Monday, August 13, 2012

Music Video Monday: Take That

For this week's music video, I selected "Rule the World" by Take That, which was sung at last night's Closing Ceremonies of the London Olympic Games. It's not a favorite of mine. I thought a better song to sing would have been "Never Forget" or "Greatest Day."

Most Americans probably never heard of Take That. They were a boy band that gained popularity in Europe in the mid-1990s. I think they are the best boy band ever, because they had an interesting dynamic and a lot of songs that I like. They are also around the same age as me, so while they were making teenage girls swoon all over England and Europe, I was in the Navy stationed in the Mediterranean, where bars would blast their hit song "Pray" all summer long in 1993. They scored one hit song in the U.S. in the summer of 1995, "Back for Good." The group broke up around that time because of the antics of Robbie Williams, who was not a team player. He went on to have a successful solo career in the U.K. and Europe. I like both Robbie Williams (he has a great ear for music and a wicked sense of humour, as you can tell by the clever lyrics in his songs) and Take That. Robbie Williams was the wrong guy for a group and is much better as a solo artist. I don't know why there is an obsession with boy bands being made up of five members. Four is also a good number. There have been foursomes: 98 Degrees, All-4-One, Wet Wet Wet, and of course: The Beatles. Why obsess over five members?

Take That had comeback success sometime in the last decade and have released at least three albums after their "reunion" tour reignited interest in the band. They still haven't found success in the U.S. and probably won't, which is a shame. In 2010, I "discovered" their song from 2008 "Greatest Day" and was so struck by the lyrics, melody, and music video that I made it my "invocation song" in the fall of 2010 (when I was looking for a new job and wanting to get out of my hellish job at the BSA) and it made a huge difference in my life. I will be playing this song on a nonstop loop on the night of December 21, 2012 (when the world is supposed to end, according to the Mayan calendar and some paranoid doomsdayers).

Take That rule the world? Well, maybe the rest of it, but not the U.S.A. I honestly don't know why they were not able to find radio success here. They were in between the short success periods of New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys / NSYNC eras. My guess is that they were probably considered "too British" for American music fans, and Robbie Williams' clever lyrics are too cheeky and ironic for Americans. Oh well, our loss. At least I have heard of them and able to check out when their new releases are coming out.

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