Album Reviews

Single Review: Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow – Shame

Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow – ‘Shame’

A simple arpeggiated guitar riff reintroduces Robbie Williams to Gary Barlow, who he abandoned fifteen years ago when Williams left Take That to pursue a solo career. But after all that time, have things changed that much? Take That reunited as a four-piece and became the most successful manband ever, while Williams’ own career has had its ups and downs. From listening to ‘Shame’, you’d never have known the two were apart.

‘Shame’ is the perfect lead single for Robbie Williams’ second compilation album, the forthcoming In and Out of Consciousness, and also silences any doubters about his decision to rejoin the new adult Take That version 2.0. ‘Shame’ is a gorgeous ballad, along the lines of a Barlow classic, with all Williams’ wonderful vocal nuances. In fact, it’s the best non-Take That song Gary Barlow has recorded since the title track from his solo debut, Open Road. As well as that, it’s the best song (aside from ‘Bodies’) Williams has performed on since 2003′s ‘Come Undone’.

‘Shame’ actually captures three things perfectly – it’s all at once a Robbie solo song, a Barlow-penned classic (he has five Ivor Novellos now, don’t you know), as well as being a modern day Take That tune. It wouldn’t sound out of place on either of the grown-up Take That albums. It’s no ‘Greatest Day’, ‘Rule the World’, or ‘Patience’. Those are three of the best pop songs of the past twenty years, but ‘Shame’ is as good as any of the other modern Take That singles. Yes, even ‘Shine’.

I just can’t get enough of the song, with its playful lyrics, and sumptuous melody. It’s understated and never overblown, and the perfect song for people who grew up listening to Robbie, Gary, and Take That, and are now adults themselves. One of the pop singles of 2010.

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

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  1. Graham

    This song is terrible. Robbie has no range and gary should hang his head in shame.
    What about the “toys are us” line, pathetic!
    Get a grip, sack Robbie and get back to making decent music.

  2. Graham: If you feel that way, you must think Robbie never had any range. If so, what’s different now? This isn’t a proper Take That song. It’s a Robbie song featuring Gary Barlow. I’m sure the next Take That album will be more to your liking.

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