Saturday Flashback: McFly – Mr Brightside

“Interesting alternate-universe version, isn’t it?”

Tom: This is one of the bravest covers I’ve ever heard: but if anyone can pull it off, it’s the band that managed a decent shot at covering Don’t Stop Me Now.

Tim: Yep, I’m listening.

Tom: Important context: this was in 2005, when Mr Brightside was only about a year or so old, and before it had truly settled into the pantheon of Songs Everyone Knows. Plus, this was just the B-side of a single, back when singles had B-sides. So while this isn’t quite as bold a move as it seems, it’s still going to be an interesting listen for anyone who knows every note of the original.

Tom: Interesting alternate-universe version, isn’t it?

Tim: Yeah – it sounds…weird. I don’t to say ‘wrong’, because I guess it isn’t, but definitely weird, although that’s likely just due to over-familiarity with the original.

Tom: The only thing that I think falls down here are the vocals. Not because they’re bad — but because they’re McFly, and those voices and accents are suited more for their regular style. “It was only a kiss” just doesn’t sound right: it’s not a patch on the melodramatic original, it’s just sounds a bit like someone’s recounting a night out to their mates down the pub.

Tim: Hmm. I think the could perhaps work if the original hadn’t been heard and hadn’t been such a big hit, because it can work like this, even with that feeling to it. It’s just, like you said, it’s not a patch on the melodrama that the Killers give it.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Flashback: McFly – Mr Brightside”

  1. I have a LOT of feelings about McFly – they’re my favourite band of all time, I adore them, they were the last gig I’ll ever get to go to (I’m photosensitive and strobes at gigs give me seizures). This cover? Noooot the best. I HIGHLY recommend their cover of The Winner Takes It All (I prefer it to the original) and also their unreleased demo track “Dragon Ball”. I’d be interested to see what you think of Dragon Ball!

  2. It’s very funny how familiarity with the original work can influence a person’s opinion of a song. When I was growing up my father had a CD from a brazilian band called Engenheiros do Hawaii. It was fashionable at the time to relaunch successful albums playing acoustic instruments only by MTV invite. This was their CD my father had. After many years I still listen to this album and every time I play it for my friends they find the songs very odd. I never heard the original album, which is the one familiar to them. For me the MTV version has always been the normal one and I prefer it over the original. Same band, same songs and yet the version we listen to and like first sets our preference.

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