Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sorry's not good enough

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I have to. I truly hope other people disagree with me (well, the majority of people will disagree because they don't think this group has ever been any good to begin with), but I am very worried about McFly after hearing their latest material. Preface: for as long as I've cared about music, they've been one of my favorite bands, only ever rivaled by the Click Five, and, after the Click Five's second album and McFly's third album, McFly were very clearly in the lead. In short, I love them. But I'm very worried I may not in the future.

Part of the problem may be that, though conventional McFly wisdom is that Wonderland is their best album, if they had to make a sequel to anything, I wanted a sequel to Motion In The Ocean, not Wonderland--or at least to the best songs on Motion In The Ocean ("Friday Night," "Transylvania," "We Are The Young," "Sorry's Not Good Enough," "Please Please," and maybe you could throw "Little Joanna" and their cover of "Don't Stop Me Now," maybe "Bubblewrap," into the mix; they fit with that style and are pretty good...and though I sort of see why "Don't Wake Me Up" is being called a sequel to "Little Joanna," it's nowhere near as good--it doesn't have any of the playfulness). I don't think that's really it, though--Wonderland's songs are much more enjoyable to listen to than the new tracks on their greatest hits. Where is the fun, the color? Gone.

They're losing their pop. This isn't really what I meant--see comments for more.

I was initially worried by "The Heart Never Lies," but as a one-off, it could work. I just didn't want that to be an indication of their new direction. The style they adopted for their cover of "Umbrella" worried me even more--I didn't even recognize them to begin with. And now neither of the other two tracks on their greatest hits or new Dougie b-side "Ignorance" has that spark for me. "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Don't Wake Me Up" aren't bad songs, but compared to, say, Motion In The Ocean album track "We Are The Young," they just seem pedestrian. Dull. Mild flashes of interesting ideas covered up in pleasantness but nothing that I'd want to hear a whole album of.

I got worried when they revamped "5 Colours In Her Hair" for the U.S. market, but "Just My Luck" and "Please Please" assuaged my fears. I really hope something similar happens this time. I thought the new greatest hits songs might do that. But they haven't--they've made it worse.

McFly, you are on notice.

Prove me wrong.

Edit to say that it's worth checking out the comments for this post!


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm ... interesting (and slightly distressing) to hear, PG ... and coincidentally, just this morning I got the dispatch confirmation email from my Amazon UK order, and that disc is included in the package ... so I guess I'll be seeing (hearing) for myself in 7 to 10 days!

Then again, I tend to like the more singer/songwritery stuff just as much as (if not a shade more than) the pop-rock stuff of McFly's previous albums ... I'll have to let you know how my assessment stacks up against yours. Thanks for the early word all the same! :-)


Adem IAR said...

Well I wasn't happy with the new songs when I heard them about 12 hours ago, but now I'm loving them. There hasn't been much room on my stereo for anything other than Leona's cover of "Run" today, but I gave the new unheard McFly tracks about another 6 or 7 go's each and I now understand/love them. I see where you're going though - they are losing their pop but I think for them to continue on for another studio album next year, they probably need to. Their last album was a happy blend of both pop and the doom of Wonderland, and I think this greatest hits package is so filled with the poppier side of their history that they want some sort of edge on the new songs.

It's not instant though and, to be honest, *most* of their songs have been almost instant for me (bar "Star Girl" which took me a month to like,) but the cover art for the collection is MEGA fun/hot/fun/hot. As for their Umbrella cover, ah, I like it so much now that I prefer it to the original. In fact, I don't think I'll listen to the Rihanna one again until I finalise my end-of-2007 list to decide whether it should stay where I have it now (mid 30's) - or sink it lower. The McFly version is in the top 15 in case you were interested.

Does that make sense, what I was saying about the non-poppy feel of the new songs? I still stick by my claim that Tom/Danny are one of the greatest songwriting duo's of our time.

AND I am loving the new Bertine, and still musically wanking over the Blake song.

Adem IAR said...

I think it should be noted that it is 5:32AM here and I was rudely woken up by rapturous thunderstorms going on outside my window... that previous comment reads a bit rough on the edges, or like it's been written by someone who's just been rudely woken up. Just an explanation... ;) xo

Poster Girl said...

It's so nice to have a McFly related discussion--i.e., one that isn't automatically with "everything they've done is awful."

