It’s 2002 and the music scene in the UK is somewhat unfavourable to pop music. Cue three rowdy but loveable teenagers to become one of the most memorable pop rock bands of the noughties. Busted’s acclaimed debut of their self-titled album Busted contained catchy, head banging tracks like “What I Go to School For” and ‘Year 3000’ which brought with it a whole new era of pop and energy.
Getting your air guitar out is a must because Busted were here to rock – playing their own instruments and having a pretty confident stab at songwriting for ones so young, it was clear they were the boys to watch. The album paints vivid images of the venturesome antics and uncontrollable feelings that come with being a teenager, like pining over the school teacher and being rejected by a girl at a school disco. Their endearing cheekiness and charm glistens throughout Busted, and shows it would be hard to imagine them actually being busted for anything more risqué than staying out late on a week night – but that’s why it’s so enjoyable.
The album opens up with their hit single “What I Go To School For”, filled with buoyant guitar riffs and captivating gruff vocals from that of Charlie Simpson, it definitely gives a good indication of what to expect from these Blink 182-like juniors. The fun, boisterous lyrics encapsulate the relatable feelings of a young teenage boy towards his school teacher, “so she may be thirty-three but that doesn’t bother me”, it’s not hard to imagine them jumping around on stage and giving a cheeky wink to the audience enjoying their naivety. If this song didn’t get you rocking out then the next song absolutely will, the combination of punchy guitar strums and infectious drum beats are the foundation to the punk-tastic ‘You Said No’. Getting rejected at a school disco may sound trivial but to a teenage boy it’s traumatic, “I’m feeling so pathetic, cos the guys will have ditched me”, you can’t help but adore this self deprecating, irresistible tune.
Believe it or not there are a few laid-back moments that follow, namely in the form of the steady, heart breaking ballad ‘Losing You’ and the credible more mature sound of “Sleeping With the Light On”. They swap jumping around to swaying on the spot, these songs portray the softer more vulnerable side to the band’s persona, and you can’t help but feel the need to give them a big cuddle.
‘Year 3000’ is possibly the most memorable song on the debut – especially in America, where The Jonas Brothers made it a hit a few years later. Getting over Miss Mackenzie now, Busted take us to a completely different world, apparently to the year 3000. It has all the elements to create a joyous, euphoric hit – the undeniable chirpiness, synthesizing keyboard and playful lyrics all come together to produce a vibrant pop triumph. Their memories of emotional growing pains and adolescent turmoil provides enough tongue in cheek, energy and fun to make Busted an enchanting, mischievous band who you can’t help but adore.
Fast forward thirteen years, instead of ogling over their busty English teacher, they’re now picking out schools for the Busted babies. And as for being given the cold shoulder at the school disco, they’re now the ones hoping it doesn’t happen on their wedding day. After a painstakingly long wait for patient fans, they have released their third studio album Night Driver and its sound has certainly changed. Like themselves, they’ve opted for a grown up vibe, it’s out with Blink 182 and in with Daft Punk plus an inkling of The 1975, the effervescent guitar riffs and 80s-like synths surprisingly work.
Night Driver is as a carefully considered comeback record, drawing in elements of their history with a fresh, renewed energy. Gone are the boyish mischievous days, and in with more considered lyrics with depth and reflection. Of course, that means this isn’t classic Busted by any standard, but rather a redeveloped band wanting to progress their sound forward. The cheese has been melted away, but what remains is a concrete pop punk record that marks the start of a new era for Busted.