Single review: Gary Barlow and Elton John – Face to Face

The second single from Gary Barlow’s new album Since I Saw You Last, Face to Face is a piano driven soft rocker featuring not only a great vocal performance from Gary but also the distinctly powerful vocals music legend Sir Elton John.

The piano riff is bouncy and excited with a ‘ooh-ooh-ooh’ bit that is both simple yet catchy. The song is pent up and drives along to the chorus which acts as an explosive release to the verse before plowing straight back into the relatively minor piano riff.

Speaking about getting the musical icon that is Elton John on board, Gary said: “I called him and said I am going to email you this song. Literally, within an hour he was back saying let’s book a studio, let’s get in there and do it.” The vocals, shared equally between both Gary and Elton, were recorded at the world famous Abbey Road Studio in less than 10 minuets.

Onto the subject matter: while you could be forgiven for believing this was just a throwaway and largely meaningless song, Face to Face is actually quite a personal track to both musicians. It explains how Elton John stuck by Gary after the breakup of boyband Take That in 1996 and in the several long ‘dark years’ that followed.

Speaking about the how single is dedicated to his musical mentor and duet partner Elton John, Gary said: “I can count on the fingers of one hand the people who kept in touch with me when nobody else wanted to know me and he was one of them. I’ll never forget that.”

Face to Face will be released on January 20th.

You can read my review of Gary Barlow’s new album Since I Saw You Last here, and a review of the first single Let Me Go here.

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