Since I Saw You Last is the fourth solo studio album released by British singer-songwriter Gary Barlow. The album was released by Polydor Records on 22 November 2013 in Ireland, and on 25 November in the United Kingdom. It is Barlow's first full-length solo album in fourteen years, following 1999's Twelve Months, Eleven Days. It features a range of genres, described by Barlow as a mixture of pop, folk pop and alternative. The album's lead single, "Let Me Go", was released a week before the album, and became Barlow's 21st UK top 3 single. The album debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart.
Following the success of a series of solo concerts over the past two years, Barlow announced plans to release his first solo studio album in fourteen years. The album was released on 25 November 2013, and this is to be followed by a live tour in 2014. The album was confirmed to feature a duet with Elton John on the track Face to Face on 24 September 2013. Regarding "Let Me Go", Barlow said, "I've always liked folky, acoustic music, but I've never fully explored it. I turned back time and was listening to Johnny Cash and early Elton John before I wrote 'Let Me Go'. I'm 42; I don't want to do urban or dance music. I love Mumford & Sons—it's good, English music, but let's be honest, they got it off Johnny Cash too."
Barlow cites that after the release of Twelve Months, Eleven Days, he stopped singing as he walked away from the limelight. He said, "I never even sang in my own studio; I was telling myself [that] I don't need to be an artist anymore; I started as a songwriter." However, after the success of the Take That reunion, he felt that he had to face his demons and right the wrongs he felt took hold of his last full studio album. He said, "The one thing I was dreading was that the last album would be on my shoulder the whole time I made this one, but it wasn't—it was flushed out really quickly. I’m not haunted by that time. My experience 14 years ago was completely different from now. The last album I made was so laden with people telling me who I should sound like that I listen back now and think 'Who's that?', but Since I Saw You Last was easy to make; there's a lot of my life on this record."
"Let Me Go" was released as the album's lead single on 15 November 2013, debuting at number three in the UK Singles Chart becoming Barlow's 21st UK top 3 single. The following week, it rose to number two and was certified Silver by the BPI two weeks later for UK sales of over 200,000 copies.
The album debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, behind One Direction's third album Midnight Memories, selling 116,000 copies. It became the fastest selling album of 2013 to miss out on the top spot, while also selling more copies in its first week than Barlow's Take That bandmate Robbie Williams' album Swings Both Ways, which sold 109,000 copies the previous week to claim the top spot. The following week, the album sold a further 77,358 copies in the UK., In its third week of release, it once again broke the 100,000 sales mark, with 105,344 sales. In its fourth week of sales, the album sold a further 116,730 copies, up 10.81% from the previous week, and passed sales of 500,000 in the UK with a further 79,000 sold the week after. The album was certified 2x Platinum in the UK at the beginning of 2014 with sales of 652,342 in the UK alone. The album also became Barlow's second top 10 album in Germany, achieving similar chart success to his debut record, Open Road.
Upon its release, Since I Saw You Last received a mixed to positive response from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 54, based on 29 reviews, which indicates "Mixed or average reviews."The Metro awarded the album 4 stars, calling "Barlow’s first solo LP proper since 1999 [a] showcase [of] a very, very good songwriter indeed, someone who knows how to knock up a sturdy verse, bridge, chorus and middle-eight as readily as any lauded 1970s troubadour. Some lyrics touch on the subject of Barlow’s clinical depression after leaving Take That, like the rather ponderous, drumless ballad Dying Inside. But generally, these songs tend to work as self-medication, as exhortations to transform your life – the best example being Jump, a rather lovely ballad co-written with Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley."The Metro concluded by stating "Since I Saw You Last resounds with exuberant pop rock songwriting, including latest single Let Me Go, Requiem (co-written with reconciled Take That buddy Robbie Williams) and Face To Face (a glammy stomper with Elton John). It’s catchy and unabashedly mainstream, and it also feels like a moment he’s been waiting for. The Daily Express praised the album and awarded it 5 stars by stating: "Since I Saw You Last is a curiously complex, occasionally courageous record [that] is almost impossible to absorb in one listen. Two tracks in particular; God and Dying Inside are easily the finest pieces he's ever written. The review goes on to comment on "the searching, enigmatic feel worked out over sublime piano playing and sung with a passion rarely heard in any of his previous work.
Since I Saw You Last – Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)
Barlow, James Maddock
"The Song I'll Never Write"
Barlow, Andrew Frampton, Steve Kipner
The album is available in three different formats: standard 12 track CD/digital download, 15 track deluxe CD/digital download, and collector's box set available exclusively from Gary Barlow's official webstore, with a 24-page collector's booklet and an art print all collected together in a presentation box.