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Fact-checking Busted’s Year 3000, 15 years on

Fifteen years ago this month Busted’s second single was ‘riding high’ in the UK charts.

Year 3000 was denied the top spot thanks to David ‘David Sneddon’ Sneddon’s Stop Living The Lie, but Year 3000’s cultural importance was sealed years later thanks to a cover in which The Jonas Brothers removed all references to tits and granddaughters.

Back in 2003 most of us wrote Year 3000 off as the deranged fantasy of a songwriting lunatic but a decade and a half later, from the vantage point of 2018, we have to ask:

1. Now we’re fifteen years closer to the Year 3000, what steps have been taken to hit the targets set out in Busted’s song?

2. If progress has been made, could Busted’s prophecy come to pass?

3. AND IF SO, could Year 3000 actually have been a true story?

In Year 3000, James from Busted tells the story of coming home from school one lunchtime and being disturbed by a noise coming from next door. 1

When James queries this noise with his neighbour Peter, Peter claims to have invented a time machine “like one in a film [James has] seen”. Peter also possesses a flux capacitor. Peter tells James of a future in which women (some? All? It’s not specified) have three breasts, in which people live underwater and in which one of James’ descendants is “pretty fine”, which is how people said bangable in 2003.

James also learns that Busted’s seventh album has sold well, that Busted have outsold Michael Jackson, and that Year 3000 itself has become a multi-platinum hit despite not yet even having been written.

Let’s examine, in more detail, the claims made in the song — and see whether Busted’s predictions are on their way to coming true.

Claim 1: “This song had gone multi-platinum.”

To date Busted’s single has achieved Gold status in the UK, with Wikipedia data claiming it has shifted 465,000 units. Although the single was also a hit in Europe, it seems unlikely that the single has yet reached multi-platinum status.

Verdict: FALS— 

EXCEPT!!! The Year 3000 prophecy clearly states that it is the song, rather than just the original single release, that hits multi-platinum status. The Jonas Brothers’ version sold over 1m copies in the US alone — “they paid my mortgage for four years,” Matt from Busted later noted — and platinum status for single releases currently stands at 600,000 copies in the UK.

Year 3000 has therefore gone twice platinum, which counts as multi, and that’s before you even factor in the sales boost the song will receive in the final months of the year 2999.

Verdict: TRUE

Claim 2: “Everybody bought our seventh album.”

One common misconception here is that Busted are claiming they will still be alive in the Year 3000. That of course would be ridiculous, but it’s not specified in the song that Busted’s seventh album is actually released in the Year 3000. It’s merely suggested that the album has been released by the Year 3000.

But whenever it’s released, would that seventh album actually be so popular that everyone bought it? Unlikely based on current trends — Busted’s 2016 comeback Night Driver was a decent album but didn’t go Top 10, whereas the band’s two previous studio albums had each sold over 1m copies.

Realistically, the biggest chance of this claim coming to pass involves Busted releasing another three albums that will be made available during their lifetimes. They will also record, but not release, their seventh album, which will be stored until after an extinction-level event (like this one predicted by a NASA scientist, or this one written about earlier this week), the only survivors of which will be those who chose to believe Busted’s Year 3000 prophecy.

The world will then be populated only by Busted fans, who will come to see Busted’s unreleased work as some sort holy text, meaning that when it is eventually released everybody will indeed buy Busted’s seventh album.

Verdict: TBC

Claim 3: “It had outsold Michael Jackson.”

The claim that Busted’s seventh album outsells Michael Jackson is fairly vague. Does it refer to Michael Jackson’s all-time sales, or just to Michael’s sales in a specific timeframe?

In November 2013, for instance, when Busted released their third studio album Night Driver, the band did indeed outsell Michael Jackson on the UK albums chart, so they have already proved that they are capable of pulling this off.

Furthermore, if Busted fans really are the only people left on the planet, it’s entirely reasonable to expect that they will outsell any other artist’s releases.

Verdict: TBC

Claim 4: “Your great-great-great granddaughter is pretty fine.”

Would a member of Busted’s great-great-great-granddaughter even be alive in the Year 3000, which is currently 982 years away?

Well, we need to talk about sperm. Due to boring biological things regarding fertility, to give this part of the prophecy the best chance of coming to pass, a member of Busted would have to father a son, who in turn fathered a son, who then fathered a son, who then fathered a son, who then fathered the Busted member’s great-great-great-granddaughter.

The world’s oldest father is Ramjit Raghav, who in 2012 fathered a child at the age of 96. If a member of Busted can repeat that feat, and if we choose the youngest member of Busted, which is 32-year-old Charlie, we’re looking at Charlie becoming a father 62 years from now, in the year 2082. If Charlie’s son, grandson, great-grandson and great-great-grandson also have children at the age of 96 that’ll take us up to 2466.

This means Charlie’s great-great-great-granddaughter would have to a) live to the age of 534 and b) still at that age be looking “pretty fine” in order for the Year 3000 prophecy to be accurate. It seems unlikely, but the story’s not over yet.

