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Originally grabbing the public's attention with their hooky punk-meets-boy band sound, Britain's Busted broke up in 2005, only to re-form a decade later as a more mature, if no less pop-oriented outfit. MTV/TRL U.K. favorites with their early albums like 2003's A Present for Everyone, Busted went their separate ways for over a decade before getting back together for the '80s disco-funk infused Night Driver. They returned to their more pop-punk roots with 2019's Half Way There.
Hailing from Essex, Busted was formed in 2000 by longtime friends Matt Willis (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and James Bourne (vocals, bass). After some lineup changes, Suffolk-born Charlie Simpson (vocals, guitars, drums) joined and the band was solidified. In 2002, they debuted with the playful, eponymously titled Busted, an album that found the trio straddling the line between cheeky blink-182-style punk and melodic, guitar-based songcraft. Initially slow to start, the album eventually reached number two on the U.K. albums chart and produced a handful of hit singles, including "What I Go to School For," "The Year 3000," "You Said No," and "Sleeping with the Light On."
On the heels of their breakout success, Busted released their sophomore album, 2003's A Present for Everyone, which showcased a slightly nervier rock sound accented by keyboards and horns. Also well-received, the album produced three number one hits with "Crashed the Wedding," "Who's David," and "Thunderbirds/3AM." It also garnered them several Brit Award nominations, including Best British Group, Best British Breakthrough Artist, and Best Pop Act. The band then capped off 2004 with a headlining tour, documented on Live: A Ticket for Everyone. In 2005, Simpson left the group, choosing instead to focus his attentions on his post-hardcore band Fightstar and, later, his own folky solo career. Subsequently, Bourne and Willis also set Busted aside and spent the next several years pursuing their own solo projects.
It wasn't until 2013 that Bourne and Willis reunited for a joint tour with Britain's McFly, billed as McBusted. Encouraged by the positive fan response, the duo approached Simpson about a possible full Busted reunion. Despite some initial reticence, Simpson jumped back on board and the rejuvenated Busted decamped to Philadelphia, where they began collaborating on new material. Since their breakup, Busted had matured and deepened their shared musical influences, a transformation that found them communing over classic '80s adult contemporary recordings from Bruce Hornsby and Phil Collins, as well as modern electronic productions by Daft Punk and the Naked and Famous. It was in this creative head space that they flew to Los Angeles and began recording their third studio effort with producer John Fields (Switchfoot, Jonas Brothers, Jimmy Eat World). Released in 2016, Night Driver showcased a set of hooky, neon-lit anthems that found the group exploring a sophisticated blend of club-ready '80s-style disco-funk, synth-laden new wave, and bass-heavy alt-pop. Included on Night Driver were the singles "Coming Home" and "On What You're On."
Despite a generally positive reception, the band returned to their roots for the follow-up, 2019's Half Way There, by delivering an album full of the sugar-coated, energetic punk that shot them to stardom in 2003. Featured on the album were the singles "Nineties" and "Radio." ~ Matt Collar
- Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England
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