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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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has to be applauded for including a song so strongly meditative and spiritual, in an age where religion is considered outdated and far removed from music.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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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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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 25 November 2013
Beautiful, refreshing, heartfelt and so well written.
This album is perfect - every song is written and produced to such a high standard and they're all catchy after a few listens.
Some of the songs are so intimate and honest (such as 'Dying Inside' and 'The Song I'll Never Write) that even buying the album just for them is worth it - not to mention Elton John features in 'Face to Face' too!
Gary should be so proud of this it's pure class.
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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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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 25 November 2013
I have been waiting for years for Gary to release a new Solo album, and finally the time has come - and it does not dissapoint. There is an excellent diversity of songs to theis ablum, which show Barlow's diversity down to a tea. If I am honest, my favourite single from the album is the lead: "Let Me Go". It has a 'Mumford and Sons' feel; and this compiled with Gary's vocals and personality makes it a hit. In fact, that is another strong point about the album - through every song Gary's personality comes out in bucket loads!

I am so happy that his solo album is as good as the most recent Take That albums, as it is testimant to his skill as a solo artist within the music industiry. Many, including myself, were afraid that a solo album, released so long after any other solo album from Barlow, would not be able to create the desired effect. However, Barlow has blowed those worries out of the water - and gladly so.

For Barlow, I think this album is a real success!
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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 2 November 2014
It's a good album, well produced. Quality CD.

And please...CD every time rather than Mp3/Mp4. Compressed music is the death of real music. Once it was CD that had this tag due to its brittle delivery and the many awful transfers of analogue recordings. But CD has headroom, and has now come of age as proved by the many wonderful remasters of classics. Isn't it terrible that so many people have never listened to anything other than compressed music! So please...forget downloads and give your ears a treat.
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on 25 March 2014
I've given this CD 5 stars despite my reservations on this album having religious roots. Most songs are religious based which I disapprove of and didn't know until after purchasing. That aside, Gary is a fabulous singer and a great song writer. His skill and tonality on this album reminds us of the songs from Take That and his last solo album. After listening to the album 10 times (which I do with all albums), I can say it's very nice, even though I skip 1 of the tracks about finding God.
So it's a 5 star and recommended album.
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