Sunday, 10 April 2016

Music Made the Girl: How a Band Helped With My Self-Discovery

Music Made the Music

Music is such an every day part of our lives that I think we can sometimes take it for granted. Music isn't just entertainment, it's an art form, but also a means of expression that can really mean something to the listener. We can be touched by the lyrics or the melody, or felt understood when a songwriter somehow managed to put into words what you have always felt or thought. Music can mean so much.

When I was a teenager, the British pop punk band Busted meant a huge deal to me. To many, Busted would be considered a guilty pleasure, but I could never feel guilty for loving a band that did so much for me.

I wasn't much liked at school. I was quiet and shy, I didn't fit in, and so was unpopular. I was also mildly bullied. When it came to music, it was only cool to like RnB, Hip Hop and Rap, none of which were my bag. I was more into Britney Spears, S Club 7 and Steps, not that many people outside of my friends knew, because I would keep it quiet. I got enough grief as it was I didn't need to give people more reason to laugh at me.

Then Busted came along. They were completely unlike any music I had previously enjoyed or considered my "thing". But their music was catchy, their lyrics funny, and my eyes were opened to a completely different side of music, music that was taken seriously by a band who didn't take themselves as people too seriously.

I was 15 when Busted released What I Go to School For, the same time as I was figuring out who I was and who I wanted to be. Who Busted were really woke something in me. With their funny lyrics and how they took the mick out of themselves, they showed me it was ok not only ok to not be traditionally "cool", but to be yourself. I was quiet and I was shy, but I was funny. I might not have worn the right clothes or listened to the right music, but I could enjoy the things that made me happy.

Being a fan of Busted almost became a lifestyle; I was signed up to their Street Team and took part in missions, my weekends involved getting up early to watch them on SMTV Live, CD:UK and other shows, and I started experimenting with my style. It wasn't so much that I was copying them as continuing to figure myself out, but being open and proud about it. I stopped dressing to be invisible, but to wear what I liked, and everyone knew I liked Busted, because I wouldn't shut up about them. Busted also opened the door to other music; I discovered bands like Blink 182 and Sum 41, but also older bands like Bon Jovi, Meatloaf, and Guns N' Roses.

There's nothing quite like discovering something, anything, that makes you feel it's ok to be you at a time when everyone else is making you feel less than. Busted gave me a quiet confidence; I wouldn't out myself in the spotlight now, but I wouldn't try to be the small girl who went under the radar. I was me, I was ok, and I wasn't going to hide.

When Busted split up, I was devastated. But more than that, I was raging. If they had just split up and things were left, I would have plateaued at devastated, but comments were made by Charlie that really got to me. Of course, I can't find the articles now that upset me so much back then, but I remember reading the words "foot in the door". To Charlie, Busted were a foot in the door to the music industry, and he said words to the affect of never liking the kind of music Busted were making. And I was crushed. Because, what about me? The band was a means to an end (my words), a way to get into the business, and I just felt so cheated. What about all the time I spent loving and promoting and living this band? What about my love for the music he so casually dismissed? I felt insulted. I felt it would have been kinder if he never put down something that was so important to me, so integral to helping me become the person I was.

When Matt and James joined up with McFly to create McBusted, I was ecstatic! Two of my favourite bands, joining forces to create a supergroup. I went to see them at the O2 arena, I got the songs I loved from McFly, but also old Busted songs, that brought back a rush of nostalgia. It was overwhelming. I knew that even after all this time, my love for that band hadn't diminished. I was older, wiser, more mature, and much more comfortable in my skin, but I remembered being that unsure girl, and how much their music meant to me. And there was so much gratitude and love and affection for those two guys, and for the other four for allowing Matt and James to join them and give us those songs again.

I admit when I heard that Busted were reforming, I was sceptical. For McBusted to go ahead, Matt and James had to buy Charlie out of the Busted brand. McBusted then did well. A tour, an album, and another tour. And now Busted has reformed with Charlie. It just seems to me that he saw how well McBusted were doing, and wanted a slice of the pie. Saying that, I did buy ticket to see Busted perform at the O2 arena next month, despite my feelings about Charlie's return. I loved - no, love - that band, and they did so much for me, it would be wrong not to go to their gig to support and say thank you, and relive my time as a teen - that was, although at times difficult, a much simpler time.

So no, Busted are not my guilty pleasure. They're where my roots are, they're the foundation on which I built myself. In a way, Busted made me. And I will always be eternally grateful.

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