Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain fate, is the 2005 second McFly album – Wonderland. Is this album an amazing ride, or does it make you wonder why you bothered? Read on…
This 12 track album opens with I’ll Be Ok, the second single. The song gently tingles in, before a wave of rich warm guitars sweep in with the first verse. There’s some wonderful vocal harmonies here, and the song really shows the group off musically and vocally. About 2/3rds of the way through there’s a wonderful organ section that sounds like it’s been borrowed from an early 70s hit, but i’ve no idea which one. This song gave them their 4th UK #1 single.
I’ve Got You follows this, and this song is slightly heavier with roaring guitars and bass, and the vocal harmonies are stronger. At about 2mins in, there’s a *slight* Radiohead moment, but it quickly passes, returning a fast, catchy track. Sadly, this didn’t make it as a single.
Fourth and final single Ultraviolet is up next (although it was one part of a double-A side single). At times it feels a little bit like an Oasis song with it’s melody and contrasting vocals. Again, almost like a missing 70’s hit, there’s another really mellow section before the final big push in the final third.
This is followed by the other half of the final double-A side single, The Ballad Of Paul K. This song plods along amicably, but it’s not as interesting as the previous songs on this album. This single, complete with Ultraviolet, became their lowest charting single at that point, reaching #9 in the UK.
Third single I Wanna Hold You follows and this song has a much stronger pace to it. There’s a momentary disco nod with a flurry of strings, before a very reminiscent of Beatles style vocal meets Status Quo/Grease movie music turns up.
Things mellow out for next song Too Close For Comfort, which acts as a nice mid-tempo guitar track. The vocals are strong and confident here, and the guitar takes second place.
All About You, the lead single, which was released for Comic Relief 2005, opens with luxuriant strings before the gentle vocal harmonies and acoustic guitars usher you into the first verse. As some finger-clicks lead you along, more strings join in. This is a beautifully mellow song that flows perfectly along. Flawless, and deserved it’s #1 position.
The strings continue for next track She Falls Asleep, Part 1, with no sign of the group. At times it reminds me of the desert scenes of Tattoine in Star Wars, but it is a surprise addition to a McFly album. It flows seamlessly into She Falls Asleep, Part 2, which introduces piano and vocals. Woodwind arrive, along with brass and harp, giving you yet more nods to some classic Beatles songs. The vocals weave the whole song together with little effort. Segments from Part 1 return to close Part 2 in the final section. A beautiful and unexpected addition to an album of guitar pop.
Tenth track Don’t Know Why opens with some wonderfully warm strumming acoustic guitars, and a softer beat. Vocal harmonies are once again a highlight in this song.
Penultimate track Nothing opens with some wonderfully intricate guitar that gets a few airings throughout the song. The song roars along until about 2mins or so, when we get another one of those 70’s styled mellow mid sections before the final push. The pace here makes this a real foot-tapper and certainly more than ‘nothing‘.
The album comes with Memory Lane, a name that would go on to give them the title to their Best Of album in 2012. This song has a great tempo, and the alternating vocals really helps to boost this song. The song brings the orchestra back for an epic finale, where timpani, strings and every instrument they could find, comes in to have a go.
Where are McFly now?
McFly’s career has continued to flourish with singles, albums, tours, and appearances on numerous TV shows, including talent/reality shows.
In an interview with Digital Spy in 2012, they described Wonderland as their ‘rebellious stage‘. Lead songwriter during this period is Tom Fletcher, who in his biography described how his bipolar disorder affected the writing of this album.
After this album’s singles, they returned to #1 with a cover of Queen‘s hit Don’t Stop Me Now.
The group have gone on to produce hit album and singles ever since, with their last charting single being in 2013, after which they merged with group Busted to become McBusted, bringing them a string of successful tours.
In June 2015, Tom announced that he wants to return to the studio as McFly to record their sixth album.
POP RESCUE RATING
Over all, if you like McFly, then you’ll like this. If you’re indifferent to McFly (like me), then the album is alright, but the singles really stand out and the rest sounds very similar. In that case, you’d probably fare better with their best of album, although you would miss the wonderful She Falls Asleep tracks.
There’s plenty of nods here to some 70’s psychedelia here, as well as Beatles, Oasis, and a little Status Quo, but it is undeniably McFly. They deserved the success they saw from the singles, but in with 10 years of hindsight, this album feels a bit same-y.
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 3 / 5
- 2005 UK CHART POSITION: #1, certified Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from an British Heart Foundation store.