Take That “Odyssey” is a three decade long love letter to fans

Laurel Kraus, Managing Editor

It’s likely that you’ve never heard of Take That. Aside from being featured in James Corden’s ever-popular Carpool Karaoke, the British pop band has never made it in America despite being rated the second-highest earning boy band of the century by Forbes in 2016.

Currently made up of members Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen, the band began their monumental run for six years in the ‘90s before splitting up and reuniting in 2005.

After eight wildly successful albums over the past three decades, Take That released “Odyssey” on Friday, Nov. 23 in celebration of their 30th anniversary next year. The artistic masterpiece, true to its name, is the ultimate culmination of the band’s journey throughout the years and throughout our lives.

The tracks fit onto two CDs but have been geniusly created to flow together so that the listener can almost not tell where one song ends and the next begins, creating a truly immersive experience.

“Odyssey” features 22 of Take That’s greatest hits, some almost entirely reimagined, three brand new songs and multiple built-in surprises for fans such as audio from old interviews and special messages from the band.

The first song on the album is 2008’s “Greatest Day,” but confuses first-time listeners in the best way when it begins with the first verses of the timeless fan-favorite “Never Forget” from 1995 before seamlessly transitioning.

The album’s three new songs, “Out of Our Heads,” “Spin” and “Everlasting,” each feature a different one of the band’s three remaining members on lead vocals and are largely love songs. Donald’s “Spin” stands apart from the others as a motivational jam.

By far the best reimagining of a song on “Odyssey” is of the 1993 bop “Pray.” The original and “Odyssey” versions are equally as amazing as they are different. Go with the original if you’re looking to get up and dance, but if you’re in a more soulful mood, “Odyssey” offers a complete 180°.

While “Said It All” starts off very similar to its original version with the exception of added harmonizing, it finishes out with a powerful kick. As the lyrics fade, the voices of the band are overlaid on the music, which ultimately proves to be a recording from 1996 when Barlow announced their break up.

“Thanks for everybody’s support in the last five years, you’ve been absolutely fantastic to us, but unfortunately the rumors are true,” listeners can hear him say. “‘How Deep is Your Love’ is gonna be our last single together, and ‘Greatest Hits’ is gonna be our last album. And from today, Take That is no more.”

Barlow’s voice saying “no more” is then echoed and immediately followed with the start of “How Deep is Your Love.”

The album ends with a calmer and more reflective version of Take That’s 2006 hit “Rule the World.” However, in true “Odyssey” fashion, as the song comes to an end, Owen’s voice can suddenly be heard singing a few verses of what can only be considered a love note to fans.

“When we say we gotta go, I know, we’ll meet, with you, again/ Another’s coming but, I know, that I, will be, with you, again/ And when the light begins to fade, I know, I’ll see, you all, again/ Cause even when the music ends, we know, that we, will dance, again.”

Rating: 5/5 stars