Single Review: McFly ft. Taio Cruz – ‘Shine A Light’

Wow, now if there was someone at the top of my imaginary list of “Possible McFly collaborators”, Taio Cruz was not that someone.

But here’s something interesting: of all the artists who’ve made comebacks this year, McFly’s has been nothing short of spectacular by comparison, and despite releasing only one single so far (the still very good ‘Party Girl’), they’re already being talked about like they never left. They seemed to have realised that in today’s fickle music industry – where music buyers can grab themselves a copy of the latest hit with the click of a button, rather than spending hours queuing up outside HMV to get a copy (resulting in people casually buying music if subject to boredom or even if they just want to support the artist) – you need to give the public more than your music.

It’s a fate that Scissor Sisters fell foul to when they released their 5 star comeback single ‘Fire With Fire’; they only released one trailer single after a four year hiatus and then they released their album ‘Night Work’, which went on to be the least successful of their career so far, selling barely 250,000 copies to date. It was inevitable even as the album hit #2 in it’s first week, and it was one of the most predictable underperformances of the last decade, because they neglected the change in the music climate. Consumers don’t just want an artist’s music anymore – they want the artist themselves – they want to know what’s going on in their love life; they want to know who’s fallen out with who, who’s album’s sold the most, etc., etc. – and this is why Scissor Sisters underperformed upon their comeback, as did The Hoosiers, Christina Aguilera, Amy MacDonald, and Mika, as well as others. Thanks to the sudden surge in the popularity of reality TV and the coining of the “tabloid popstars” – who are more than willing to let the music sell off the back of their popularity – humble artists, or those with little to say or those who let the music do the talking, are often ignored. The fact the people are reluctant to search outside of radio playlists doesn’t help either.

As I said, McFly were attuned to this little fact, and so have provided many a chance for fans to get extra little nuggets of gossip about them; they’ve performed on high profile shows, been invited into the Live Lounge, and even posed naked for an edition of Attitude Magazine. And more recently, McFly have given their fans the chance to watch a live stream of the video shoot for ‘Shine A Light’ from beginning to completion.

All this has kept them in the spotlight of media, public and social networking conversation, but thankfully, they haven’t comprised to quality of their music during the whole of their career.

And if all that wasn’t enough to secure them another hit upon their return to the UK Charts, they’ve only gone a collaborated with the hottest UK producer de jour, Taio Cruz, who probably has the ability to make a hit out of a bar of soap, a lettuce leaf and a plunger if he put his mind to it. So the finished result is ‘Shine A Light’, a mid-tempo electro-ballad with an absolute corker of a chorus.

Whilst I’m not falling over myself with joy at the fact Taio has “Eh”-ified the McFly boys, or the fact they’re playing their instruments in the video when the track is 95% synthesised, I find the light, cheery production very hard not to like. In that way it’s similar to Alexandra’s ‘Start Without You’, with much less of a ‘guilty pleasures’ tag. Even though it discusses a man’s (or men’s) heartbreak, it’s surprisingly happy, and that’s just the a bassline in the introduction.

At first, the vocals do seem to pull a bit of a ‘Teenage Dream’ too, starting of in a dainty falsetto kindly provided by Tom, backed up with a soft instrumental production, before things really take off when Danny takes over for the bridge, which wastes no time in getting onto the super-catchy, super-radio-friendly chorus which is sung by a much more human-sounding Taio Cruz, which is a pleasant surprise after the heavily edited vocals he displayed on ‘Dynamite’. However, my main gripe is that if this is overplayed, it will lose it’s appeal very quickly, as there are time when you feel it’s overplayed before the end of your first listen.

The video is alright. It’s nothing special, and Taio’s still wearing his shades indoors. Silly thing. And is that a car crash he’s standing in front of?

Oh Ma Gawd! Those backing dancers have clearly nicked the choreography from HURTS’ ‘Wonderful Life’ video. -Evils.

It does baffle me though, that the song is of such lightweight nature and sound after the deliciously dark and heavily instrumented ‘Party Girl’. But this could either be a good thing because it shows the two different sides to their new album, or it could be bad because it advertises an album of randomly listed tracks with no cohesion between them. As for me, I’m more than happy to continue to accept this new sound for McFly, so I’m still anticipating buying my first McFly album, and even though I’m not Taio’s biggest fan, I can only commend his efforts on this track.

Rating: 4.0 STARS

Download: November 8, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Above The Noise’

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