Busted, the classic early 2000’s pop-punk band, have returned with their fourth studio album, and the boys are back with a bang. Their latest studio album, Half Way There, released on 1st February 2019, signals a return to pop-punk for the trio. With two hit albums that defined the early 2000’s, Busted showed us what it was to be a pop-punk boy band. After the band split in 2005, they reunited to release ‘Night Driver’ in 2016, a modest hit which ended up as a rather abstract synth-pop endeavour. However, the band’s latest release has been hailed by fans as a welcoming return to what Busted do best.
Half Way There proves to be a much-welcomed return to the band’s roots. Perhaps they got a kick after the mild reception from their 2016 misadventure. It feels like a modern take on their original and much-loved content, with their musical influences stemming straight from the 1990s. The musical style embedded within this record defines what many millennials may associate with the songs of their youth. Classic power chords on electric guitars, alternating male vocals, loud drums and catchy melodies; Busted’s latest endeavour has everything fans have been screaming for since their last pop-punk studio album in 2004: A Present for Everyone. Half Way There is full of catchy songs which will appease fans of early 2000’s hits such as ‘Year 3000’, ‘Crashed The Wedding’ and ‘What I Go To School For’.
Although this album has a unique musical twist on their much-loved pop-punk style, their lyrical style has evolved and matured since their youth. Their songs ‘Shipwrecked in Atlantis’ and ‘Race to Mars’ wholly embodies their original quirky and otherworldly stories, not too dissimilar from ‘Year 3000’, but the remainder of the record shows us a side to Busted that we’ve never seen before. Much of the album is saturated with the themes of nostalgia, maturation, friendship and reunions. Their opening track ‘Nineties’ is a nostalgic tribute to the decade of their youth, with lyrics such as ‘I miss the days of ditching school to watch The Goonies’ and ‘Rocking out to Smashing Pumpkins, Black o White Macaulay Culkin.’ The band even dedicates a song of the same name to ‘Nostalgia’, and another to the lost art of the car ‘Radio.’
Their maturation is evident throughout, focusing in on how they’ve grown over the past 15 or so years. ‘All My Friends’ centres on the progression of their friendships and where they see themselves today, with powerful lyrics such as ‘We’re not old, But we’re not as young as we used to be, Halfway to obscurity, But we feel fine,’ signalling an acknowledgement of their ageing, but they’ve still got it!
Busted also shed light on the band’s breakup back in 2005. ‘It Happens’, the final track on the album, shows us an emotional side to the group which hasn’t flourished through their music before: ‘After 11 years of space we start to gravitate, Back to each other, you can call it karma, call it fate.’ Earnest lyrics like this, hold strong behind their rock ballad at the close of the album. Their lyrical maturation shows a Busted that is growing older but still has the capacity to put out a record like this, showing so much charisma and spunk alongside a story of three young boys from Essex who dreamt to make music together.
Half Way There is undoubtedly a solid album, and perhaps their best work yet. I’d highly recommend a listen if you’re like me and grew up with bands like Busted and McFly, even if it’s just for the nostalgia trip!
Conor Capplis – Features Editor & Music Writer