Words by Simon Button
I can’t say I’m completely taken with Take That’s 'Odyssey' album, which is being sold as a “re-imagining” of their greatest hits.
The tracks they’ve tinkered with just a little, like ‘It Only Takes A Minute’ and ‘Sure’, have a bit more oomph but they’re still the same bracingly great pop songs that have stormed the charts in various stages of the band’s remarkable career - one that saw them dominate the boyband landscape for six years before disbanding in 1996 after Robbie Williams’ fan-shaking departure, then re-emerging as a man-band foursome a decade later to even greater chart success.
This is their first post-reform best-of so no-one could accuse them of releasing yet another greatest hits album.
The problem, perhaps, is that it’s a weird hybrid of original hits and, with Stuart Price on production duty, some major overhauls plus snippets of interviews.
We get a (very good) new version of ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ with Barry Gibb sanctioning it with guest vocals and a (not bad) update of ‘Love Ain’t Here Anymore’ with Boyz II Men in tow.
But the radical Motown-y redo of ‘Everything Changes’ trashes what was originally blissfully perfect pop, as does the jazzy rejig of ‘Relight My Fire’.
On the up side, the deluxe edition is nicely packaged with a gatefold sleeve and colour booklet and I love how disc one starts with a snippet of ‘Never Forget’ before launching into ‘Greatest Day’.
New single ‘Out Of Our Heads’ is also a stonking addition to the Take That canon, as is new track ‘Spin’.
Some fans are social-media-ing about how much they love the “re-imagined” tracks, others are miffed, and I’m somewhere in the middle. (I loathe what they’ve done with a stripped-back ‘Pray’ but love how they’ve beefed up ‘Babe’).
But I guess it’s commendable of Gary Barlow and co to try and do something different and interesting with their back catalogue, however mixed the results may be, rather than just bunging out a best-of that we could compile ourselves in iTunes.