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81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2013
Since I Saw You Last showcases Gary's skills as a mature songwriter, who's been through a lot in his life and who's used his latest album as a vehicle to empty his heart for his fans and to exorcise some demons. He's literally wearing his heart on his sleeve in each song. Lyrically, this is the best work he's done both solo and with Take That, simply because the words sound sincere and not forced. The poignant ballad Dying Inside is a fair example of a man trying to say how he felt after the tragic loss of his daughter, Poppy- the best track on the album, in my opinion. On the verses, the voice is accompanied solely by the piano, but once he breaks into falsetto on the chorus and middle eight, you can hear a cello in the background,adding gravitas to a voice that sounds like that of a mourning man. God is equally introspective and Gary has to be applauded for including a song so strongly meditative and spiritual, in an age where religion is considered outdated and far removed from music. This is the sign of a man who does an album mainly for himself, without caring about what is expected from him. He says himself: "I've accepted that I won't be in fashion" - and to that I say "Thank the Lord!".
Requiem - one of the most Beatles-esque songs on the album - was inspired by the sudden loss of his father in 2009. People would expect this to be a sad, depressing song; on the contrary, Gary knows how to turn things around without slipping on the dark side - the point of view is that of the person who passed away. The lyrics are quite funny if you imagine the deceased telling the loved ones: "You die if you see my new place". Lyrics very profound and full of meaning, but very witty and funny at the same time.
The ballads on the album are at a higher standard than those on the Beautiful World album and never once can they be accused of being cheesy. Jump is the song that would fit perfectly on any Take That album. It's once again the highly personal content that prevents them from being cheesy. For people who are unaware of Gary's lifestory, this album may go right over their heads, but for anyone who knows what his wife Dawn and his children mean to him, songs like More Than Life - which is probably the response to Nobody Else, a song written for his parents, that he now wants to replicate as a song about him and Dawn - and This House tell the story of his salvation and of true life.
The album is very well balanced. Whoever says that it's an album full of ballads couldn't be more wrong. Let Me Go - a song written in the vein of Johnny Cash (not Mumford and Sons, which can easily be proven, since Gary had already written the folk song, Up All Night, by the time Mumford and Sons were being formed, which excludes them as a source of inspiration), Actress, Mr. Everything, Small Town Girls, The Song I'll Never Write, This House, Face to Face - the brilliant tribute and duet to/with Elton John are all up-tempo songs (even though sometimes the up-tempo is used to counterbalance the heavy, dark lyrics).
The songs on this album are not the stadium anthems that Take That accustomed us to, but that can only be a good thing. It comes a time when overproduced songs don't appeal anymore and this album offers a very enchanting alternative: classic songs, that stir away from the shallow pop and that should be listened to over and over again. This is not an album for radios - apart from Let Me Go and Face to Face -, it's not an album for stadiums or clubs, it's simply an album designed with no other purpose than for fans to enjoy the music.
Gary's voice sounds amazing on this album, because it's acquired a raspiness that he lacked in his youth, but that really suits the mature style of his songs.
There are not enough good words to say about this album. The 14 years wait was all worth it and not only does the album not disappoint,but it also exceeds all expectations.
I would not recommend it to non-fans, because I don't know if they are able to appreciate this album at its true value.

