I’d just like to say that now I’m back in education (Year 12), my Daily Reviews won’t be so daily anymore. Anyhoo, shall we crack on?
A musical hiatus, in my eyes, constitutes a problem for both the artist and myself, particularly if I like said artist. On a hiatus, a musical act takes a lot of time out – usually more than the standard two/three/four years it takes to produce most albums – like The Killers are doing now, leaving a member of the band to go solo or for every member to do their own thing, musical or non-musical, away from the scene.
McFly were never that rated very high in my books when they stormed onto the ‘scene’ in 2004, and all they way through their four previous albums I felt like nothing they did really jumped out at me; it was typical boyband pop that ticked all the commercial boxes, but never really jumped out as something to write home about. Of course, they were the epitome of commerciality: they had the looks, the great voices, the teen girl fanbase, they played their instruments well, and produced very catchy songs. It all paid off. When McFly announced their hiatus/indefinite split, they left the airwaves with 7 #1’s, 15 Top 10 hits, 2 multi-platinum #1 albums, and a BRIT Award.
Not to darken their doorway but despite all their success, they’d only produced one song that I liked: ‘Lies’, so as you can imagine – I was hardly distraught when they took their hiatus, in fact: I didn’t even notice.
So the ‘problem’ ball wasn’t in my court upon the comeback from their hiatus – it was in their’s. And the ball consisted of how times have changed since inoffensive, cheery pop songs topped the charts; right now it’s all about charity singles, reality singles, or thigh, thigh and more thigh.
It’s like the charts have gone through puberty on a rundown council estate. It starts in 2000, innocent enough, a few bubbly songs and some controversial ones that really didn’t know what they were doing in the first place. Then it gradually grows up and, ten years later, it’s strutting it’s egomaniac, manufactured popstars like a street-walker and selling nothing but sex. But if sex is what sells, why not jump on the band-wagon?
This was McFly’s problem – should they stick with their original sound or sex things up a bit and add a few synths to appeal to a fresher market?
Literally one second into ‘Party Girl’ tells us this is a far cry from the relacklustre ‘Obviously’, or even the rampaging guitars of ‘Lies’. Opening to a hugely listenable riff that sounds like a cross between Lady GaGa’s ‘Bad Romance’ and The Jackson 5’s ‘Can You Feel It?’, the layering is clearly more complex than a simple vocal, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and drums set-up we’re used to. It’s all been replaced by and pulsing synth, THAT riff and a drum machine on Red Bull.
The verses stomp along to a beat that sounds like something GaGa would be proud of, with syncopated chords striking their way through to the foreground just to be heard above the production that has more going on than Ashley Cole’s bedroom. Just when you think the whole party can’t get any bigger, the chorus arrives with Danny’s vocals meshing effortlessly into the synth-driven proceedings, and with Tom backing up every chorus and instrumental who THAT riff, this song is undeniably one of the best electropop songs of the last year.
Of course, such a jump into new territory warrants the occasional thorn in the foot: Tom’s vocals in the bridge do appear to sound as home as Hitler would in a Mosque; not quite working with the darker, heavier sound but maybe that’s just because I’ve always found his vocals a bit ropey, or it could be the vocoder because on a live performance, McFly shut the place down.
The video is pretty amazing too. Extending the heavier, sexier sound, the boys are getting their kits off for the promo clip which is a far more Gothic, vampire-esque fantasy than anything we’ve ever seen; yes, it’s even better than the video for ‘Lies’. With plenty of blood imagery, sex scenes, and just a general turn towards the supernatural, this video is as relentlessly entertaining as the song.
Of course, this is the unedited video; the one that’s not shown on TV; coz i iz well hard innit.
It seems McFly have drastically changed their image, like REALLY sexing it up, and with the song, they’ll clearly be wanting to appeal to a whole new demographic as well as their older ones. The whole song boasts more musicality than anything we’ve heard from McFly – the modulation in key towards the end, the syncopated synth-stabs, and a vocal riff that will be as memorable in ten years time as it is today; this songs triumphs above my prejudice of McFly when I heard of their comeback, and whilst many are still straddling a nice, cosy fence, McFly have won over a new fan here already.
End Note: This song is up against some seriously fierce competition for #1 on the week it’s released. It’ll have to fend off comebacks from The Script with ‘For The First Time’, plus the dubiously received ‘Drummer Boy’ from Alesha Dixon. But for me, it’s fiercest competition is Alexandra Burke’s ‘Start Without You’. It’s fair to say that week will be the most interesting listen in on Radio 1 for a VERY long time, because if McFly pip Alexandra, it’ll be my first five star song to reach #1 since ‘Bad Romance’ itself, way back at the very beginning of 2010.
Rating: 5.0 STARS
Download: September 6, 2010 (OUT NOW)
Featured Album: ‘Above The Noise’