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Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow - 'Shame'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:43 UK time, Thursday, 7 October 2010

Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow

"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.

Four stars Download: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

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 ."


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    A delicate country tinged ballad , with a memorable chorus , intelligent and funny use of wordplay , and a wonderful video , which veers on the right side of parody .

    A cracking single , that really paves a wonderful foundation for the Take That reunion .

    Blanket radio play , an assured top 5 hit , this is an excellent tool to help carve the coming months .

    What a shame , Cee - Lo Green could tamper with the Bromance !

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm very happy! Robble Williams return to Take That. in latest, Robble Williams and Gary Barlow a song "Shame" are very excellent! I wait the co-operate of Robble Williams and Take That in more next days. example: concert, TV show and interview in the media......

  • Comment number 5.

    A 30 second snippet of 'The Flood' was released today. 'Tis vairrr good.

  • Comment number 6.

    The whole song is rather good too .

  • Comment number 7.

    Ooer! LINK PLEASE.

  • Comment number 8.

    Where have you been Oddie? The Flood was played yesterday morning on Radio 1 (and probably every other radio station in the country) at about 8:40. It was everywhere yesterday! The 30-second preview was just for the video.

    Anyway, it's an awesome, epic song, as expected. That's all you need to know :)

  • Comment number 9.


    Skip to 2:07.00 and The Flood is there - if you can put up with Moyles talking over the first 20 seconds :P (although he has to do that for copyright and all that). I wouldn't bother looking for it on Youtube just yet.

  • Comment number 10.

    Thanks kutox, I found it on YouTube as well, some good quality videos too. Not surprisingly a lot of them have been removed, but there seems to be a steady stream of them being uploaded. :L

    Oh, and because my school day is about 10 hours long (starting at 6:40 and ending at around 5:15) I wouldn't have been able to listen to the radio at all. Sad times.

  • Comment number 11.

    Yikes, that's long. Most of my days consist of sitting at my computer all day - quite a difference there. I suppose with all this free time on my hands, I should be contributing to chartblog's discussion more than anyone! I'll try to get some discussion going more often.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yeah but please give JLS a break Kutie !


  • Comment number 13.

    Ok . let's get some good discussion going !

    What are peoples 10 favourite songs at the moment ?

    Here are mine .


    A fantastic string section heralds the release of my favourite track off the album . Seeing Ben live on Monday night . Excitement builds !


    The stand out track from their fourth album and a slow burning gem .
    I am set to see this band loads of times in the next few months.


    It's always heart warming to have a name check in the title of a song .
    Even better when the song has a soaring chorus like this !
    Will see her live on Wednesday.


    A huge comeback single with a memorable chorus . An inspired production too .


    Tomorrows number 1 and deservedly so .


    A glorious , addictive little pop nugget !


    A brooding uplifting track , from their number 1 album .

    8) THE XX - INTRO

    That little tuneful , dark melody , that signals the start of their Mercury Prize winning album , is truly special .


    Loving the punky edge to this comeback single .

    10) HURTS - STAY

    Haunting and melodic . In a very good way.

    What do you think ?

    Please share your loves people !

  • Comment number 14.

    Heheh, I was just about to try and discuss people's favourite albums :) I'll save that for tomorrow. Singles for now

  • Comment number 15.

    Wooo! List time! My Top 10. I'm really loving 'The Flood', 'Hands' and The XX too, Spirit! :)


    I will openly admit that I love Enrique's new single after the awful 'I Like It'. Most people view this as bland or underwhelming but I think it's a gorgeous '90s influenced dance ballad. Enrique and Nicole both display the perfect amount of vulnerability in their vocals and their voices gel well together in this breezy and slightly epic love song.

    2) 3OH!3 - DOUBLE VISION

    I mightn't like 3OH!3 much but they have yet again infiltrated my brain with this extremely catchy earworm in the same vein as 'Don't Trust Me' and 'Starstrukk' did. The chorus, the verses, the production and even the vocals are just so catchy and energetic and are begging for you to press repeat. It's a shame they didn't release this in Summer instead of the God-awful 'My First Kiss'.


    This is from the 'Eclipse' soundtrack but don't let the sparkly vampires put you off the sheer amazingness of this song. Against static guitars, Emily Haines sings in one of the most melodic, heavenly voices I have ever heard.


    I've harped on about Sky enough here. Naturally, I'm still loving this robotic yet vulnerable yet uplifting track.


    Probably the only single released this year that manages to be fun, energetic, contemporary, innuendo filled, charming, well sang and not being electropop.