"The Way You Make Me Feel" is really growing on me now, to be honest, and I can see "Don't Wake Me Up" doing the same--though not as much--after a few more spins. I think (and maybe I'm just overreacting) I just wouldn't want them to be the new takeoff point for an album. I was just thinking that "losing their pop" isn't quite what I meant to say--I know what you mean; I wouldn't want them still making music like their first album, much as I loved that at the time. I guess I just love their rock music more when it's--hmm, how to put it? I guess I'd just rather see them taking their cues from, I don't know, Queen (and yeah, I know they've stolen a few Queen-esque guitar parts for "Don't Wake Me Up" like they did for "Little Joanna"), the Styx songs I actually like (the boldness of Motion In The Ocean makes me think they could do something like "Come Sail Away," which I would love, though I realize for a lot of people Styx might not be something to ever think of favorably), that sort of stuff--big, epic, bold, colorful sort of stuff. I guess I like McFly more...theatrical, for lack of a better word. Or rather, it's not that I need all of their music to sound like that, I just don't want it all to be like their latest stuff--a mix of the two would be great. I hadn't thought of the whole balancing act thing you pointed out, Adem--that could have something to do with it!

I loved reading both of your thoughts--like I said, it's so refreshing to actually get to talk about them reasonably!

Anonymous said...

and mate, you think you're better?
i think they are brilliant? so stop giving them an hard time, because mate you cant do better and you're just making a fool of yourself by saying stuuf such as "They're losing their pop."-bands can change mate as they grow, "Where is the fun, the color? Gone."- its still there mate, the new song on the Greatest hit album are as good as any other songs. and if they are one of your favorite bands, act like it and quit slagging them off. easy!

Poster Girl said...

I don't usually respond to comments like these, but you did bring up one thing I wanted to address:

"if they are one of your favorite bands, act like it and quit slagging them off."

I've never understood that attitude--liking a group doesn't mean you have to unconditionally enjoy everything they do! As much as I hate it when people automatically say "everything they've done is awful" without thinking, it's just as bad to automatically say "everything they do is fantastic" without thinking--not that you've necessarily done that (you may truly love the songs, and that's great--I'm thrilled for you, just as I'm thrilled for Adem), but that's what you've just told me to do. I was hoping we'd avoid that here and, as I said, get to "talk about them reasonably." Guess not.

Paul said...

ooo how thrilling, a politically charged discussion about McFly (mate!) First things first, i like the new songs well enough, maybe they will grow on me more, Heart Never Lies still is only middling with me and i can't listen to their version of Umbrella. But yes, the new stuff is ok-good at the moment. I totally agree about the dichotomy of bands evolving, Click Five's second album is no where near as poppy as their first, but as it grows on you, it is actually a very decent piece of work. And so if McFly want to evolve, and please i'm all for that, i would like to see their influences and strengths continue to play out, rather than go the increasingly unlistenable route (which isn't what they are doing yet, lets be clear! I call it the Eric Dill affect!). They are a great pop band and for me, if they want to evolve into something more, go for it, but don't forget what made you great in the first place!

As for the whole, "you can't like a group if you criticise them", i never understood that either. I used to be a real regular contributor to the Deb Gibson forum back before it went free (when it was pay subscription, you were pretty sure it was only deb fans on there) and if anyone dared to say anything against Deb or one of her songs, you may as well have spat on the grave of Princess Diana. Cardinal sin! Which i never ever got. You are not allowed to have a critical opinion of a favourite artist? Yes, i probably cut my fave acts more slack than others, but i still recognise when they haven't put out a great tune. It's that whole weird Michael Jackson type worship that i just don't get...

it's very early, i'm probably rambling...

Adem IAR said...

Well I never want to use the word "mate" ever again.


Believe it or not, you can be a die-hard fan and still find some of the artists musical output to be shit. FYI: When I heard Madonna's "Rain" or "Open Your Heart" I want to fucking kill myself. But if someone said I wasn't a real fan because of it, I'd probably rip them a new arsehole with my fury.

But back to discussing McFly reasonably; I am actually hoping that they'll mix together this slightly more Snow-Patrol FM-Friendly sound they're adapting now with the theater/doom'n'gloom thing they've had with "Motion.." and "Wonderland." A proper progression for them would be to stay as pop as possible, but still add this new edge they seem to be fond of.

I still think "Heart..." is amazing, but my earlier claims of it being only a bit behind "Transylvania" as their best single have changed; I know think it's better than "Transylvania"...

I have this sort of thing with McFly though (and it could be bias rearing its ugly head) - if I don't like something of theirs instantly, there's 99.99% chance I'll love it after a few listens.

This coming from someone who has convinced himself to like Madonna's "Candy Shop."

J'ason D'luv said...

How about a McFly album cover where they strip off and start mating?

Adem IAR said...

*faints at the thought*