Mcfly above the noiseFor those unfamiliar with the group McFly, this is a good album to get started with. If you’re in America, it’s likely you haven’t heard of this group. Think of McFly as a modern day Backstreet Boys with more of an edge and fewer sappy tracks. This English pop/rock boy band consists of Tom Fletcher (vocals, guitar), Danny Jones (vocals, guitar), Dougie Poynter (backing vocals, bass guitar) and Harry Judd (drums). They came onto the scene in 2004 when the group Busted invited them on tour with them. Since their debut album Room on the 3rd Floor the group’s released some well received albums in the UK and you may have seen them in the 2006 comedy Just My Luck that starred Lindsay Lohan (when she was functional and working0 and Chris Pine. In case you haven’t caught on, the group is named after the character Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy. On November 15th the group will release their fifth album titled Above the Noise.

Track-by-Track:
“End of the World” kicks-off the album with a big, pop/rock anthem. Based on the album art (and the concept art for the Party Girl single) you get the idea that the group had a bit of a concept idea for Above the Noise, something along the lines of super heroes entrusted with the task of defending and looking over a city similar to Batman or Superman. The first song captures that feeling with this fast-paced, action-packed track that starts off with a computer voice that welcomes the group to their “mission” and the lyrics tell the story of a chaotic scene involving protecting and holding onto the person you care for. “Party Girl” was the first single for the release and is definitely among the album’s best offering. It’s an upbeat diddy about a girl who catches everyone’s attention at a party with her sexy looks and alluring moves. Really, the best of the group comes with this song and there’s definitely an energy and edge that comes out on this track that’s missing from the opening track. “If U C Kate” has an odd, attention grabbing title but really isn’t as naughty as you’d think. While the title is reminiscent of Britney Spears’ “If U Seek Amy”, McFly’s “If U C Kate” is just a pop song with the guys singing of how wonderful and “fine” Kate is and how enamored they are by this girl.

“Shine A Light” is a track that reminds me of old school boy bands like *NSync and Backstreet Boys. It’s a fun, upbeat love ballad about a girl who broke the heart of someone and they’re reminiscing about her and go in search of her despite of the heartbreak and bad things that happened. I liked the drum breakdown with the “eh eh” bridge and felt the track stood out from the others. “I’ll Be Your Man” is the album’s first real slow track. It’s a laid back track with the lyrics proclaiming love for the woman in pursuit and a list of promises and desires that would be carried out if the girl accepts the guy’s affection. “Nowhere Left to Run” feels a bit like filler – it’s a bit forgettable and has the group, once again, signing about their love for a girl and announcing that if she leaves that they’ll die and can’t live without her. “I Need A Woman” improves slightly with a Motown-influence and vocal contributions from more of the group’s members and it’s a great love ballad about wanting to be in a relationship with a woman who wants and needs the guy as much as he wants and needs her. Production and style wise this track easily stands out as one of the album’s best tracks and is superior to all of these other tracks on the album that lament and concern women or a lack of them.

“That’s The Truth” is another great track and is basically a warning/breakup track with the guys lecturing the girl that she’s letting her friends influence her and that if she keeps on listening to her friends she might as well plan on being lonely. I liked the track because it flips the script on the typical “I’m better than you make me out to be” song that’s usually performed by a female singer and it’s nice to hear this sort of song come from a male perspective. This track, out of all, really reminded me of old school Backstreet Boys but that’s a good thing – it’s catchy, it gets you singing along and has you tapping your foot and bobbing your head throughout it. “Take Me There” is another standard pop ballad about wanting to spend all your time with the person you love and how things are good and near perfect when you’re with that one person who makes everything better. “This Song” is a catchy song with the group declaring that they’re setting out to make the object of their affection happy and urging her to let her desires and wishes known because they want to make them become a reality. The song has one of the album’s catchiest choruses. “Foolish” closes out the album with the group wrapping things up with a track vowing that despite things not working out with the girl they’ve been singing about the entire album, they refuse to say goodbye and walk away.

