Their music invades radio stations, their fans exist in massive numbers and their faces appear on the cover of every dippy teen magazine that looks like it was put together on Microsoft Paint. One Direction, the British/Irish boy-band, managed to take over the United States of America overnight with colorful skin-tight trousers and irresistible accents.
Yes, the boy-band you hate to love is back (didn’t notice they had left?) with their new album “Take Me Home.” The boys’ rush-job album came out just over a year after their debut album “Up All Night”: which sold 12 million copies in the U.S. last year alone. The speedy album release is a testament to the world’s high demand for those five European lads as well as the managing capabilities of 1D’s “Uncle Si” (Simon Cowell).
Cowell put One Direction together on his British X-Factor in 2010. Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson sung their way to the live shows and were eliminated in third place. However, the band’s success had far exceeded that of any X-Factor winner in history, selling more copies of their album in America than any British band in history. Credit where credit’s due, but while 12-year-old fans like to remind us that 1D outsold the Beatles, that it is in complete disregard of modern technology. In addition, for every album 1D puts out they force their fans to drive to two different location and purchase three separate versions. The Deluxe version, available exclusively at Walmart, includes two bonus songs, while the Yearbook edition, exclusively available at Target, includes two different bonus tracks, on top of the regular edition with desirable cover art.
The boys’ new album seems to flip-flop between two tried-and-true musical styles. The first, being the ever-so-classic-with-today’s-teens spaztic rage song, with hyperactive bass, objectification of women and screaming synthetic guitar noises to accompany the boys shouting in unison about “getting some.” Then it switches gears and hits musical style number two: the slow, wishy-washy ballads meant to make any young Directioners in Crocs swoon at the thought of being Harry’s “princess.”
It becomes exceedingly apparent that the album lacks a certain consistency, like when it jumps from “Little Things,” the over-emotional confession about the imperfections 1D loves about you, to “C’mon C’mon,” a erratic fist-pumpin’ song about ditching their girlfriends they brought to the club to dance with you instead. This is inevitably the result of contracting out to 20 or so different songwriters who aren’t One Direction then asking One Direction, five 19 to 20-year-old guys, to sing about “the dimples in [a girl’s] back at the bottom of [her] spine” as if they actually care. This time around the band has let their accents slip through the songs in an attempt to emulate British singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran’s sincerity and passion. While two of the their tracks were written by their good friend Edward, they stick out farther than Harry’s hair with their infectious acoustic guitar and rasp raw tone.
Ridiculous lyrics make the disconnect between the band and the songs they sing blatant and awkward. In their track “Rock Me,” (take a gander as to which style that falls under) the opening lines begin with Harry as he sings “do you remember summer ‘09? Wanna go back like press the rewind.”
Harold. You were 15 years old in summer ‘09. Who were you “rocking”? Also, I’m not sure if I buy the fact that a world-famous multi-millionaire who performs in different cities every night is longing for those middle school days he spent back in Cheshire.
Their latest single, “Live While We’re Young,” is an impressive rephrasing of the inspirational term You Only Live Once. The song’s beginning guitar riff is the catchiest part, and wrongfully stolen from The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” Get past that and you’ve basically got a group of guys bragging about their causal relations with various women. But don’t rush to judgement girls, at least they’re willing to “pretend it’s love.” Oh yes, and all of this from the same sweet, innocent boy band that wooed us with their breakout hit “What Makes You Beautiful.”
To their credit, Modest Management responded well to the outcry of tweens everywhere when “Up All Night” seemed to be more like “Liam and Harry featuring Zayn” rather than the band as a whole. In their newest album, while Harry still ranks king of the solos the margin of difference has been significantly reduced making “Take Me Home” a true One Direction album.
Here comes the plot twist: I absolutely adore it. Is it great music? No. Do I care? You bet your impending judgment I don’t. The CD has been on replay in my car since before it came out and I bop around listening to it every morning when I cruise down Mission Road to school. While they are nowhere near as innocent as they have fooled our mothers into believing, I can’t help but love each and every one one of those little dweebs.
Like the most of America, I was smitten when “What Makes You Beautiful” first blared through my car speakers. I couldn’t get enough of the British-Irish boy-band that, despite losing the X-Factor, persisted to becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Since then, I have exited the warmth of the honeymoon period and have realized that the boys probably did little to no work to earn their fame other than being cute, foreign and having a manager like Simon Cowell.
I have since seen their angry Twitter breakouts over hurtful rumors. I have tracked their endless sleazy scandals. I have met the type of fans that make it embarrassing to be called Directioner (mainly the ones who bought the 1D dolls). I have hated them as if I actually knew them and been disgusted with their unearned fame.
However, I will never not love them. Regardless of musical merit, their voices are near heavenly. Now, taking those five heavenly voices and adding harmonies and echoes is enough to make millions of girls go gooey-eyed.
“Take Me Home” is similar to the very essence of One Direction in that it is easy to fall in love with. Massively-catchy tunes such as “She’s Not Afraid,” “I Would” and “Heart Attack” are the perfect soundtrack to a classic midnight bop-around-your-bedroom jam sesh. The gorgeous slow sweeping melodies of “Change My Mind,” “They Don’t Know About Us,” and “Back For You,” are mellow and calm, there to lull you to sleep or relax your mind. The harmonies and multi-part duets have a sense that they surround you and you can just forget everything and listen.
Regardless of whether you hate One Direction or have 1D folders in your backpack and posters in your room, it’s hard to deny One Direction Infection. The sheer amount of fans who fall head-over-heels at the mention of them, speak volumes. Literally, just walk into the nearest crowded area and whisper “Harry Styles,” and I guaranteed: heads will turn. The one thing that makes 1D so irresistible to girls worldwide is their relatability as the boys-next-door. While so wildly famous, the boys have done a remarkable job at remaining cheeky teenage boys who shoot Nurf guns at the paparazzi, change their lyrics inappropriately in concert and know how to set up permanent camp in a girl’s heart. And in case you were wondering: yes, I do infact own 1D folders and a poster above my bed, but I will forever remain 1D doll free.