We’re big fans of Busted here at FreakyTrigger; speculative futurism, analysis of authority in the education system, asking people to dance at the disco and Thunderbirds are all highly relevant to our interests and I’m confident that if Charlie hadn’t thrown a strop to go and attempt to gain that elusive approval from Biffy Clyro that seems to be the prize on the X Factor these days then I’m confident their third album would’ve contained a song about the long egg continuum.
Air Hostess is a puzzling piece of their discography -lots of Busted’s songs namechecked being in a band but this was the first one to talk about being famous. More than foxy uniforms, this is a song about being the kind of international popstar who takes planes, who goes through crowded airports surrounded by paparazzi flashbulbs and gets away with throwing peanuts down the aisle. Which sounds like highly antisocial behaviour on an aeroplane and so is almost certainly pretty rock and roll.
Air Hostess also follows the common theme from the band of “unattainable women” but where most of the other objects of affection have ended in a fantasy romantic situation, the air hostess “can’t because [she’s] working, the paparazzi’s lurking, [she] doesn’t know [they’re] in a band, it’s not that people know [them], one photo’s worth a hundred grand.” This sounds like quite an inflated idea of Busted’s pap stock but I’m no financial analyst and so I’ll concentrate instead on the dynamic here- Air Hostess was the first single off Busted’s second album, coming from a successful tour they were confident, no question as to whether the lady will fall for them, no more dreaming of Miss Mackenzie: we’re in business class now, even if they have messed their pants as they flew over France*
The difference between being turned town at the disco and only being held back from joining the mile high club by paparazzi is pretty substantial- this was Busted’s announcement of their arrival, with a relatively expensive video and the opener for the cockily-titled A Present For Everyone album campaign. This is the sort of ballsy move that used to be reserved for rockstars and top rappers, not snotty pop bands but it was the sort of obnoxious move that sat well with the increasing punk-style pop criticism that had been building in what I feel an urge to stuff my own fist in my mouth to stop myself calling “the blogosphere.”
Yes, Popjustice was a big fan of Steps but it was the bolshiness of groups like Busted and Girls Aloud that came to characterise the pop resurrection and supremacy of the 00s; suddenly, a series of popstars appeared who appeared to (ok, possibly not James) “get it.” Air Hostess isn’t Busted’s best song but it was a massive herald of an era of amazing pop songs which were largely amazing because they didn’t care if they were stupid. Essentially, the exact antithesis of everything that Matt Cardle stands for and simultaneously, completely the opposite of what someone like Jessie J is trying to do- Busted upset people by being a pop group without apologising for it (well, until Charlie decided he would) to which the upset was just a sideline, rather than being the point of the thing.
It seems ridiculous now to imagine the amount of rock press column-inches that were devoted to saying how rubbish and stupid a band who sang a song about wanting to have sex with an attractive woman on an aeropane were and retrospectively, it’s hard to believe there’s anything controversial about the band at all but I can guarantee there’ll be several comments going ‘Busted were shit you don’t have ears they didnt evun play they’re instruments worst list ever how dare you put this on the internet’ within a week here. And that’s a pretty mighty legacy for a defunct, two-album boyband if I ever heard one.
I can only find versions of the video ripped off (at this point, in its twilight years) Saturday morning kids’ TV so it misses out all the rude bits. And that’s no fun. So I’m afraid you’ll have to have the audio version-
*This line has always been troubling; I assume they mean to imply premature ejaculation but it sounds like a deeply unalluring scatological travel nightmare.
Edit: something seems to have gone deeply wrong with the Youtube embed thing? Did I miss this?