    There was a discussion over on Unreality Shout between OddOne and site creator Gerard McGarry about Eminem no longer being any fun. I agree for the most part but I do think 'Recovery' is a solid album and this vulnerable number, mainly thanks to the uncredited chorus vocalist, is one of the standouts from the album. THIS. NEEDS. TO. BE. A. SINGLE. Along with 'Talkin' 2 Myself'. Forget Rihanna and Lil' Wayne.


    Alright, so this song is starting to grate on me. It should be out of my Top 10 next week.


    This more commercial offering from Ms. Ferreira needs to be a hit.


    I haven't been able to get into MCR's new single yet so I turned to these punks with this perfect air guitar, head banging number.


    Such an energetic song. I think I've fallen in love with Gwen Stefani through her voice. No Doubt need to come back stat and shake up this boring music industry...or else I call for a renaissance in 1990s music. Please God, I beg of you!

  • Comment number 16.

    Is that a list I see! Let me join in!

    1) High and Dry - Radiohead
    Every so often I seem to go through a bit of a Radiohead phase and this time things all seemed to fit together better than usually, it's near impossible to say that OK Computer and The Bends aren't brilliant albums and this song is one of the highlights from the latter album. I still don't see why Thom Yorke hates this song so much it's just brilliant.

    2) Lost In The World - Kanye West feat. Bon Iver
    Another brilliant track from Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album, serious album of the year potential with this one, this time sampling 'Woods' by folky critics-favourite Bon Iver. Every album Kanye has something up his sleeve that just destroys the rest of the competition in rap, e.g: Stronger, Gold-digger, Welcome To Heartbreak and Jesus Walks, and judging by the leak 'unfinished' version this could easily be it.

    3) Finale - Funeral Party
    Loved NYC Moves To The Sound of LA and was pleasantly suprised when I saw them at Leeds Festival this year by how many good songs they actually had. This one sounds like a definate future single and possibly future hit, definate set closer material here.

    4) Skinny Love - Bon Iver
    Not only does he make great music but Kanye West also introduces me to great artists, Skinny Love is a piece of brilliantly crafted acoustic pop. Completely timeless.

    5) Mr Flick - King Charles
    Read about him on a board talking about hotly-tipped acts for 2011, best to get your suggestion in early to avoid looking like bandwagon jumpers, and this guy caught my eye for the shear amount of people recommending him. This track is the B-Side from his Love Lust single, Love Lust is probably a better track but this deserves a mention purely for the riff which is amazing! Give it a listen if you like some outgoing pop/rock.

    6) In The Fade - Queens Of The Stone Age
    Managed to get hold of the 10th Anniversary version of Rated R and it stills sound brilliant and exciting today, this is my favourite from the album and possibly my favourite QOTSA song of all time, excluding No One Knows obviously.

    7) Domcamatic - Gorillaz feat. Daley
    A fun one-off single from Gorillaz which sounds better on every listen, Daley has a really exciting voice and the backing track has the right balance of experimentation and accesibility. Would be nice to have some Albarn on the vocals though.

    8) Dance Yrself Clean - LCD Soundsystem
    Listened to this album again last night and decided it deserves a place in my top five for the year. This is one of the album's highlights; 9 minutes of LCD at his best, even my mum likes it.

    9) Barbra Streisand - Duck Sauce
    BARBRA STREISAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    10) Forget You - Cee Lo Green
    Who doesn't love this track? It's everything a pop song should be; clever, funny and unbelievably catchy. Glad this got to no.1 instead of Barlow and Williams, that song is worse than bad.

  • Comment number 17.

    So many great tracks Harry . "Skinny Love " is suserb ! High and Dry is one of my favourite Radiohead songs . And Randy , " Heartbeat " is a guilty pleasure of mine too . x

  • Comment number 18.

    My Ten:

    1) Tinie Tempah + Ellie Goulding - Wonderman

    So happy this is the next single. This is just brilliant.

    2) Cee lo Green - Forget You

    The uncensored version of course!

    3) Professor Green - Monster ft. Example

    Much better than that awful 'Just be good to green'

    4) Tinie Tempah ft. Eric Turner - Written in the Stars

    Still A great song, starting to lose its catchy-ness, especially since Fraser pointed out the huge breathing from Eric Turner.

    5) Swedish House Mafia vs. Tinie Tempah - Miami 2 Ibiza

    Yes, I am a Tinie fan.

    6) Labrinth - Let the Sun Shine

    Not what I expected from him in terms of style. After hearing what he's done with Tinie I expected something completely different but this is amazing.

    7) Tinchy Stryder ft. Taio Cruz - Second Chance

    MUCH better than 'In My System'. MUCH better.

    8) Devlin - Runaway ft. Yasmin

    I do not know why I like this so much. But I do.

    9) Ting Tings - Hands

    It's sad that this won't chart high. I don't want them to be a one hit wonder.

    10) Kanye West - Power

    Still great.

  • Comment number 19.

