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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man Band
As mature and cosy as the Marks & Sparks jumpers they model, The Circus is further consolidation of the Take That boys as an 'adult' band, unlikely to return to campy disco or cheast bearing antics any time soon. And it suits them well, particularly Barlow, whose proclivity for sensitively written, singer-songwriterly ballads always left him looking a little old before...
Published on 1 Dec 2009 by J. Jenkins

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed!!
I have to say that I didn't become a TT fan until they reformed - I am now 45! Patience had me hooked the very first time I heard it and the rest, as they say, is history. The difficult 'second' album, second time around, works - as a whole - but the fact that I find the 'hidden track' one of my favourites on the album sums it up really.

However, my real bone...
Published on 15 Jan 2009 by Gary Williams


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man Band, 1 Dec 2009
By 
J. Jenkins (Dudley Port, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Circus (Audio CD)
As mature and cosy as the Marks & Sparks jumpers they model, The Circus is further consolidation of the Take That boys as an 'adult' band, unlikely to return to campy disco or cheast bearing antics any time soon. And it suits them well, particularly Barlow, whose proclivity for sensitively written, singer-songwriterly ballads always left him looking a little old before his time in the Robbie days.

Liberated to write grown up material for grown ups, he looks much more comfortable, and the combination of quirky, Beatlesy melodies, Coldplay sized stadium grandeur and heart on sleeve sentiment here works very well. It's not just the Gary Barlow show either. This is satisfyingly democratic album, with even Howard and Jason acquiting themselves well on lead vox for How Did It Come to This and What Is Love, and making you wonder why someone sees fit to turn them down so low in the mix the rest of the time.

It might be a little hyperbolic to call it the most convincing transition from teenyboppers to a grown up band since the Fab Four themselves. But it's certainly more emphatic than a band like Backstreet Boys, whose idea of growth appears to be to churn out increasingly bloodless versions of their old hits, while dressing like men in the midst of a mid-life crisis.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real grower, 15 Dec 2008
By 
J. Hunt (Leeds) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Circus (Audio CD)
Track by track after two weeks listening:
The Garden: Draws you in and makes you feel good to be alive. Would have been a great Christmas single.
Greatest Day: A nice homage to U2 (Where the Streets Have no Name.) Liked it the first time I heard it. Still do.
Hello: Not convinced to begin with. Driving down the motorway in the sunshine, it was suddenly a great singalong track.
Said it All: Gorgeous. Nuff Said.
Julie: Felt sad about something at work. Listened to 'Julie'. Felt happy again.
The Circus: Beautiful in its simplicity
How Did it Come to This: Autobiographical? A great performance of a cleverly worded track. One of my favourites.
Up All Night: Fabulous live
What Is Love: Howard comes precariously close to perfection with this one.
You: The only track I have yet to warm to. Too formulaic for me. Sorry!
Hold up a light: Not my favourite vocal but it'll be a killer live then a great memory thereafter.
Here: Fab-u-lous. Play it on repeat.
She said: A Strictly special. Simply lovely and great fun.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real progress; brilliant!, 7 Dec 2008
By 
C. Whyatt "Music Lover" (Wargrave, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Circus (Audio CD)
As a fifty something brought up on The Beatles I am not your typical Take That fan, but despite this, I have always liked them, especially since the comeback.

This is a terrific album - great songs, beautifully sung, beautifully performed, beautifully produced - a triumph.

It is actually more Coldplay that the Take That of Roobie era fame.

Open your mind and enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply put...brilliant!, 20 Jan 2009
By 
This review is from: The Circus (Audio CD)
After the phenomenal success of "Beautiful World" in 2006, I figured it virtually impossible to match, or even come close, in a second outing. I was wrong. Although "The Circus" is different both in approach, and overall vibe, it stays true to the intensely strong talent behind it. Between the brilliant songwriting by all four members, to the fantastic production by John Shanks, this album is a natural progression on the continuing path of Take That. I am totally thankful to have the group back making beautiful, epic music again. Whenever I can't find the words, these guys seem take them right out of my mouth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!, 18 Mar 2010
By 
This review is from: The Circus (Audio CD)
Had this album on Christmas Day 2008 and have honestly played at least a couple of tracks from it every day since.

I have to be honest and say that I've always loved Take That, but when I first heard 'The Garden' I was almost too excited to speak! Fabulous singing by both Mark and Gary and a great introduction to the album. It just gets better from there with no dud tracks and plenty to bring pleasure to all.

At first, I was disappointed that there was too little Gary and too much Mark on the album, but this has changed with time and I now fully appreciate Mark's input and singing which adds further depth to the album and reminds me that the best 'boy band' (The Beatles) shared vocals. Anyway, with this album we can finally throw away the awful 'boy band' tag - this is in a league of its' own.

When I listen to Take That, I know why I love Britain and I know why the boys are a national treasure which we can all be proud of. If you haven't got this album, then get it now and make sure you get the DVD, too!!! Looking forward to the next album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take That Circus - Brill!!!, 5 Feb 2010
By 
This review is from: The Circus (Audio CD)
This album is brilliant! Keep listening to the last tract as there is a hiden song at the end about 2 mins after the last tract! Wasn't a fan first time round but certainly am now.All the songs on here are catchy and uplifting, we love it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Quality Product, 1 Jan 2010
By 
E. J. Panayiotou "Book addict" (England, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Circus (Audio CD)
This CD is lovely! Amazon shipped it out incredibly quickly and it arrived in perfect condition. Sound quality is fine. Great price for good music. I need say no more.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They've topped Beautiful World!, 10 Dec 2008
By 
Following their Beautiful World album couldn't have been an easy feat for Take That - it went eight times platinum in the UK, selling just over 2.5 million copies nationwide. A great achievement for a comeback album - but can their new album do just as well - or is it time for the bubble to burst?

