Top critical review
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A present for everyone [under the age of 13]
on 14 January 2004
Ok, so you really have to throw all snobbery out the window if you are serious about being a Busted fan. They're not exactly the critics' choice, and whoever came up with the idea of making three slightly-more-talented-than-average lads from the home counties the new saviours of pop really needs a medal. But I'll admit it, their first album was very enjoyable. Hardly rocket science: chunky guitars, cheeky lyrics and a handful of wet ballads. But damn good fun nevertheless. And Year 3000 has to be the best Back to the Future-referencing song since, well, pretty much anything. Evidently, the pressure was very much on to deliver with the follow up, but could Charlie, Matty and the ugly-but-talented James come up with the goods?
Well, kind of... A Present starts off at a pretty savage pace with the impossibly likeable Air Hostess - a smutty teenage paean to Monarch's lovely ladies, which never fails to raise a smile. Crashed the Wedding is an equally catchy pop/punk anthem for the pant-wetting generation, and Who's David? keeps things ticking along at a fair old clip. After the pleasant and mildly amusing She Wants To Be Me the boys even manage to pull off a vaguely moody number, 3am, with its nagging string arrangement and plaintive Simpson-vocal. Still, I'm not really sure what it's about, and definitely not convinced James is allowed up at this hour. A promising start though.
Unfortunately from then on, there just aren't enough decent tunes, and we find our heroes left rehashing the same sub-Blink 182 melodies and mixing it up with an equal number of wimpy ballads. Sorry chaps, but Over Now is very lame, and as for the mid-tempo slush of Gotta Be Better Than This, well, the less said about that one, the better. Having said this, it's certainly not a poor album, and there is some genuinely good songwriting on display, it's just a problem of quantity taking precedent over quality in the end. Plus it doesn't have What I Go To School For. Must try harder. B+