McFly and Busted have been linked together for a variety of reasons over the course of their careers. Busted broke up in 2005 after the departure of member Charlie Simpson, whereas McFly were on their way up the charts. In September 2013 Matt Willis and James Bourne from Busted appeared on stage with McFly to perform some songs during McFly’s 10th anniversary celebrations. Shortly after those shows, the two bands announced a joint 2014 tour under the name McBusted. Following the huge success of that McBusted has this week released their debut album.
On paper McBusted sounds like it should be a sure thing doesn’t it? Back in their day Busted were huge and McFly have notched up plenty of hits over the years. The first single from their self-titled album, Air Guitar, looked destined to smash the Top 10 but there was a bit of surprise when the song peaked at number 13. Is there really a demand for original material from McBusted or did the nostalgia for the two groups drive the demand for their live shows?
McBusted is an awkward mix of songs that sound like they could have been from Busted’s hey day and songs that suggest the band could have gone in a more mature direction. Presumably the mix of styles is to ensure fans of the groups don’t feel lost and that new fans have something a little different to grab on to. The opening double whammy of Air Guitar and I Hate Your Guts featuring Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus give you instant familiarity with both sounding like early songs from Busted and McFly.
Some of the stronger moments on the album come when the band drop their teenage angst stylings such as the rousing Get Over It, the radio-friendly ballad Gone, and the acoustic Beautiful Girls Are The Loneliest. Album closer Getting It Out sees the supergroup taking inspiration from The Beatles but provides one of the highlights on the record.
Unfortunately the record is hampered by too many songs that feel too contrived. Neither of the bands is as young as they used to be and it doesn’t feel authentic for them to be going down the Blink-182 route that they used to milk in their hey day. Songs like Before You Knew Me and How’s My Hair are pure filler and sound like a whole heap of other bands.
McBusted isn’t the great pop record that we had hoped it would be. McFly had really started to evolve in more recent years but this project feels like a step back for them. Busted need McFly more than McFly need Busted and the fusion of the two bands doesn’t really work for us. We really wanted to love this record but the lack of cohesion and the faux-punk rock tracks left us completely cold.