Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow - 'Shame'
"Words come easy, when they're true"
That, right there, is the reason why this song is reviewproof. To cast any kind of opinion on this thing, which is a very public hug between two men who used to be in a pop band together, but have spent 15 or so years travelling very different paths, would be like complaining about someone's grammar while they're in the middle of a marriage proposal.
Yes, you get points for detail, but you lose them all back again, and more, for missing what is actually going on.
(Here's the video. Bro Back Mountain)
Not that I was going to administer a kicking in any case. This kind of earnest - but still a bit daft and mocking - pop song is what Robbie tends to do best. Bringing Gary in to share his self-admonishment is a great idea, especially now that Robbie is back in Take That. It basically allows him to let the reunion exist as a meeting of mighty pop forces, rather than a retreat from a mild dip in record sales and a shift in public affection. It says there's a lot to be gained on either side, now that the defenses are coming down.
And this is all about affection. The kind of affection two people share when they know there's a lot of unpleasant history between them, but it's all stuff they have long since stopped caring about. The kind of affection that comes when all the nonsense falls away and all you can see is your brilliant mate, grinning and throwing open his arms.
So, stuff it. I'm not gonna interfere in this very public private moment. Except for one thought:
The Beatles had a song called 'Blackbird', which is a delicate, finger-plucked acoustic guitar thing Paul McCartney wrote in India. It has the gentle chirruping of actual birds on it, as a pastoral backwash. 'Shame' begins with a very similar guitar thing, only instead of birds, there are horses.
I have no idea why this should be the case. Something about being put out to pasture, maybe? Or former rivals in the pop race now walking calmly side by side? Or two old cowpokes riding the range, like in the video. Maybe Robbie just really likes horses. It's a nice touch though.
OH, and has anyone else spotted that the chorus is basically the same chords as Take That's 'Back For Good' with that beautiful aching twist at the end? I bet Robbie has.
The Mix Eclectic says: " On listening to the track for the first time I thought 'meh' and then proceeded to listen to it on repeat 6 times in that same sitting."
Sugar Rushed says: "This may well be one of the most specific songs in pop history."
My Fizzy Pop says: "An entirely delicious semi-country tinged ballad that pairs a pretty melody with some insightful lyrics that could quite easily be describing the bumpy Gary-Robbie relationship of the late 90s ."