Standout tracks: Dying Inside, God, Jump, Requiem, Since I Saw You Last, 6th Avenue, The Song I'll Never Write, but the entire album is brilliant.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2013
I have had this on loop all day whilst doing my work on the computer and must say have got more done today than usual. Brilliant soul searching ballads, and head nodding upbeat songs. I love songs with melodies and Gary Barlow sure knows how to write and play them. So pleased I bought this, I would say he is one of the most underrated song writers in the UK I put him up there with the best, if not the best. His lovely tones and music have made for a pleasurable day. I am sure I will listen to this album over and over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2014
I adore Gary Barlow! I was there for Westminster NYE ... I have several tickets for his tour and shall be at the Royal Albert Hall in April! This album is certainly 'pleasant' to listen to and is good to get an insight into 'Gary behind the mask' but I was somewhat disappointed as I expected a masterpiece of iconic anthems I guess. He's written such amazing stuff for others in the last 14 years that I assumed he would have saved some gems for his own album. I would still recommend it though.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2013
I must say that Gary Barlow wasn't my favourite artist in the world, neither was he my least, however i was looking forward to this album even before I heard his first & current single 'Let me Go' which is a great folk sing-a-long track. I thought it might sound like a collection of recent Take That sounding B-sides, but I was not disappointed at all, there are some really great songs on here, I like the one with Elton John too (Face to Face), there are some really touching, shining moments in some of these gems that compile this album, even the 3 bonus tracks are on par with the rest of the album and could - no probably should have been added anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed the album as it was not pretentious and the gentle folk and soft balladly songs suit his voice very well. A must buy!!
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on 9 January 2014
The first time I heard the previews on Gary's website, I wasn't that enthusiastic, but as a true Gary-fan I bought the album. Now after listening to all the songs, and listening to the lyrics I'm overblown! This is Gary at his best! Thank you Gazza for sharing your life with your fans.
REQUIEM: Somebody is watching his own funural(Gary's dad?): "I'm really flattered that you came here to remember"
JUMP: you can here some influence from Keane-member Time Rice-Oxley. Tom Chaplin would also be a good leadsinger. I also love KEANE!
GOD: "If you found God, would you take Him home, Would you open the curtains or keep them closed?" This makes you start thinking about life, with all the happiness and the tragedies. Do I need God? Maybe...someday?...very inspirational...
6TH AVENUE: Gary went to the States after he was dumped by the Music Industry (the record-company). BUT after all the misery he spent quality time with his wife Dawn and their one-year-old son Daniel. Maybe he lived on 6th avenue... who knows? I lOVE THE PIANO, I almost hear Elton John and Billy Joel.Great!
SINCE I SAW YOU LAST: Gary was really angry back then. "Today I took back what was stolen!". Yes Gary,YOU'VE GOT IT ALL BACK! Congratulations, I love this song!!!!
THIS HOUSE: His family! His house! Almost my own house.Great guitar-playing.
DYING INSIDE: I somehow can feel his pain....RIP Poppy Barlow!
MORE THAN LIFE: I love the built up of the song!!!Probably a song dedicated to Dawn.
MR. EVERYTHING: Such a catchy tune. Love it!
In fact all the songs are very catchy. Offcourse not Gary-fans will not agree with this, but in my opinion, Mr. Barlow did a good job!
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on 12 January 2014
I'm not going to talk about each track in depth; I'll just say that Gary Barlow has gone stratospheric in my estimation!

I love him in Take That and think he's written some great songs. I wasn't sure about him as a solo artist. This album takes it all to another level. His lyrics are truly beautiful and insightful - I cried on hearing Jump for the first time. The orchestration and production are superb, his voice has matured and it's clear that Gary has put his heart and soul into the whole album. Not surprising considering the personal tragedy he and his family have experienced in the last couple of years. Unlike one reviewer, I have no wish to skip from one track to the next. Listen to the lyrics - superb!

Well done Gary - looking forward to the next one!

PS Gary's New Year's Eve gig on tv was superb as well - beat Jools's Hootenanny by a long chalk!

PPS - slight gripe with Amazon - why was the CD cheaper than the MP3 download? I don't have a cd player but thought it ridiculous to pay more for the download! Mad - it's the same product! So I got the auto-rip downlaod and will the cd to a friend....
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on 28 December 2013
I received this CD has a Christmas present, and it has been virtually on repeat, since then. I was never a fan of Gary Barlow or Take That, first time round, and if someone said I would be buying their music, later on in life, I wouldn't have believed them. Huge respect to Mr. G.B. because he has changed my opinion completely.
This is the first time I've ever played a new album and felt familiar with all songs on very first listen. The melodies are instant. There's clearly a number of musical influences from the Beatles to Elton John. It's very well produced, and vocally Gary is on top form.
I think the songs are very personal and have a "biblical" theme to many of them. If Gary got his influences from "divine intervention" then we as listeners are truly blessed !
For me, the best album I've heard this year, and I look forward to hearing more future solo efforts from a "King of Melody".
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on 15 January 2014
Having always liked Take That , Robbie etc.... I was really surprised when I heard this album.
There are songs and melodies that are refreshingly different to main stream 'POP'.
I found, what I call 'bluegrass country' very enjoyable, alongside the Elton duo there was also a number that had the Eltonesque touch.
Afraid I still like songs I can hum or try to sing along to and this album is definitely one of those, some may love it others hate it, but I don't think anyone could sit on the fence!
Just for reference, Requiem is now on my list of all time favorites.....
Thanks Gary.
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on 5 January 2014
I've been listening to Gary's "Since I Saw You Last" for the last couple of weeks and the initial (slight) disappointment has soon turned into amazement and admiration. The songs really grow on you and it's not easy to find a weak spot in the track list. "Requiem" (Robbie Williams penned lyrics?) is a brilliant opening number followed by gems such as "Jump," "God," "Dying Inside," "More Than Life" and the album's title track (wonder if the "Go f*** yourself" line will still get muted on the upcoming tour). It's pop in its purest and most entertaining form. Highly recommended.
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on 29 November 2013
Great to hear Gary back doing another solo album, Great to see him back with John Shanks on three writing credits, a duet with Elton John and Steve Power helping with production duties. This is Gary's job, forget the X factor. Here Gary is doing what he does best showcasing his song writing skills, making music that hit's so many emotions.

Best track for sure will be played in.....THIS HOUSE.

Let's hope next years TAKE THAT album is along these lines. (Bring back John Shanks as producer or go all out and call Mutt lange).)
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