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Above the Noise


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Album Review

Having outlasted the career longevity of Busted, the band they initially imitated, by some considerable distance, teen idol four-piece McFly find themselves at a crossroads with their fifth studio album, Above the Noise. While their debut, Room on the 3rd Floor, and follow-up, Wonderland, positioned them as a modern-day Monkees, their subsequent two attempts to distance themselves from their bubblegum pop past have adhered to the law of diminishing returns, with both Motion in the Ocean and Radio:Active failing to occupy the charts for more than a couple of weeks, while their rather unorthodox marketing activities (giving away their last LP free with a middle-market Sunday newspaper, creating their own subscription-based website) don't seem to have attracted the new wave of fans they were obviously aiming for. Now, with Take That sewing up the AOR market, and newcomers JLS and the Wanted dominating the teen audience, their position in the boy-band spectrum seems more insecure than ever. However, inspired by the ubiquitous urban-pop scene of the last two years, Tom, Danny, Dougie, and Harry have ditched the guitars, almost, in favor of high-energy synths and electro beats in a surprising but perhaps all too necessary career invention on the colorful and unpredictable Above the Noise. With its "woah-oh-ohs" and Dallas Austin dance-led production, you'd be forgiven for thinking first single "Party Girl" was the new record from Lady Gaga, rather than the band responsible for the blink-182-style punk-pop of previous album leadoff "One for the Radio." Indeed, despite the inclusion of Jason Perry, former lead singer of British rock band A, on production duties, with the exception of the War of the Worlds-sampling opener "End of the World," there's very little trace of their slightly alternative past. "I Need a Woman" is a surprisingly competent stab at a soulful Motown-esque ballad; the pulsating "Nowhere Left to Run" echoes the anthemic sound of a dance club floor-filler; while the falsetto-led "This Song" is a melodic R&B number whose shuffling rhythms and seductive guitar riffs owe more than a nod to Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." The genre-straddling nature of the album doesn't always prove so successful. "I'll Be Your Man" is a plodding '80s retro-style midtempo number that wanders aimlessly in search of a chorus, while more effort appears to have gone into the Britney Spears-esque risqué title of "If U C Kate" than the rather forgettable song itself. But as calculated as the change in direction may be, its infectious hooks and melodic sound makes Above the Noise McFly's most consistently strong collection of songs in their six-year career. Whether it will be enough to prevent their worrying sales decline remains to be seen, but by embracing their pop sensibilities, they've at least given themselves a fighting chance of competing with their contemporaries. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

A mediocre come back

I've been a McFly fan for five years now. With every album they sound better and better. Then this album came. I don't care what people say about them trying something new is good and that they are still McFly but this is NOT McFly. This new sound is a bit boring and a bit stupid at times. There are thousands, maybe millions of bands, who keep their sound forever and never change it to get to number one on the charts. And I hope McFly know that Shine a Light only made it to number 4 or number 3. I hope their next album doesn't sound like this.

Bring some Past back ...

McFly has come a very long way and their music over the years have keeped me sane in this world. This new album really bummed me out in a way like they have lost their "rocker" touch to there music. I would like to see some of that stuff again. They took a new approach to music but overall it's not as pleasing as it could be. Im proud on how far they have come as band but it seems as if they are trying to be like everyone else and just following the band-wagon. To me it's as if Blink-182 lost their style of Punk...

New Sound=Big Step

The McFly boys took a brave step, going out of their comfort zone to make a CD with the poppy synth sounds that are so popular nowadays. Brave, bold, and totally worth it. This is, by far, a collection of some of their best songs to date. Well done boys, you've made your fans proud, and gained new ones from the new sound. Very proud to call myself a fan.


Formed: London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Similar to fellow British pop act Busted, London-based McFly came together and quickly won over the youth masses with their boyish charm and lively tales of adolescence. However, while Busted shared commonalities with the punk-edged accessibility of acts like blink-182 and Simple Plan, McFly owed a bit more musically to bands like the Beach Boys. Naming themselves after Michael J. Fox's character from the Back to the Future series, the guys — Danny Jones (guitar/vocals), Tom Fletcher (guitar/vocals),...
Full Bio

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