P Posted by Sandra on November 25 2012 0 Comments McFLY, News

In the era before iTunes gave the singles chart the kick up the backside it needed, McFly had become something of an annoyance, racking up a string of number one singles with ease that anyone outside their loyal fan base would struggle to remember a note of. Indeed 2007 double A-side ‘Baby’s Coming Back’/’Transylvania’ still holds the record for fastest freefall from the top spot (1-20).
However, as of late, the band has earned a sense of quiet respectability, even from their most vocal detractors, for the way in which they’ve managed to sustain their eight-year career. Whether it’s the outside-the-box methods of releasing their music, (2008’s ‘Radio: ACTIVE’ was initially given away free with the Mail on Sunday while their McFly Super City website was awarded for its digital innovation), or their willingness to reinvent their sound (2010 Taio Cruz collaboration ‘Shine A Light’ is now their second biggest-selling single).

‘Memory Lane: The Best Of McFly’ isn’t exactly the most necessary release this Christmas with the group only scoring a further four Top 10 hits since 2007’s ‘All The Greatest Hits.’ But for those who have only realised their occasional pop brilliance since the band’s various forays into reality TV and talent show contests, then it’s as good a place to start as any.
Initially and unfairly dismissed as a Busted rip-off, the teen surf-rock of ‘Five Colours In Her Hair’ and the resigned sing-along of ‘Obviously’ were far more indebted to the joyous 60s pop of Beach Boys and The Monkees than the early 00s bratty punk-pop that Charlie, Matt and James borrowed from.

The charming orchestral Comic Relief single ‘All About You’ and the Beatles-ish ‘I’ll Be OK’ also suggested that UK boyband pop was in safe hands following Busted’s split. But somewhere along the way, they appeared to forget what they were good at and instead decided to chase credibility with a series of hook-less and instantly forgettable ventures into more alternative territory. Indeed, it’s telling that five singles from the Wonderland/Motion In The Ocean period are omitted here, with even chart-topper ‘Please Please’ deemed unworthy of making the cut.

However, their last retrospective seemed to reignite their creative mojo. The rousing Snow Patrol-esque balladry of ‘The Heart Never Lies’ is arguably the greatest thing they’ve ever done, the anthemic ‘One For The Radio’ is an inspired if unexpected fusion of Green Day and the Gummi Bears theme tune, whilst ‘Party Girl’ proved they could do synth-pop without descending into the usual ‘fun in the club’ shtick.

If you’re looking for hints at what direction album number six may take, then the three new tracks are unlikely to provide an answer. ‘Cherry Cola’ is a cross between ‘I Want Candy’ and an 80s soft drink ad jingle, ‘Do Whatcha’ is a propulsive slice of prog/glam-rock, whilst ‘Love Is Easy’ is a slightly twee acoustic ditty reminiscent of Jack Johnson’s beachside folk-pop.
‘Memory Lane: The Best Of McFly’, therefore, is an often inconsistent collection with a couple of glaring no-shows (the hugely under-rated ‘Sorry’s Not Good Enough’ & ‘That’s The Truth’) and a few equally baffling inclusions (does anyone really need to hear their pointless cover of Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ ever again?). But there are enough gems amongst its 22 tracks to justify McFly’s status as the past decade’s most cheeky, unpredictable and infectious boyband.

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