Being successful in music is easy; throw enough money at a project and you can get them switching on Christmas lights and headlining park pop fiestas within a year. The difficult part is capturing longevity and, most importantly to the musicians involved, credibility. McFly are a classic example of this conundrum. From day one, there's been the underlining of the fact that Tom, Dougie, Danny and Harry play their own instruments and write their own tunes. Yet, despite that, they’re grouped with Girls Aloud and Shayne Ward, rather than Kaiser Chiefs and Coldplay.
The reality is that such things don't matter. After all, Elvis didn't write a note of any one of his chart-toppers did he? What matters is how good the songs are and, on the whole, McFly's are pretty good. From the energetic surf guitars of "Five Colours In Her Hair", through the epic hair-rock of "The Heart Never Lies" and the Beatles-gone-west-coast fun of "That Girl", and out to the tight harmonies of gothic-pop weirdo "Transylvania", this compilation shows they have always had an ear for a catchy hook and memorable melody.
They also do a fine line in cover versions, as shown by the straight-up take on Queen's "Don’t Stop Me Now" and the Brian Wilson-esque reworking of Jellyfish's "Baby’s Coming Back".
Where they let themselves down is in their lyrics. They may never have intended to be a collection of Bob Dylans, but rhyming 'early' with 'thirty' on "Room On The Third Floor" and 'boyfriend' with 'bend' in "Obviously" they create songs that will always fall short of greatness. And that's not to mention the staggeringly dubious couplet of 'Hey, there's nothing on Earth that could save us/When I feel in love with Uranus': Taking the shine off the otherwise sprightly "Star Girl".
But they're still young and that’s the main point here. They may have put out three albums in three years and be on a Greatest Hits before Dougie has even reached his 21st birthday, but there is still a long road ahead for McFly. Who knows? In five years' time, they might just come up with a Revolver. Even John and Paul started with "Please Please Me"…