    The Ting Tings one hit wonders ? They have had 2 top 10 hits Nicholas ! Thats not my Name and Shut Up and Let Me Go . I do like your ten choices though . Lol

  • Comment number 20.

    I am off to see Plan B now . So excited about hearing The Recluse live !

  • Comment number 21.

    Before I do actually go . Back For Good is a classic pop single with substance that has stood the test of time . Ok now I am gone !

  • Comment number 22.

    Shut up and let me go wasn't on the success level of 'That's not my name'

  • Comment number 23.

    MY TURN!

    1) Brandon Flowers - 'Only The Young'

    Yum. After the dubious 'Crossfire', Brandon has knocked out on of the standouts from his first solo LP 'Flamingo'. It's a laid-back, restrained, mid-tempo soft rock song about how "Only the young can break away". A dollop of religious lyricism sung with stunning clarity and emotion, and a plodding drum beat make this a sterling single choice.

    2) HURTS - 'Better Than Love'

    It's amazing. Still one of the best songs on HURTS' début album 'Happiness'. It's Depechemode crica. 'Black Celebration'-esque synth melodies and deliciously dark bassline thump along to a hugely catchy song that steams through proceedings, straight into the pre-chorus and on into the uplifting lyrics on the real chorus. "Turn away, turn away/And closew your eyes/You can never change".

    3) Take The - 'The Flood'

    A brilliant comeback single from the newly-reformed five-piece. I think it's unanimous when I say this has been a long time coming: after the money-maker 'Shame', it's great to see all the boys back in full pop action. perfect lyrical context and an excellent production form none-other than Stuart Price that even spirit has succumbed to. :L

    3) HURTS - 'Stay'

    It's much more commercial than their last amazing effort 'Wonderful Life', as the lyrics are far more accessible and relate to more people than the post-suicidal man in 'Wonderful Life'. Unfortunately, they release in the same week as JLS, Katy Perry, P!nk, and Take That, so I can see this slipping straight under the radar unless Radio 1 give them the support they need. It's a brilliant single choice.

    4) Mark Ronsons & The Business Intl. ft. Andrew Wyatt & Rose Elinor Dougall - 'You Gave Me Nothing'

    For me, this is the standout from 'Record Collection', and I' very dissappointed the awful 'Somebody To Love' has been chosen as the third single over this. It's a raging R&B/electro stomping where the two singer battle it off to see who was to blame for the demise of their relationship. It's a one on one fight to the fade-out finale that never let's up, a must-be-a-single song if ever there was one.

    5) Katy Perry - 'Firework'

    So happy this is the next single from the comparitively disappointing 'Teenage Dream', it's released on November 15 and shows Katy at her bellowing best. With a monolithic vocal performance, Katy alikens her lover to a firework going off and making everyone notice. it's an unusually upbeat production from Stargate and it's warming strings and actually very clever lyrics add up to make a brilliant pop single. Surely a bit of clever business was done when the chose to release it around Guy Fawkes' Night and Halloween?

    6) Florence + The Machine - 'Heavy In Your Arms'

    Oddly, this song has grown on me immensely. Unsure about it's release over 'Strangeness & Charm', but it's actually very good. Not too sure about it being a lead single though. It takes a while to "get into it", so the GP may not apprecoiate it as much as I do, mind you, I love me a bit of Florence.

    7) Duck Sauce - 'Barbra Streisand'

    Well, it'll be ncier to hear people shout "BARBRA STREISAND" at random moments than that stupid "BA BA AMERICANO", shall we concur?

    8) Pendulum - 'Crush'

    After 'Watercolour' I was worried Pendulum were losing it a little bit; that thing that made them better than The Prodigy (in my opinion). But thankfully, when 'Immersion' arrived, subesquent single 'Witchcraft', and now 'Crush' have restored my faith. Annoyingly, it's set up for an Australian release on December 6, yet no word on a UK release. Wikipedia says we're getting 'Self vs. Self' (a duet with In Flames), but for some reason other than the fact it's Wikipedia, I really can't see that happening.

    9) Marina & The Dioamonds - 'Shampain'

    So good! I love the fact the instrumentation has a lot more body to it the her other songs, which insist on a staccato piano intro. I still having watched the video though, because it mucks up whenever I watch that video. Very annoying as I'm told it's very good, and from the still's it looks like I'm missing out on a lot.

    10) Joe McElderry - 'Ambitions'

    Yes, I'm shocked too.

  • Comment number 24.

    Apologies to Take That, because I spelt your name wrong in a bought of dyslexic confusion. :L

  • Comment number 25.

    Excellent choices Oddie and some great upbeat articulate writing . I need to correct myself too . The new My Chemical Romance single is called "Na Na Na " . Lovin everyones lists .



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