the loving care put into assembling this release is obvious, from the artwork and musical content, to the actual packaging (even the vibrant pink background of the original cover photo has been tastefully changed to the elegant lilac used for the promotional purposes for the whole re-issues series). "Dancing in the city" from movie Burglar finally gets to be included on a BC album. Sadly, once again the opportunity to include Belinda's other hard-to-find soundtrack song, "In my wildest dreams" from Mannequin, is missed. This complaint aside, this is a must-have for BC fans, and a worthy purchase for casual listeners.

3*** for the album
5***** for the re-issue


Symphonica [VINYL]
Symphonica [VINYL]
Price: £22.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 100% GM free!, 4 Sep 2014
This review is from: Symphonica [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This is George Michael's very first solo live release, a concert/studio hybrid recorded during his Symphonica tour. Showcasing solo hits lifted from his own repertoire, as well as some of the covers that he had recorded for his 1999 covers collection, "Songs from the last century", plus a couple of renditions of some of music's finest artists, this is a precious live album. Always the perfectionist, GM makes sure that there is a rich and expensive quality to each song. Most tracks could easily pass for studio versions, despite the applause and sporadic bits of improvisation; but, although the album lacks the mistakes and spontaneity of live recordings, it is a reminder of Michael's exceptional talents as a songwriter, vocalist and performer. As GM's status as one of the all-time greatest pop stars is already cemented, "Symphonica" will reward all listeners with its undeniable class.

LP edition comes in double gatefold vinyl, featuring all 17 tracks of the deluxe edition of the album. It is a standard release as far as the packaging is concerned, but apparently a limited edition pressing. The LP includes a free MP3 digital album download card, so that comes as an extra bonus for digital listeners. I had purchased the deluxe CD edition of the album, but I am extra happy for getting this, too. Anything from George Michael is GM guaranteed!


My Everything
My Everything
Price: £10.99

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grande, we have a "problem"..., 25 Aug 2014
This review is from: My Everything (Audio CD)
Across the pop universe where fleeting stars come and go abundantly and ever so regularly, there come quite often little ones who look certain to shine bright. Ariana Grande is a multi-talented, hard-working, honest-looking young girl, trying to find her way in the entertainment business. Though pop stars tend to shed their clean-cut image and alienate in the process, and since what makes a good person may be subjective, the fact that this little sweety seems to foster a positive image is proof that she has good intentions. This, her follow-up to last year's "Yours truly", is a mix of styles clearly aiming to appeal to as many buyers possible, as well as to showcase her vocal range. Credit should be given where it is due, so, although Grande's "My everything" grande it is not, it is OK for what it is, so there is no point in dissecting it. Gotta love her, a future pop princess in the making for sure, look forward to watching her blossom.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2014 8:19 PM BST


All For You [Bonus DVD] [Ltd Ed] [Us Import]
All For You [Bonus DVD] [Ltd Ed] [Us Import]
Offered by CodaDelta-UK
Price: £11.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baby-making Janet, 17 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Been looking for a brand new, sealed copy of this for so many years, I am thrilled to finally have one. Janet's 5th studio album, released back in 2001, came off of the most gritty, yet profound, album of her career, the eclectic opus that is "The velvet rope". "Rhythm nation 1814" will remain her absolute peak, "janet." is her most balanced, and "The velvet rope" combines the strengths of both. "All for you" failed to match its predecessors' commercial and artistic success, however it established further her transition from pop to more adult R'n'B sound (JJ sounds raunchier than ever before here). 21 songs are too many to digest, but fortunately for the most part what we get is classic Janet dance grooves and lush ballads, some of which are rather explicit, very enjoyable nevertheless, numbers. It is the DVD, though, included on this edition that makes it totally worth purchasing, featuring 19 of Janet's videos from her 3 albums with Virgin, aptly, and ironically titled, "The virgin years". It was, and still remains, the most complete video collection of hers, and an exquisite one (the MTV era-defining full-length video for "If" is perfection). A favourite and timeless item, I strongly suggest you purchase this while still available.

4**** for the album
5***** for this edition


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