When the clock struck twelve on January 1, 1990 across each time zone in the US to usher in a new decade, it appears like some unsavory force of nature locked the “sound” of the previous decade as well as the potential of the artists from that decade in a vault, and threw the keys into the ocean. Fortunately, the power of that force was only really felt in the US. The media had started to reject the sound of 80s music and make dismissive comments about it being corny, cheesy, and riddled with cliches. There appeared to be an embarrassment associated with acknowledging the music of that glorious era (i.e. the 80s). It became trendier to associate our musical palates with emerging genres of music such as grunge and rap. This phenomenon was more widespread in the US. While the UK did create its own breed of inventive new musical genres, its artists did not feel ashamed of embracing the sound of the 80s and making it their own even in the 90s. In fact, one of Britain’s biggest acts of all time did exactly that on a little-known track in the early phases of their musical career – at a time when they fitted comfortably within the realms of the teeny bopper musical spectrum. That track is called “Waiting Around” and the band that wrote and performed it was none other than Manchester quintet/boyband Take That.
Take That was “put together” by Nigel Martin-Smith as Britain’s version of the New Kids Of The Block at the beginning of the 90s – a time at which musical “freshness” was associated with NOT sounding like artists from the 80s. Yet, the band kicked off some of their earlier performances with a track that sounds like the musical twin of “Together Forever” by Rick Astley by Rick Astley. The song, “Waiting Around” has a sound which borrows heavily from the elements that characterized the production of the songwriting/production powerhouse trio of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Peter Waterman (popularly known by the acronym SAW). Yet, the first artist that comes to mind on hearing this song is Rick Astley. In fact, if you watch the full-length clip of this song on youtube, you will see several comments saying “Rick Astley called, he wants his song back!!!!”. Don’t take our word for it. Check out the two clips below. The similarities between the two songs are uncanny.
Here is “Together Forever” by Rick Astley:
And THIS is “Waiting Around” by Take That (please forgive the low audio volume)!
Take That has come a long way musically from a sound that was incredibly dated (most notably on “Waiting Around”). But even as we look back at this song, it is hard to deny the appeal of the inherent catchiness of the song as well as lead singer Gary Barlow’s youthful vocals. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Take That record a modern version of this song without the dated “high NRG” synthesized drum beats of an era long gone? I have to confess to only recently stumbling on to this song after Take That member Robbie Williams made a reference to this song in an interview with the rest of his bandmates. I then sent myself into a guilt-ridden stupor as I listened to this song on repeat. It also gave me the idea of an evening wherein I lay back on the sofa, turn up the stereo, queue up every “high NRG” piece of early 90s European pop that I can get my hands on and play the entire list on high volume while sipping a glass of my favorite wine, visiting partycasino.com, and hoping that the evening never ends. Now wouldn’t you want to do something similar? Let us know by commenting below and also feel free to give us ideas on other “90s flashbacks” such as “Waiting Around” by Take That!