Final Verdict:
It took two years to make this album? Really? Don’t get me wrong – there are some really good tracks but the album feels bogged down by mediocrity. With the first track and the album art you get the sense that this album is supposed to be a bit larger than life and that the “noise” they are trying to rise above is of a dire nature. Really, that concept is loss on me as the entire album seems to be one theme (girls) being made over into a new song with a different instrument track. The album should have been called “Girls, Girls, Girls” or perhaps “Songs about Kate” (similar to Maroon 5’s “Songs About Jane”) because each track in some manner deals with a woman and a particular relationship. There are some fun moments, and though I haven’t listened to enough of McFly’s previous material to compare, I feel they need to stretch their creativity just a bit to go beyond the songs about girls that occupy this release.

Listen To These: “Party Girl”, “That’s the Truth”, “I’ll Be Your Man”

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9 COMMENTS

  1. You’re right Antoine, this is an extremely disappointing album by McFly and they’ve taken a huge step back. I did listen to their previous material and was excited for this one after their last two albums. Motion In The Ocean (stupid name) was good and Radioactive was one of my favourite albums from 2008 because of how consistent it was and the amount of potential single material. Motion In The Ocean had girl songs too but they were really well written (Bubble Wrap, Little Joanna). Radioactive was a bit more diverse, it had some pop anthems like POV and some cooler sounding tracks like this one: Lies (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-o8o4QQFPU). Their first two albums weren’t consistent but had some stand out tracks.

    This album isn’t bad but it’s so boring, the lyrics are love songs which is okay but they’re cheesy lyrics. Party Girl and maybe the song after it are the only stand outs and they aren’t even one of the top 10 McFly songs. I think the problem might be that they went back to their old record company and maybe they interfered with creative control or something.

    The year has had some good albums like The National and kent and Sleigh Bells but this is doing McFly no favours if they wanted to get past the “boy band” stereotype. Also, I thought they would tap into a new demographic with more mature songs, their fans are a bit older too now I would guess but they haven’t matured a bit.

    2.5/5 at best.

  2. McFly actually created an entirely different album full of songs exactly along the lines of Radio:Active. However, they felt as if this would be monotonous and repetitive, and they had the desire to create something unexpected. They scrapped the entire album, and started over. Now, you can hopefully understand why it has taken 2+ years to create Above the Noise.
    As for your review, personally it seems like you had a few preconceptions about the band, such as your statement about how they are like the modern-day Backstreet Boys. You repeated this notion throughout your review, which makes it seem like the band is in a certain vein/genre of music. I disagree with this classification, because it seems to be generalizing a bit too much for my taste. I have gone through the album multiple times, and although it took a while, I can see what the band was trying to get at with these funky, electro synths. Yes, appealing to older audiences is a very prominent motivation, but I also believe that now that they have essentially “mastered” the pop/rock melodic scene, they wanted to venture into a more mysterious, exciting area of music. You might see it as conforming to a typical trend in pop culture, and they might not be revolutionizing music as a whole, but who asked/expected them to? They sure are reinventing themselves, and I think McFly should be applauded for that alone. And hey, who would want to do the same thing for 7 years straight anyway?
    I appreciate your review and your opinion, for it allows me to see the band in another, very valid, perspective. Thank you.

  3. im a very big mcfly fan and this album blew me away completely in a bad way. i dont like the pop thing they are going for with boring repetetive winy songs, i wish i never really heard it because it really dissapointed me…they sound like a boyz 2 men tribute band…not original at all just wanting a chart song it seems like.

  4. I agree with Tom Abbott. I was so dissappointed when I heard the album. I think McfLY completely lost their unique style and genre, and just became another band with lots of remixing and electro music. One thing I loved about McFLY was that they weren’t as mainstream as other bands, and seemed to be following only themselves, creating music based on their favourite music. I do not like the new album at all, even though some songs are pretty good because of the melodies, which McFLY always have been good at making, the remixed feeling and almost r’n’b-ish music made me lose my love for them.

    I’m definitely going back to Room on the third floor and Wonderland. This new stuff is not for me.

  5. As a Backstreet Boys fan, I have to dissagree that McFly are anything like them. McFly are usually more rock/pop, but I do think they have tried to be more commercial with this album (working with Dallas Austin) to try to become more well known in North America.

    I have heard all their previous albums because my daughter is their number one fan. My personal fave was Wonderland. I have see them live many times, I have also seen Backstreet Boys live many times, and they are very different. McFly are much rockier live, and of course they play their own instruments, which BSB rarely do. Also BSB have the whole dance routine thing going on which McFly do not do.

    Having said all that, I am enjoying Above the Noise very much. I especially like how McFly’s albums are quite different from each other. They are growing up with their music.

