For nearly a decade, they’ve lain dormant. But with a cryptic GIF posted to their social media accounts, McFly have announced an end to their slumber (in the form of an Instagram live). The fans have gone wild – could this mean new music? A tour? But it’s time to look past the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia and ignore the hype beast, because the vibes of the 00s are well and truly over.
The boy bands of the noughties were charming, but in a pop-punk way. McFly had the whole package – grating vocals, hard-hitting electric guitar riffs, percussion that could probably blow up your headphones. Despite the romantic themes, you’d be hard pressed to describe their style as sweet and syrupy. Groups like 5ive and Busted were stylistic similar, churning out rock-like anthems rather than chill grooves.
However, the world has changed a lot in the time since the McFly era – we’ve left the cocoon of youthful innocence. There’s already enough yelling happening all the time, and the sweetness of modern pop is the perfect escape. It’s great to be able to throw on some Westlife to remind yourself of a better time, but the new generation of boy bands are serenaders of a different kind.
Compare the early 00s hits to those of One Direction, or the softboi revolution that is BTS. See what I mean? Still catchy, but way more mellow than their predecessors.
The worst possible outcome here is for McFly to fall into the same trap that so many before them have – too much synth. Fall Out Boy did it, and Panic! At The Disco did too, relying on the popularity of electronica and leaving their old, punk rock ways behind. It’s not like the new stuff is objectively bad, it’s just disappointing for the fans who have been with them since the beginning.
If McFly go down the modern Top 40 route, they might regain commercial success, but run the risk of alienating most of their audience. Then again, given that most of that audience have long since left their teenage rebellion behind, they’re probably not the best market to capture.
Boy bands like McFly have been cited as influences for groups that are far more recognisable to the modern youth. One Direction, 5SOS and The Vamps have all paid homage to them. The best case scenario is that they come out of the other side of this mysterious announcement with their legacy intact.
And to any of the other noughties boy bands considering a reunion – just don’t. Everyone will remember you more fondly if you just grow old gracefully.