Imagine a potato with a vaguely perplexed expression drawn on it in marker pen. Imagine an uncle at a wedding, five pints in, shouting at the DJ to pipe down because he wants to play the newlyweds a song on the piano, even though both bride and groom hate him. Imagine a big tin of beige paint that will do anything to get a knighthood.
Gary Barlow is charmless in every respect, a tax-avoiding, crushingly dull sycophant that has somehow weasled his way into the hearts of this Brexit-voting nation. And now he has a new song out.
Despite my dislike for Barlow, I was pepped to give Take That’s new track a fair shot. But while I wasn’t hoping for a grime reinvention, or a woke ‘purposeful pop’ glo-up a la Katy Perry, I was expecting something a bit more than the embarrassingly bland ‘Giants’, a track that makes Coldplay sound like Iron Maiden.
‘Giants’ is surely proof that Barlow is not the great songwriter that the gutter press and all moms hail him as. Sloppy, tedious lyrics void of any meaning sung in a smug, breathy lilt give way to an expansive, completely empty chorus that sounds like it’s missing all its major components. ‘Giants’ is a song that sounds like it’s had all of the personality huffed right out of it, leaving only the most basic, lowest common denominator scraps that even Radio 2 listeners might find a little on the bland side.
What’s extra frustrating is that Take That’s new promo shots frame them as psychedelic sun-gods, the artwork heavily reminiscent of Empire of the Sun and MGMT. The sad thing is, Barlow probably doesn’t see much of a difference between his new track and theirs. ‘Giants’ is derived from a sound that went out of fashion around the time of Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’ and based on an aesthetic that isn’t even ironically cool any more. But then that probably isn’t something that will upset Take That’s fanbase too much.
‘Giants’ is more watered down pop for people who don’t much like music but also don’t like to be in the car without something to distract them from the impending divorce. Tired, boring and predictable – expect it to go top 5 before the month is up.