Mcfly ‘Memory Lane’ – Review

14 Dec

I can’t really remember why I gave Mcfly such a hard time when they first came along at the tail-end of 2003, but I did. Maybe it was because they seemed like Busted rip offs (who I never liked anyway), maybe it was because of their horibly affected Americanised accents, or maybe it was because they were so heavily marketed at a young female audience. Whatever the reason, the criticism was unfair and unjustified, and that’s even more apparent in 2012. I’m not saying 2004 was a golden year for pop music, but compare Kylie to Tulisa, Girls Aloud to Little Mix and Mcfly to One Direction, and you’ll realise that we’re currently living in a pop wasteland.

Where I once heard sticky teen gloop, I now hear some perfectly executed pop singles.’Five Colours in Her Hair’ is particularly good; It pays homage to The Beatles without treading on any toes (unlike their other well known Beatles tribute, ‘Room on the Third Floor’, which blatently steals ‘Hey Jude’s’ classic hook). It’s catchy, well produced and actually quite witty. ‘That Girl’ and ‘Obviously’ are equally superb,  and both pay homage to that other classic 60’s act, The Beach Boys. The surf riffs are spot on, the lyrics are funny and engaging and the harmonies are fantastic as well. Possibly my favourite song on here is ‘Star Girl’ – it’s unlikely you’ll ever find a better constructed pop single. Every element of this production pays off handsomely; from the horn section to the psychadelic bridge and every twist and turn of the melody. This is pure class.

The band aren’t always this successful though and some of these songs are pretty blatent rip offs of older, better tunes. ‘Do Ya’ borrows/steals more melodies than any other single song I can think of (Billy Joel and George Michael really should sue!), and the Michael Jackson apeing ‘Lies’ is far too bombastic to be enjoyable. It’s also Regrettable that, based on the evidence of the newer songs, Mcfly are lowering their standereds to appeal to a contemporary audience. ‘Party Girl’ makes a move to sound like Chris Brown or Neyo, with the club friendly beat and plastic synth sound. It’s easily the worst thing on here. Like ‘Party Girl’,  ‘Shine a Light’ is destroyed by modern pop excess but unlike ‘Party Girl’ there is a great tune hiding behind the production, which is really frustrating. New single ‘Love Is Easy’ sees the band entering Ed Sheeran territory with a little more success but it still doesn’t match their early run of singles. Because the song’s are ordered in reverse chornological order, it makes it even more obvious that Mcfly (who are still a young band) seem to be running out of steam. Unlike with most greatest hits, this is an album that gets much better towards the end.

Overall though there are more hits than misses, and even when the band fail, they fail with smiles on their faces, and melodies in their hearts – which makes them all the more likeable. it’s stunningly clear that they deserve a lot more credit than they get as ‘Memory Lane’ compares very favourably with  recent hits collections from the more credible Kaiser Chiefs and Coldplay. Let’s not forget that Mcfly wrote and performed these songs themselves; today’s boy bands could really leran a few tricks from them.

7.5/10

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