I took my sister to see Busted when they reunited, back in June. I was firmly of the opinion that the music of Busted was best left in 2005, especially as I hadn’t rated anything the Busted/McFly collaboration McBusted had produced. I left the live show thinking much the same, Busted probably didn’t need to come back.
Though the trio released their album yesterday and given my sister’s excitement about the release I caved and bought it – it is through my sister after all that I become aware of most new mainstream UK releases.
The track pre-released to coincide with the tour did not grab my attention. In fact, the only memorable moment of Coming Home was how excited James appeared to be about finally being allowed to swear in a release, meaning it was memorable for the wrong reasons.
The album’s lead track On What You’re On too feels memorable for the wrong reasons. Those reasons being that it sounds very much derivative of Daft Punk.
One of the positives of the Busted reunion is that the group has developed. It is no longer a tame, radio friendly Blink 182. The members do play music with more skill. Bass player Matt Willis no longer sings like he longs to be in the aforementioned American band – he genuinely sounds great. James Bourne and Charlie Simpson sound much the same, however, with a new genre backing them.
The title tracks of the album bombard you with sounds akin to recent pop offerings from almost anyone with a big hit under their belt: Justin Bieber, DNCE, etc. Though title tracks from mainstream bands are rarely a good indicator of the true value of an album – they’re generally chosen by ‘suits’ for their radio playability, and wide scope for listeners.
Stand out tracks are possibly Without It and I Will Break Your Heart, there are more prominent instruments on the tracks, and distinct 80s influences. The two stand as a purer representation of the album’s influences, than the watered down trendy synthpop in On What You’re On.
Easy is the track that most seems to hail back to the origins of Busted. Easily reminiscent of tracks like Meet You There, and Over Now.
Kids With Computers is a definitely low point of the album, bringing back those cliche sounds of the title tracks. The lyric ‘I think I see the future, it’s just kids with computers’ seems almost comical, although the lyrics are not overtly about music it feels very much a comment on the pop music industry, an industry trend they have bowed to completely as the main tracks on Night Driver are dominated by synthesised sound.
Final track Those Days Are Gone sees Charlie Simpson begin the track alone, accompanied by a piano – the track continues to pick up plenty more synthesised sounds, and an absolutely terrible (hopefully synthesised) note from Simpson(?). Previous track Out Of Our Minds would have made for a more satisfactory ending to the album.
But the question still stands, did we really need a Busted reunion? With four number ones to their five-year career, it is undeniable that label-mates and juniors McFly had a much more successful run. (One that took a large step back in progression with the formation of McBusted).
Neither band is at the top of their game any longer. With American counterparts such as DNCE producing music that blends instrumental skills with synthesised sounds its unlikely Busted is ever going to be making enough waves to make it to the top once more.
Love it or hate it Night Driver is probably more about Busted doing something for themselves and old fans than it is about climbing to the top of the UK charts, or any genre they choose to perform – though either would no doubt be a bonus.
I’m an old fan that really isn’t sure I needed this album – but there are plenty who love it, including my sister. So Busted must be doing something right.