Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop now New Album - Steps Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
246
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£2.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 15 December 2008
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.
0Comment| 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 December 2008
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.
0Comment| 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 December 2009
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.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 January 2009
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.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 March 2010
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.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 26 November 2008
So the boys from Manchester - or is it Surrey and other rather expensive leafy English garden counties now - return with their fifth offering "The Circus".

So, what's it like? Will it continue the boys return and supersaturate their pop legend status.....

Certainly the album starts with a track, "The Garden", that's mostly Take That, but also partly "All You Need Is Love", partly Robbie Williams at the top of his game and overall, is a massive pop tune that, after it's Mark Owen spoken-cum-whispered intro opens into a huge Gary Barlow chorus of that sort that seemingly only he can write.

By now I expect everyone has heard the oft-FM played "Greatest Day" singly, which also constitutes track two on the album. On it, Gary Barlow veers rather closely to Chris Martin territory with an apocalyptic lyric, thumping piano backing and quiet-loud-loud-quiet-loud bits that Martin and his shoe-gazers have conquered the World with. As an indie die-hard it pains me to say it, but anything Martin can do, Barlow can almost match. Albeit in a rather more expectedly boyband-esque way.

When the title of track 3 "Hello" flashed onto my CD player I expected a Lionel Richie cover replete with requisite clay model of Lionel's head and accompanying dental overbite. Instead I was greeted with a frankly disappointing Mark Owen track that waffles on about it being a nice day and about Mark being glad someone took the time to say hello. Talk about easily pleased. This track, however, did not please my ears or sensibilities. It's weak. Think The Feeling but rubbisher and without the wide-faced Sophie Ellis Bextor in the background....

We're back in firm Take That territory with the next track "Said It All". Gary Barlow croons "Said it all/Nothing to say at all/Nothing to say that matters/does it matter anymore?" to a presumably lost love. Or band member Mr R Williams Esq perhaps...

Mark Owen returns to the fore once again with next track "Julie" which sounds like The Beatles without so much experimentation, craft and credibility. There are lots of sha-la-la-la-la's, lots of slide guitar and a little bit of Coldplay-style piano and drum bashing. It's another lightweight track, just like the last Owen number. I'm starting to see a pattern here....

Title track "The Circus" is Barlow at his 3 minute pop song best perhaps. Wordy, but tuneful. Soulful but poppy. Sweeping but not maudlin. And enough unlike Take That to be a great Take That track. Gary swoons "Yeah everybody loves a circus show/But I'm the only clown you'll ever know" over a swirling string coda and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds mellotron riff.

"How Did It Come To This" sounds almost exactly like a slowed down version of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" only without the lyrical clout, anger and political drive. But then, who wants Take That to do political stuff? Not I. We need Take That to do pop. And that's what they do here. Albeit in too short a time, the song ending before it really gets going at 3 minutes 10 seconds in length. Again though then Coldplay piano and Savage Garden guitars come to the fore.

Next track "Up All Night" rips it's guitar riff from The Frames and a track called "Lay Me Down", and it's lyrical hook from Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover". "Oh baby/I don't need you to save me" etc etc etc. Mark Owen once again takes over vocal duties on what opens out into a semi-indie pop romp that's a little sickly sweet but catchy as hell.

"What Is Love" sees Howard Donald posture lyrically over what love is. He doesn't really have the answers for us, but the tracks another string laden, piano bashing effort. And I'm sure I've heard that piano and string riff somewhere else. Ah yes. "I Will Survive". You'll see what I mean...

Penultimate track "That You" sounds almost exactly like the last track. Disturbingly so. "It's youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu" wails Mr Barlow over that becoming very familiar string backing. Things are getting a little samey this point I have to say. But then I guess when what you do is almost the perfect pop recipe, you're bound to want to repeat it. Even I can't argue with that. Mostly.

The album ends (or does it) with "Hold Up A Light", an excellent power-pop track that had me nodding my head and almost rocking out to Take That. Who'd have thought it. I say almost because as the CD runs on and on a hidden track appears - starting with Howard Donald laughing then a shuffled band in-joke track that shuffles and plods and does funny stuff before finally the album draws to a close.

So, to summarise, as people who review stuff often pompously say, there's nothing else for it.... If you love Take That, you will, without doubt, adore this album.

It seems a little lighter in ballads and a little heavier in Mark Owen nu-age tracks that previous efforts. And in parts it sounds as though Mr Barlow is shooting for Mr Martin's target of lots of thumped piano and tracks about codes and hidden meanings. But it remains unmistakably Take That.

I've tried my best but therefore, what's to fault, really? I'd give it four and a half stars because at times it sounds a little samey, and the Mark Owen tracks are, in the most part, below par. But there are no half marks here on Amazon so...

The quest for World domination goes on.
0Comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 December 2008
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.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 December 2008
let me get this straight... amazon are offering the entire new take that album for £3???...

if so who cares about the quality... which is fine anyway... its only £3!!!
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 June 2016
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 January 2009
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!
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)