McBusted, the band, is what happens when two bands with overlapping fan bases, McFly and Busted, decide to join forces and form a band that no one wants. It’s a blatant cash grab that would be easy to write-off, if all six of its members weren’t having so much fun.
Even so, McBusted the album doesn’t completely work. McFly and Busted always worked very close together and helped write each other’s songs. However, they were two separate entities with similar, but distinct styles. McFly was a Beach Boy influenced pop-rock band with naughty lyrics, while Busted was a Simple Plan-ish band with naughtier lyrics. When you let 10 years pass and then mix those elements together, you get an album that fits at home with the current teenybopper music scene, which consists of One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer. Only, it’s way more disjointed and aimed toward disappointed adults who would have rather seen the completed McFly album released than that band merge with Busted, which had been dead for nearly 10 years.
Few songs on the album sound they come from the new entity that is McBusted. “Air Guitar”, “Gone,” and “Sensitive Guy” blend elements from its two predecessors. “Air Guitar” exists solely to be a fun song that will get stuck in your head for days. “Gone” sounds like Get Your Heart On- The Second Coming era Simple Plan, which is exactly what a grown up pop-punk band should sound like. Unfortunately, McBusted didn’t get the memo and appears to have hit the sweet spot on accident. As for “Sensitive Guy,” it’s a fairly generic pop-punk song.
The songs that sound most like Busted are “Hate Your Guts,” “Before You Knew Me,” “How’s My Hair?,” “23:59,” and “I See Red.” “Hate Your Guts” proves that the men in McBusted are too old to be writing lyrics like “I hope the battery dies on your phone” and “That your favorite TV show fails to record.” The same writing style is present in “Before You Knew Me,” which works because it’s pop culture references, which are over 10 years old, are purposely out of touch. McBusted clearly sings “You were S Club 7, now you look like a Slipnot junkie,” “We were Brangelina, now we’re looking more like Speidi,” and “You were Oops I Did It, now you’re like a shaven Britney” with tongue fully in cheek. “How’s My Hair?,” “23:59,” and “I See Red,” (which sounds like New Found Glory with Bowling For Soup-eque lyrics_, contain the same immature catchy pop-punk present in the former two songs. Had these songs come out in the early-2000s as a follow up to Busted’s A Present for Everyone, they would seem brilliant to my 13-year-old self.
There are only a few songs that would be at home on a McFly album. They’re also not very good because McFly either ends up sounding like One Direction or pop-punk kids trying to write club tunes. “Get Over It,” “Back in Time,” and “Getting It Out” should have been given to One Direction to use on their album Four. “Riding On My Bike” and “In Da Club” should have been tossed in the rubbish bin with McFly’s electropop album Above the Noise. At their heart, McFly is a pop-rock band with an emphasis on rock. When they venture into dance music and club bangers, they fail miserably.
The remaining two songs, “What Happened to Your Band?” and “Beautiful Girls Are the Loneliest” are written by James Bourne, who may be the most talented writer of the group. “What Happened to Your Band?” is the song broken-hearted Busted fans need to hear after all these years. “What happened to your band? What are your future plans? I’m like your biggest fan. Where’d you go? I’ve been lost without you. It’s crazy.” perfectly sums up the feelings of every Busted fan. “Beautiful Girls Are the Loneliest” isn’t the best song ever, but it’s definitely going to make many Busted fangirls days when he sings it to them at McBusted concerts.
In the end, McBusted isn’t worth it. McFly shouldn’t have scrapped the release of their completed sixth album for McBusted. The only good that came out of McBusted is that it shows the Busted boys, Matt Willis and James Bourne, should revive Busted without their third member/the reason Busted broke up, Charlie Simpson.
Allison Lips is the Founder of Wait! What’s a Dial?, a television blog that showcases the writing of millennials. Allison graduated from Rowan University in May 2013. She has a passion for TV history, especially late night and game shows. If she could go back in time, Steve Allen would still be hosting The Tonight Show. Follow her on Twitter @waitwaitsadial.