Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams – Shame – Single Review

In the great circle-jerk that is Robbie Williams rejoining the Take That fold, Shame makes perfect sense as a single release.

According to the legend of how Robbie got kicked out of Take That, most of his animosity became concentrated on the squat songwriting genius of Gary Barlow. And in the wake of the reunion, it’s been clear that Williams and Barlow must patch up their differences. All of this, naturally, played out in the media and across the various tabloid pages.

So, how ideal is it that before the original line-up of Take That come together once again, Robbie and Gary have a crack at a song reaffirming their friendship and having a tongue-in-cheek Brokeback Mountain video to overplay the lovefest? I love the idea.

A little less attractive, sadly, is the actual song. It’s been a gripe of mine that Gary Barlow’s songwriting has evolved to the point of being a tad boring. And Shame is a country tinged, crooner of a ballad. It’s all very ‘nice’ and inoffensive, but ultimately it has me longing for a Relight My Fire or a Pray or the energetic campness of their debut album era. I blame whoever coined the term ‘man band’ for the over-maturing of Barlow’s sound.

But even with the minor grumbles, I can’t deny that it’s fun to watch these two perform together, especially since the whole collaboration feels like a nod to the stories about the two reconciling. Regardless, I’ll approach this one as an appetiser for the real reunion. And of course, everybody’s really looking forward to the five-piece touring with the classics again, aren’t they?

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