So how have they gone about this relentless romp to national pop domination? There's no X Factor/Simon Cowell marketing machine. No crooning Westlife-esque wet ballads for the mums and Magic radio to get their teeth into. Not even an S Club 7-style kids' TV show to brainwash toddlers with. Nope, they went the old-fashioned route. Whipping out more pop hooks, surf guitars and sugary sweet choruses than our dancing feet knew what to do with. Students, kids and even a few fully-grown men were unable to resist their barrage of pop abuse. From debut single 'Five Colours In Her Hair' and its sunshine harmonies that goose the Beach Boys within an inch of their lives, to the heart-warming candyfloss delights of 'Obviously', they've had a grip on how to make tunes that sparkle without a hint of pretentious irony. When half the nation's 'trendy kids' and 'hip cats' are dressing up in lurid green and neon pink hoodies and declaring their love for 'anything '80s' and insisting it's a sort of post-modern, new-fangled rock movement, it's refreshing to have some kids saying, 'Hey we're popstars and, you know what, we love it!'
What's that I hear you cry? Busted did it all before and a whole load better? Well maybe. But the problem with Busted was that you always knew they wanted to be something bigger and better than a pop band. Even before Charlie switched his school uniform for ripped denim and a black hoodie, you knew he'd prefer to be down the boozer than kicking out some knockabout pop hits on T4 Sunday. James Bourne always looked a bit glum and moody, while Matt gave the impression with his constant gurning and mugging that he'd like to take Robbie Williams' title as the modern-day Norman Wisdom. With McFly, by contrast, there'ss always been an air of innocence. If they have ever become disheartened, harboured grander intentions or wanted to tell June Sarpong to stuff her bloody questions, they've done a fantastic job of hiding it behind their ice-white smiles and chirpy banter. Plus they have a drummer, which makes the whole pretence that they're not a boyband dressed up with guitars a whole lot easier to swallow.
Of course any 'best of' by a band with only three albums is always going to have a few remnants of twaddle. Anyone fortunate enough to avoid their blasphemous and truly horrendous massacre of Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' is treated to it here in all its Freddie Mercury-savaging glory. New track 'The Way You Make Me Feel' wants to be some grand, swaying anthem but ends up as dull as an EastEnders omnibus, while the self-consciously wacky 'Transylvania' has about five dozen songs squeezed into one, but not one of them is worthy of a place on this LP. But such mishaps and botched moments are surely what the skip button was invented for. If nothing else it's certainly better than anything Simon Cowell has produced in the last ten years. It's not life-changing. It will probably sound terribly dated in five years' time. And we're sure some folk will despise it. But for those prepared to let their barrier of 'coolness' drop for a few moments and when you're in the mood for a bop rather than a battle, or a melody rather than a message, this Greatest Hits is here to ease your pain.