Time for us to watch the ink dry on the Article 50 of new album releases. Which new records are ploughing £350 million a week into the NHS (flying pig, anyone?)? Which are severing all ties with the civilised world so that we might exist in a lawless cesspit of race hate eating adequately-curved bananas? Let's find out...
It has been a very Take That heavy week thus far. First, there was their slightly excruciating self-deprecation on Comic Relief. Next, there was the revelation that Gary Barlow has snagged himself a role in the latest Star Wars movie, presumably as some form of consultant advising which Death Star expenses can be subjected to a little taxation jiggery pokery. To top it all off, they have a new album out entitled Wonderland. This is the band's eighth album overall and their second as a trio, having rid themselves of Robbie 'I'm John Lennon in my head' Williams and Jason 'TweedleBez' Orange.
The album's content can only be described as dancy detritus. Title track Wonderland is a collage of nonsense – part cultural misappropriation, part Prince pseudo-tribute, part letter to be sent back in time to their 90s selves warning that their talent and musical reach would never develop. Lucky Stars audaciously dusts off and wheels out Cher's robotic voice changer in a harrowing nod to pop history. Suicide-trivialising track Superstar is the token 'think piece' about the music industry which posits a day when Take That may not be around any more. The teasing sirens. These are songs for placard-wielding dullards who would turn up on cue to listen to Take That sing a complete history of barrel manufacture in the Southern hemisphere. The content is completely irrelevant – the band are going to repeatedly beat you in the face with their brand until they've extracted your £9.99 then it's “see you in two years”.
To pick up the sci-fi theme once more, Take That are starting to feel like the Bilbo Baggins of music to me. They had an adventure a long time ago, slayed some dragons, made a decent fist of singing in the rain and lit some fires with Lulu. Now, they're just sitting around like withering Bilbo, mumbling about the old days. No-one has the heart to tell them to head off to the West so we just have to watch them crumble, song by interminable song. Wonderland is a truly abysmal album – empty hooks, bland melodies, repetitive lyrics, literally no memorable content whatsoever. I think a ringwraith mauling is long overdue.
Also this week, we have Mansionz by mansionz (I wonder how long that title took them to think up). I must confess to a girlish guffaw of glee when I saw this album. As I said in our review of 2016, I Took A Pill In Ibiza by Mike Posner was a song that took my life by storm last year – 'my jam' is I believe the condiment-themed nomenclature du jour. mansionz is a collaboration between the aforementioned Posner and Matthew Musto, aka blackbear. It is the duo's first studio album together but they have a combined four in their respective back catalogues.
The reason I like I Took A Pill In Ibiza so much was that it showed another side to an artist who up until then had come across as being quite egotistical. It is a self-critical glance at a life lived in the spotlight, an honest declaration that even those to whom we bestow reverence are just as fallible as we mere mortals. Unfortunately, Mansionz does little to maintain this illusion. Whilst condemning Rich White Girls, it is mansionz that come off as shallow and misogynistic. My Beloved carries a very similar message in a song about a relationship built exclusively on physical intimacy. I think the song Dennis Rodman pretty much sums it up. If your idol is a man who has multiple drink driving convictions, was a strong Donald Trump advocate and whose most recent foray into the news was being charged with hit and run after driving the wrong way down a freeway, perhaps you need to have another crack at your vision board. Some of the melodies and samples on the album work very well but it is very hard to get past the lyrical posturing to anything of any substance.
Then again, I might be wrong. I am a Musical Moron, after all...
We've taken enough
Posner believes once more that
He's cooler than me
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