One Direction "Take Me Home" Album Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Wed, 14 Nov 2012 08:39:46
New Kids on the Block Photos
One Direction Videos
Boy bands. Every era and generation has one, but not every era or generation has had One Direction. No disrespect to New Kids on the Block, who redesigned the boy band map with their merchandising prowess. No harm, no foul to *NSYNC, whose No Strings Attached sold 2.4 million records its first week in stores in 2000, setting a Soundscan record that has not been matched nor will it be, given the current music industry climate. We're not snubbing 'N Sync peers Backstreet Boys or even 1D contempos The Wanted. It's just that One Direction are reinventing the boy band game. They are the new gold standard, and Take Me Home is the yardstick by which all boy band albums that come after it will be measured.
They are cute and British, yes. But there is a magic in their onstage and musical chemistry that we've not seen previously. We'll take a moment to offer applause and a standing O for Simon Cowell, who recognized that Niall Horan, Zayn Malilk, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson each had something that'd work better in a group than it would as solo acts on the British version of The X Factor. He put them together as a unit and the rest is 1Dstory. BTW, we're still floored that 1D didn't take the crown, but it hasn't deterred them.
When they sing a catchy pop song, like the ultra catchy "Live While We're Young," their voices gel in a way that sounds like they were born to sing together. Besides, who doesn't crank "Let's go crazy, crazy crazy" in their car and sing along when this one comes on the radio or iPod shuffle, depending on your listening preferences. Come on, admit it. We will, if you do.
The boys' voices are cherubic, like angels from heaven, when they attempt an Ed Sheeran-penned ballad like "Little Things." Here is where they shine, making a song that references their beloved's body lines and her love for a cuppa tea seem believable. They can cross the line between super fun, "dance like nobody's watching" pop to serious, acoustic contemplation believably.
"They Don't Know About Us" starts out as a piano-driven, sincere track, which should have the ladies crushing hard, as it escalates into a synthy, smooth mid-tempo jam that changes tempos a few times.
Other standout tracks include the chunky, Auto-tuned"Rock Me," which opens with a Queen-like series of handclaps. The opening to "Live While We're Young" was compared to The Clash, so perhaps the boys have a hankering for classic rock! We can imagine all Directioners wishing that her favorite 1D member would sing "Rock Me" to her.
Listen to the syncopated, beat-driven and utterly cute "Kiss You" and try and expunge it from your brain. It'll take up residence in your cranium and won't budge.
Overall, One Direction didn't upgrade the template with Take Me Home. They rewrote it and made it their own. With shimmery melodies, a flawless execution and perfect exchange of energy and chemistry between Niall and Zayn and Liam and Harry and Louis, there are zero missteps on the album.
There's depth. There's maturity. There's passion. There's danceability. It's a pitch perfect pop masterwork.
One Direction aren't a boy band. All boy bands are now required to live up to One Direction and Take Me Home.
What's your favorite One Direction song?