Busted have abandoned the EDM of 2016's Night Driver in favour of going after the sound of their early-2000's heyday in their fourth studio album.
For the first time in two years, Busted have gifted us with new music. After a fairly up and down journey as a band, and varying successes with previous music, the band present to us their newest pop-punk album, Half Way There. Whilst you may initially believe the album is nothing new – that the songs are just the typical Busted tunes – the band endeavoured to go back to their roots with this album. The boys wanted to rediscover their sound and get back in touch with what propelled them to fame in the first place. For this reason, this album is an undeniable success.
Charlie Simpson, Matt Willis and James Bourne formed Busted in 2000 after a series of auditions were held to determine the ultimate combination to fill the gap in the music industry. The boys’ first three singles – ‘What I Go to School For’, ‘Year 3000’ and ‘You Said No’ – certainly made a splash in the charts claiming the Number 3, Number 2 and Number 1 spot respectively. The year 2003 saw the release of their second studio album, A Present for Everyone. This included several hit songs that many still listen to today, such as ‘Air Hostess’ and ‘Crashed the Wedding’. With this success came many awards, including Favourite Newcomer at the National Music Awards and Best Pop Act at the BRIT awards.
After splitting in 2004 and varying successes in their solo projects – as well as two thirds of the band joining McFly to form the super group McBusted – the boys eventually got back together, releasing their third studio album Night Driver in 2016 as well as embarking on their Pigs Can Fly Tour.
But Half Way There, the band’s latest release and their fourth studio album, is an ode to their previous successes, as well as an attempt to remind fans of their talent. Featuring 10 new tracks, this album varies in mood, but all songs are ultimately linked by the passion that clearly was put into making it. The title of the album is a sort of tribute to the lyrics of their previous hit single, ‘Year 3000’ (“Everybody bought out seventh album / It had outsold Michael Jackson”). As stated by Bourne, “once you get half way through the album, you’re officially half way there”. In yet another link to their previous success, one of the tracks on the album is entitled ‘Shipwrecked in Atlantis’. It has been discussed that this is potentially a continuation of the bands 2004 hit, ‘Air Hostess’.
Busted are often praised for their ability to intertwine stories, or events, into their songs, and they didn’t let fans down on this front with this album. The first song of the album, ‘Nineties’, references a time when friends had to be made, that friendship occurred physically, as opposed to now, with the rise of technology allowing for social media to play a huge role. Similarly, although less obviously, the song ‘Race to Mars’ refers to Tony Stark – otherwise known as Iron Man – and ‘All My Friends’ looks back at friendship, and how time affects people.
With powerful and topical meanings to their songs, and many strong links to other successes from the band, this album is sure to be a hit amongst fans. Though the songs may sound similar upon your initial listen, the more the album plays, the more you can sense the emotion behind the music, and the band’s adventures, especially in trying to connect to their former triumphs. The boys have been particularly outspoken about this wish, and hope, to return to their roots and really find what made them, them. Discussion amongst fans, and celebrity support, such as from close friend Tom Fletcher, confirms that people truly believe the band succeeded in recapturing the essence of who they are. Whilst it may not be for everyone, it is undeniable that this is the slightly cliché, yet cool, music we know and love from Busted.
The verdict? Well, in an attempt to not be too biased (Busted was my first ever concert so I have a certain degree of loyalty to them), I think this album is inspiring. Reminiscent of the “good ole days” and successful in achieving the boys goals of getting back to where they started, this album shows what talent the boys have to come back from a rather difficult time. Inevitably, this isn’t for everyone, and if you want more of an electronic sound, try the bands previous album, or more of a heavy rock feel, have a look at The Rolling Stones, but for me, this album achieved exactly what it intended to. My advice? Download it. Give it a listen, especially when you want to be reminded of being younger and dancing around your bedroom.
Half Way There is now available via Juno Music.