  6. this was such a rubbish album being a huge Mcfly fan from the start i was really bummed out at how bad this album was .
    in my opinion the only good song on here is shine a light .
    For them to wait so long to put out a new album and come back with this is just a big let down .
    it Also didn’t do very well in the uk album charts .
    i was keen on the idea that they we’re trying something different but with this !

  7. Well I’m in the states and been a McFLY fan since 2006. I think so far, their best album was RadioActive. I think honestly the biggest problem with this album is Dallas Austin.

    I dont agree with you on your analagy of each song. My fav song just happens to be Nowhere left to run, simply because it sound like old McFLY and the power in their voices. I love the acoustic version of this song going around on youtube right now, It’s Brilliant! In fact when they do these songs acoustic, they are quite good.

    End of the World, Party Girl & Nowhere left to Run were set specific for the video/movie they made.

    If u see kate I don’t like the album cut at all, again Dallas Austin gave it too much of a Prince type feel. The first 20 seconds reminded me of a prince song and so did ,I’ll be your Man.

    This Song & Foolish reminded me of the 80’s boy bands like the back street boys.

    Working with someone like Dallas Austin I am sure, was a real treat for the guys, but his musical influence doesn’t fit with the kind of band McFLY really are. Dallas is Brilliant in what he does, so long as he sticks to artists like Prince, Brittany Spears, Madonna etc

    The younger generation may not see the comparisons to that music genre but being the age that i am, i do. I love Prince but i don’t love hearing his sound in McFLY. It’s not who they are.

    Radio Active is still the best album thus far, but on Above the noise, i’d have to say my favorite in this order are, Nowhere left to run, Thats The Truth, Take me There, because you can still hear McFLY.

    I do like the other songs but mostly in some sort of acoustic form where it gets away from the influence that is not McFLY.

  8. As one of the biggest mcfly fans around I was simply pleased they brought out another album. To start when I heard Party Girl I did think they had gone off course and were more interested in getting in the charts than what their fans initially loved. However after 7 years it hardly suprises me they wanted to try something different. Personally my favourite album they have made is radio:ACTIVE because it was quite heavy compared with that of wondeland. I think every album they have done is a change from the one previous.
    For people to say it is dissapointing is inevitable but I, with many of my friends, think this is an indication that mcfly are no longer the ‘boyband’ they were in 2004 and they have evolved into very good looking incredibly talented young men. As for their live shows it was fantastic to see them sing this album with such a passion, Tom Fletcher even cried on stage at wembly along with myself whilst thanking the fans for 7 and a half years of support. Bands like this make me proud to be a big fan this album with every song also the super city website they have created shows how dedicated they are so to anyone not liking this album or them as a band cannot be for real. They have spent alot of time and money on this album that both my mum and my nan have permenantly in their car stereo they are an incredible band who write their own songs and lyrics also perform live everytime and when they do they are truly spectacular I do not know one mcfly fan who do not like them anymore and I will argue to the day I die that every band should be like them they are one in a million and make their fans including me so proud it brings us to tears. Thank you

  9. I have been a McFly fan since the very beginning for three very specific reasons:1. the honest songwriting, 2. the thought-out musicianship and 3.the four kind and funny personalities, which McFly managed to maintain for seven years and five albums.
    The first (Room on 3d Floor) and third album (Motion in the Ocean) had both incredible and “whatever” moments. The second album (Wonderland) was for me a step outside the box, because I had never heard something like that before (for example Ultraviolet). The fourth album (Radio: Active) blew me away, they had for me achieved the perfect balance between pop and rock, and also a great consistency throughout it.
    As far as the fifth album (Above the Noise) now, I, like most McFly fans, waited for a long time for this and I have to admit that I was fairly disappointed, because I had heard before the “new McFly sound” all over the pop music industry and had already grown tired of it. I have to accuse, I am afraid, the producer Dallas Austin for copy-pasting the music and the Mcfly boys for not realizing that doing what everyone else is doing doesn’t make for a great album. On the other hand they are the acoustic versions of the songs on YouTube without all the Dallas’s chit-chat that allow you to discover the original McFly music that lays actually “above the noise” (see that I did there?).
    I am therefore positive that the sixth album will be about taking the pop-rock scene a step further and not about taking McFly a step backwards.

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