The World Health Organisation reported that global life expectancy increased by five years between 2000 and 2015, representing the biggest increase since the 1960s. In 2015 life expectancy for males was 73.8 years, meaning that life expectancy had increased by 6.7% in the space of 15 years. And what would happen if global life expectancy increased by 6.7% every fifteen years? Well, humans would live to 79 by 2030, 96 by 2075, and so on. Life expectancy would be 148 by 2180 and 202 by 2255.

Look, we’re not going to ‘do the math’ on the whole thing because by 2107 someone probably will have developed a magical life extension serum, but the long and short of it is that Charlie’s great-great-great-granddaughter probably will be looking pretty fine in the Year 3000. In fact, if life expectancy does indeed increase, we wouldn’t even need to be basing this on Busted’s youngest member, so the story told to James could indeed be totally accurate.

Verdict: THIS IS DEFINITELY GOING TO HAPPEN

Claim 5: “Triple breasted women walk around town totally naked.”

Well this has already happened, except it hasn’t.

In 2014 a 21-year-old woman calling herself Jasmine Tridevil made international headlines when she announced that she’d undergone surgery to have a third breast chucked on her body. The claims were immediately doubted by experts (this report is particularly relevant here because the accompanying video is titled ‘Three breasts? Or has she been busted?’), and by the following year some dubiously-obtained thermal imaging data appeared to prove that the whole thing had been a load of nonsense, despite Yasmine’s insistence that she did, indeed, have three breasts.

Someone will probably get it actually done within the next few centuries though, right?

Verdict: LIKELY. LIKE, NOT TO GET ALL DAILY MAIL ABOUT IT, BUT YOU KNOW WHERE SOCIETY IS HEADING 

Claim 6: “He told me he’d built a time machine like one in a film I’ve seen.”

To really unpack this we’d need to know all the films containing time machines that James from Busted had seen prior to meeting Peter that afternoon, but it’s fair to assume the film in question was Back To The Future.

This is a tricky one, because for reasons too complicated to go into here it’s really hard to definitively state whether or not someone has ever invented a time machine, and it’s currently impossible to track Peter down in order to verify James’ claims. One explanation for this is that Peter is now living in the future.

Ultimately, ask yourself this: did James from Busted have any reason to lie about his encounter?

Verdict: HARD TO PROVE BUT WHY WOULD JAMES LIE?

Claim 7: “Not much has changed but we live underwater.”

Well this is just global warming isn’t it? General environmental stuff. It seems amazing that even though Busted warned us of the planet’s fate, there are still those who deny the existence of climate change.

On the other hand… Well, if Busted’s prophecy does indeed come to pass, life in a post-global warming world doesn’t seem too bad, does it? People are underwater, yes, but they are living there. People are still enjoying boybands. Doesn’t seem so awful, right? In fact if life in those circumstances is indeed fairly good, why don’t we stop worrying about global warming? Why don’t we just accelerate it and cut to the part where we’re all underwater listening to boybands?

Readers, if we’ve learned one thing today it’s that if we don’t want to spend our lives worrying about global warming, the best course of action is to get it out of the way. The sooner the better.

Verdict: TRUE UNLESS WE ALL START REUSING OUR CUPS AND RESIGN OURSELVES TO A LIFETIME OF ALL THE STUFF IN OUR BAGS BEING COVERED IN COFFEE BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH YOU THINK YOU’VE FINISHED THE DRINK YOU NEVER REALLY HAVE, HAVE YOU? THERE’S ALWAYS A BIT LEFT AND IT ALWAYS GOES ALL OVER EVERYTHING

Claim 8: Boybands, and another one, and another one, and another one

In Busted’s song it’s suggested that in the Year 3000 boybands will continue to exist, although no claims are made regarding these pop groups’ popularity.

Will boybands still exist in 982 years? Well, there are probably some LOLs to be had here about — hey! — what happens if anti-discriminatory employment law extends to the music industry, and what happens if it becomes illegal to even advertise for boyband members, but that’s all a bit Farage isn’t it?

Instead, let’s just accept that people will always want to watch shirtless men touching each other, so we’re saying YES to this. In the Year 3000 there will indeed be boybands.

Verdict: LIKELY

IN CONCLUSION

Based on our research we can conclude that Year 3000, far from being the flight of fancy it may once have seemed, could be based on true events.

Back in 2003 most of us wrote the song off as a work of fiction but credit is finally due to Busted, who risked their credibility in order to bring us the truth.

Whether or not their behaviour was morally sound is a different question. Has this glimpse of the future changed the way we behave in the present? Does the existence of Year 3000 and the song’s continued popularity mean that our understanding of the future, and therefore the future itself, has been altered? Despite the positive findings in our research, has the song Year 3000 actually ensured that the events it documents will never ultimately come to pass?

We’ve got 982 years to figure it out.


  1. This is not to be confused with hapless 2000s boyband The Noise Next Door, who were basically Busted but triplets.

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