Trust me, the bubble is a long way off bursting for this talented bunch. The Circus is probably the boys most controversial album to date - but not because they sing about something really naughty or go on about politics in their lyrics, but instead because this album is very, very different from their previous efforts.

Whether we like it or not, Take That are older now, more mature and have certainly a lot of experience to help influence them. And it shows. The Circus carries a mature tone throughout the album, but still manages to remind us that they are the fun, lad-like pop singers we fell in love with years ago. Hopefully people who have bracketed them into the "boy band" shelves will stop and listen and just see how appealing their music is nowadays. Yes, it's still pop; yes, it still appeals to their main fan base, but it's a widely enticing album.

Opener, The Garden, is a huge orchestral romp that allows Gary and Mark to do their first big duet together, And it sounds fantastic - Gary takes up the powerful choruses while Mark winds his deep vocals around the versus - they go together well - a new vocal formula is born. Thankfully, they take on the same balance in the fourth track, Said It All, and once again the boys sound brilliant in this very classic Barlow-magic tune.

Obviously we have all probably heard Greatest Day, the current number one, so I won't go on about it. But if you imagine all that excitement, passion and power spread across 12 songs - then you have an idea of how great the album is.

Julie is a "Beatles-esq", fabulously sweet track, sung by Mark. And you won't cringe when you feel the Beatles influence in it, honestly, it's not a copy or a rip off - it's beautifully sung song that shows the boys are mature and can make their songs work for each of them. Mark's voice has grown so much since he was given the challenge of Shine and Hold On and he's no longer the shy and retiring Babe singer any more. He's a strong lead - and he pulls it off well. I might go out there and say this deserves to be a single - one that might even challenge the likes of Back For Good as the band's most phenomenal single release.

How Did It Come To This is a brilliantly reflective number where Jason takes to the mike. He sings about modern life - how we all get caught up in the reality TV, shopping and what we think we should be rather than what we are. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it suits Jason perfectly. He's the worrier and the thoughtful one in the group and you get a sense that he probably does feel this way in real life. A well suited song, for a singer who is very underrated. And it really is not about Amy Winehouse, like some gossip websites and mags have suggested - it really isn't!

Howard takes the stage for the powerful What Is Love?, which frankly is such a moody, thinking song that will sit well when you have a night in on your own and want some time to contemplate your life. Howard's voice is graceful over the chimes and the lyrics, just as with Jason's, suit him well - as we all know he's the love-loving, big-hearted member of the group.

Then comes (potential next single) Up All Night, a jazzy, fun, poppy Mark number. The rest of the band take the lovely place of a jazzy trio in the background and the result is fantastic - all lifted up with a fanfare of trumpets, saxophone and drums. This is truly fantastic - the kind of song that will make you smile even on the most cold, grey, hung-over morning!

And these are just the best bits, if you add in the likes of Gary's sombre and thoughtful title track The Circus and cosy classic You, Howard's folky, pretty, Here and Mark's bubbly Hello and his fantasically dramatic Hold Up The Light - you have a really exciting and certainly, brilliant, album. There's a fabulously 50s bonus track called She Said too on the normal CD and if you get the hardback book edition, there are some lovely glossy pics of the lads in rehearsals, doing some trapeze acts and an absolutely adorable pic of Howard playing with Mark's little son, Elwood.

Honestly, just listening to the album makes me beam - Take That are better than ever before and deserve to do so well with The Circus.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Album!, 4 Jan 2009
By 
Mr. M. A. Cox - See all my reviews
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Admittedly, I've only been a Take That fan since their regrouping. I loved "Beautiful World" and was consequently introduced to their earlier works, which I also loved. So it was fair to say I was really looking forward to this album.

I must say it does not disappoint! This is a great follow up to "Beautiful World" with many catchy and engrossing tracks.

However, it does take a while to warm to. Upon first listen I could not help but feel slightly disappointed, I felt as though the album was too pop orientated and suffered from a few duff lyrics here and there. However after a few more listens the songs started to come into their own and their true potential shone through.

It should be noted that this is pretty different from their previous works. Gary tends to take a back seat, with Mark having lead vocal for the majority of the songs, which is not necessarily a bad thing. As mentioned before some of the songs are more pop orientated - reminiscent of "Shine" from their previous album, the album title "The Circus" accurately reflects this.

Overall, this is a fantastic album and worthy follow up to "Beautiful World". The songs are a mixture of catchy and engrossing. Just try not to be discouraged by that first listen.

This deluxe edition comes with the album and an attached 50+ page booklet featuring production and promotional shots of the band as well as song lyrics for the album, which is a great addition to the album itself.

A great buy if you're a Take That fan!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Beautiful World album, 4 Jan 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Circus (Audio CD)
Take That's "Beautiful World" was really a great singles album, this is just a great album with a lot less obvious singles.

Beautiful world was by no means a bad album, but some tracks sounded pretty run of the mill (aint no sense in love, like we never loved at all). Tracks like Patience, Shine, Reach Out and Beautiful World were stellar songs of course.

This time, the guys have really out done themselves.

Lead single Greatest Day continues the big orchestral rock ballad sound that Rule The World offered and this sound influences this album mostly. Tracks like You, Here, The Garden, Said It All have that epic-big-ballad-with-sweeping-strings sound.

There are still Beatles-esque attempts like Shine this time too (Hello, Julie, Up All Night are similar in ways but not blatant rip offs of shine thankfully),

All in all, the guys deserve the success they are having..... this is a strong follow up to Beautiful World.....

Stand -outs for me:
Hello, You, Here, Greatest Day, How Did It Come To This, The Garden, and the gorgeous ballad The Circus.
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