Album Review: ‘Take Me Home’
- for fans of
- Justin Bieber, The Wanted, Ed Sheehan
- singles to download
- ‘They Don’t Know About Us,’ ‘Heart Attack,’ ‘Live While We’re Young’
If you are caught by surprise by One Direction’s new release, you’re not alone. It comes only eight months after their debut album “Up All Night,” which rocketed them to the top of charts both in their British homeland (where they were formed by Simon Cowell on the U.K. version of “The X Factor”) and across the world. Thus, the speediness of their second album “Take Me Home” may be an obvious moneymaking ploy, but that doesn’t detract from the tightly polished track list of guitar-fueled pop.
The appeal of the five-person band is impossible to deny—dreamy good looks and perfectly-done hair combine with smooth and honeyed vocals to create every preteen girl’s ideal pop stars and pretend boyfriends. Even those not in the target audience tend to agree that the band’s songs are solid, enjoyable and harmless boy band pop, and “Take Me Home” only continues this trend. If anything, this album owns its demographic even more unashamedly, with the requisite slow song to melt hearts (“Little Things”) and impossibly catchy sing-along singles (“Live While We’re Young”). In particular, “They Don’t Know About Us” sounds like it could’ve come straight out of the 90’s craze for ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, and it is all the more charming for it.
The members of One Direction have relatively little writing input on this album, and it shows. “Over Again,” penned by up-and-coming British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, sounds just like a popped-up version of one of Sheeran’s heartfelt acoustic ballads with more reverb, trademark quirky lyrics and all (“I can make your tears fall down like the showers that are British”). Other songs written by Top 40 factories like Shellback and Rami Yacoub will slot right into their deserved places on repeat on girl’s iPods and in endless circulation on the radio. In the case of perfectly tuned confections like “Heart Attack” and “Last First Kiss,” this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Certainly, One Direction continues to impress within its wheelhouse, and “Take Me Home” lives up to the infectiousness of “Up All Night,” but there’s nothing innovative or different here.