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Album Review

Gary Barlow received the honor of being selected by the Queen — or, more likely, a committee representing the Queen — to write a song to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. And so the former Take That singer enlisted Andrew Lloyd Webber as his collaborator for "Sing," a proudly treacly piece of patriotic middlebrow pop, a song puffed up with pomp, circumstance, and sentiment, all elements amplified by a choir of Military Wives who lend their skills to the version by the Commonwealth Band. There's a version that only has Barlow — he also gets the spotlight on a cover of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," the tune representing the brightest jewel in the Commonwealth's pop crown — but this EP is all about ceremony, so it's best when there are many voices obscuring our leader, particularly when they're singing hallowed songs of country like "Land of Hope and Glory," "God Save the Queen," and even "Amazing Grace." This will not appeal to any listeners who like their pop to be frivolous, but those who flipped for Elton John's Di-dedicated "Candle in the Wind" will be right at home.

Biography

Genre: Pop

With an eventful career echoing the trajectory of a roller coaster, pop vocalist Gary Barlow, the linchpin of Britain's biggest-ever boy band, Take That, struggled to compete with the success of the group's most tabloid-friendly member, Robbie Williams, before a phenomenal reunion restored his reputation as one of Britain's most accomplished songwriters. Born in Frodsham, Cheshire in 1971, Barlow was inspired to start playing the keyboard after watching a performance of Depeche Mode's "Just Can't...
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Sing, Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band
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