Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Always better late than never

I could've fallen in love
I wish I'd fallen in love...

"Falling In Love" just might be my favorite straightforward ballad McFly have ever done...and that's saying something. There is, to be a fair, a little bit of the slight jaunt of "All About You" or "Obviously" in the music of the verses, but it's no more than part of the McFly style or, if you're feeling particularly over-the-top, a method of bringing about a brief flash of wistful nostalgia to accompany the song's lyrics of regret.

Regret and momentary hope, to be more accurate. Life in the aftermath of the one that got away is common enough songwriting fodder, and yet somehow something the band have done here has made the subject feel worthy of revisiting.

It's a song that's fully filled in, never left feeling sparse or acoustic, and an example of excellent songwriting--their sense of melody and orchestration has never been better--and yet fairly simple for all that, with no showing off. A little guitar strumming, just enough to keep the song moving forward, a little percussion, a few piano runs here and there, but it's all meshed together into a gentle backdrop verging on the swoonworthy, especially when the backing vocals come in. Danny and Tom's singing is spot-on, expressive but never overdone, and their combined middle 8, that moment where the sound drops and Tom sings a backing chant "sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya" while Danny finally stirs up the courage to pick up the phone and then moves into the backing vocal-style "ohh"s of before, is nothing less than music at its most sadness-extinguishing-hope enchanting, both lighters-in-the-air and tragic. It's not a song that should be overanalyzed (much as my impulse is to do so): just a well-done pop song.

I've gone on the record at various times in the past as worried that McFly have turned or are going to turn into a band no different than, say, the Plain White T's--it's the "Friday Night"s, the "Transylvania"s, the "We Are The Young"s, the "Sorry's Not Good Enough"s that get me the most excited--but when they give us a song this perfect, that little voice telling me that they really are some of the most underrated songwriters going begins whispering in my ear again.

To buy McFly's fourth studio album, Radio:ACTIVE, go here (physical) or here (digital).

Next up: maybe that American singer...but probably not.

5 comments:

Paul said...

Ah McFly :*( Usually i am quite good at predicting their singles and from the moment i heard the free copy of Radioactive, I wanted the perky Do Ya as a single. Be careful what you wish for - clearly it has become their smallest hit to date even with a brand new song on the back. Would this song have done any better? It's certainly a better fit for the Children in Need theme the Do Ya record was the official single for. And it's an infinitely better track. My opinion of the radioactive album has dipped somewhat since i first loved it - it's not a bad album at all, just not as "great mcfly" as some of the others. So in conclusion, this probably wouldn't have done any better but would have been a much better choice and lead more logically into Last Song being the follow up single to it.

Poster Girl said...

Paul, I was sad for them with that placing :-/ I'm glad this song was never a single, though--I don't want it facing the harsh realities of the real world! ;) I'm so glad to have you around to do McFly talk with.

Adem With An E said...

I've been meaning to say since you posted this; what an excellent, excellent write-up. I've gone back to the song a few times this week because of your post...

Poster Girl said...

Thank you, Adem! That's really the best thing music writing can do.

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