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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 25 reviews
on February 19, 2011
I LOVE this album.

I've never been a fan of Take That...traditional boyband stuff was just never my thing -

HOWEVER, I did fall in with once-former-now-returned Robbie Williams' solo work some ten years ago, when he began with his guitar-rooted, Oasis-emulating phase (loved them as a teenager) and he is probably the reason I came around to liking straight-up pop music at all (as opposed/in addition to popular & classic rock bands and indie). He's interesting, he's evolved, very flawed and philosophical about it - and LOVES to talk about this with lyrics that are poetry (occasionally somewhat bad poetry, lol - but if you love him, it's enjoyable regardless) - and his best vocal moments are very raw & emotionally genuine. He appreciates a lot of pop genres - past , present & future - and plays around with them all, and has been incredibly successful with that approach pretty much everywhere but in the US.

ANYWAY - this album marks the return of Robbie to the fold of Take That - the band he quit/was fired from 15 years ago due to his substance abuse problems, forcing the band itself to break up shortly thereafter. Robbie of course went on to become a huge solo star - and the band ultimately reformed without him around 2006 and made some great records, evolved from their old cheesy stuff, but still pretty much bland adult contemporary (in my opinion) - though of high quality. Remarkable was that this band - 90% a dance act that got their start in gay clubs and wooed teen girls across the globe - made the leap from being typical manufactured dance/harmony-bots and began to take control of their own creative destiny and become a true band, more than a decade after they'd disbanded.

Robbie's return has brought further legitimacy to their control over their work, and there's a lot of his flavor on the record. He's always had an ability to deal with complex ideas in a simple, catchy, mass-consumable way (which shows more intelligence, not less, for not being esoteric, in my opinion). It's why he's a huge pop star.

Thanks to Rob (and to the chagrin of some TT fans, probably), this is not an album that panders to a swooning audience, but showcases the points-of-view & experiences of its makers. And they are a bunch of British guys with working class roots, aged 37-42, contemplating aging, social anxiety, mature relationships, their collective pop past and the fate of the weird world we all now live in. Many songs have a lot of Robbie's trademark paranoia, grit & darkness lodged within, but the songs are still polished into fine pop confections - many dancey & beat-driven with a couple of bigger ballads. The harmonies they excel at persist, and you can tell it's not truly the Robbie Show - everyone bought in to the 'Progress' concept, contributed, and is having a great time with it. It's a fun pop record, which works on both shallow & deeper levels.

After a great flow of tracks from "The Flood" to "Underground Machine", 'Progress' hits a bit of a wall with "What Do You Want From Me" - Mark Owen's song, which could've used more refinement from its slightly too raw & personal state. It's a bit of stumbling block to get past, with the remainder of the album's tracks - except the sappy glory of "Eight Letters" - notably lacking Robbie's songwriting vigor. But at that point, if you've fallen for the redemptive story of the reformation of Take That, you overlook weakness and are interested to hear the stripped down POVs Gary, Mark, Howard & Jason have to contribute, too.

It's a really good album if you like strong pop albums. It's a GREAT album if you're a Robbie fan, and/or are willing to dive into the overall Take That story behind it all.
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on January 22, 2011
This album is not a publicity stunt. It is the refined talent of a boy-band that somehow became the best mainstream music writing team and production team in their genre. The title and cover eludes to each member's growth to create a blend of style sound and harmony that redefines reunions. Reunited superstar Robbie Williams brings an enormous music career and musical/lyrical maturity into a band that had been reunited and relevant but lacking direction. His energy and creativity combined with the united talent of four unique singers as well as songwriters has presented us with a unusually dynamic, fun, thought provoking, emotional, listen loud till your ears hurt record. Robbie Williams defined himself after he went down the waterfall of his first album and gave the entertainment world a sole honest voice. Take That continues a melody that brings maturity to pop culture for weary hearts to hear voices that sing past the shallow parts of thoughts and the dullness of over-produced, short-lived prima donnas that walk a wasteland of empty music. Demand music this good_
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on November 21, 2016
Just loved all the songs on this album!! As a new Take That fan this was the perfect start of my collection! While each song was different in style , the whole record flowed. Amazing job!!
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on March 19, 2013
This is another "boy band" that has improved with age! They have magnificent harmonies ... even better when you listen to them live! Will their music ever be available in our country? Or will we have to continue to purchase IMPORTS? If you haven't listened to TAKE THAT lately, this is the CD for you.
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on August 14, 2017
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on January 30, 2011
I have been a huge Robbie fan since the "Ego Landed" in the states. When I heard he rejoined the group I was concerned. While I do enjoy Take That, their styles had developed so differently, and I was worried that Robbie might lose his individuality. They have all done a great job on this album. Robbie's voice and style are all over Progress. I look forward to future projects.
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on May 4, 2016
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on July 3, 2013
not sure why this was never released in the states. great album. songs never get tiresome...even after a few listens. if you like pop music, this album is a must-have.
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on May 24, 2014
Great album, I keep playing it over and over in the car. I hope they put out another together soon!!
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on June 22, 2015
very good
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