‘Up All Night’ | One Direction
The return of the boy band has been a long time coming. The Jonas Brothers look surprisingly clairvoyant and avant-garde, what with their quick rise and fall between 2006 and 2008. Justin Bieber followed soon after, and, now, the British are coming. Or they already came. One Direction has the power of Simon Cowell and a third-place finish on the seventh season of the British “X Factor” behind them. The fact that they look like five Bieber doppelgangers certainly helps.
One Direction’s debut studio album “Up All Night” is full of Kelly Clarkson-esque harmless yet infectious pop songs with about three ounces of substance, and, if that’s what you want, that’s what you’re going to get. Heck, one of the songs (“Tell Me a Lie”) was even written for Kelly Clarkson. Every song sounds exactly the same, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In today’s manufactured pop world, it certainly isn’t surprising. The band’s fun songs are, well, incredibly fun. Its ballads aren’t as cringe-inducing as you would expect, and they have surprisingly great harmonies and high notes.
Lead single “What Makes You Beautiful” is summery and fun, and it is probably on its way to radio domination. If it doesn’t hit number one, “One Thing” definitely will—it has one of the best hooks in recent pop history not written by Dr. Luke. The title track is fairly obnoxious. It’s catchy in the worst way and repeats the lyric “Katy Perry’s on replay” way too much for anyone to be comfortable. Even Katy Perry knows better than to name drop horrible artists. She claims to listen to Radiohead. May I suggest “David Bowie’s on replay” instead? The only song that starts out sounding different (bonus track “Moments,” which sounds exactly like everything the Backstreet Boys ever released) eventually ends up on the same electropop beat. Formulaic, sure, but if it works for Taylor Swift, it should work wonders for One Direction. This is a powerhouse debut from the newest preteen girl obsession. Bieber might want to watch his back.