Review: The McFly boys are back and sounding better than ever with Young Dumb Thrills

By Ellie Houghton

It’s been 16 years since British pop rock band McFly first graced our Sony Walkmans with their debut album Room On The 3rd Floor. Since then, they’ve gone from strength to strength, with six studio albums under their belt, a Hollywood film, and a whopping 14 tours.

The band, consisting of lead vocalists and guitar players Tom Fletcher and Danny Jones, drummer Harry Judd and bassist Dougie Poynter, took an indefinite hiatus in 2016 to focus on solo projects and families.

However, six years after promising their fans a new album was on the way they’re back and better than ever with Young Dumb Thrills.

The boys have grown a lot from their fresh-faced teenage heartthrob phase, and their albums reflect their growth perfectly. Compare Young Dumb Thrills to Room On The 3rd Floor and you would be forgiven for thinking these were performed by completely different bands.

The Beach Boys-esque sounds of their first two albums propelled them into stardom, and ensured their faces adorned the walls of teenage girls’ bedrooms throughout the mid 2000s. But as they matured, so did their sound, and Young Dumb Thrills wholly encapsulates the family-orientated, mature point they are at in their lives.

The upbeat opening track Happiness was released as a single in July 2020 and in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it gave their fans something to smile about. The vibe of the track is that they are, you guessed it, happy.

An ideal crowd pleaser on a hot summer day, pint in hand

The lyrics reflect their seemingly perfect, almost unattainable, life; “I never thought a guy like me would find it” and “If this is happiness, I don’t mind having it.” Following Happiness is a catchy, cheerful pop song Another Song About Love. When we finally return to a world where festivals are permitted again, then this tune would be an ideal crowd pleaser on a hot summer day, pint in hand, feeling like everything is right in the world.

Unfortunately, the album does have some imperfections with a few of the songs getting lost amongst the busyness and excitement of the album. You’re Not Special, Head Up and Mad About You fail to stand out in the 12-track record.

This is quickly redeemed, however, by two collaborations. Jamie T-esque indie artist RAT BOY appears on the title track Young Dumb Thrills, a song about clinging onto youth, and still wanting to make some bad choices. McFly echo this message through the lyrics “I’m hoping some young dumb thrills still get me going” with RAT BOY chipping in with “I’m not a leader, I’m a follower, we’re all scum.” This ambitious collaboration really solidifies McFly’s new, mature sound.

Swearing in a McFly song? How times have changed

Meanwhile, Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus – a big inspiration for the band – appears on Growing Up. The track, with its pop-punk sound and faux American accents, takes the die-hard fan back to McFly’s roots, while simultaneously adding an edgier tone with lyrics ‘‘the best you can do is not give a fuck”. Swearing in a McFly song? How times have changed.

After such a long hiatus, the boys really needed to pull it out of the bag for their sixth album, and they definitely do with Young Dumb Thrills. The album is a delicious blend of their pop-punk style roots, sprinkled with mature lyrics and beats. Fans will definitely be hoping this isn’t the last they hear from the fab foursome.

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