One Direction’s “Up All Night” rekindles reviewer’s old hatred for boy bands
Daniel Barbour, Staff Writer
May 3, 2012
Filed under Arts & Leisure
I’m honestly not sure why I decided to do this. I’m inclined to say that no one in their right mind would willingly listen to an entire album by the artist which I’m bringing to you this week, but I did it.
Not only did I listen to One Direction’s most recent album “Up All Night” in its entirety, I actually ended up listening to some of it twice. I’m fairly certain that according to certain state laws, this qualifies as a form of self-inflicted cruel and unusual punishment. But nonetheless, for your benefit, reader, I dove head first into the neon pink shark-infested waters of this infernal and now inescapable British boy band.
One Direction has been getting increasingly popular in the states as of late through a great deal of online exposure, but they’ve been known in the UK since their debut on the British TV series “The X Factor” on which they were formed.
The group came in third during the competition’s seventh season, and as a result, were signed to Syco records, allowing them to be released upon the unsuspecting world, including yours truly, who discovered them one fateful day a few weeks ago via one of those unskippable YouTube ads which I’m sure you’ve all grown to loath.
In a lot of ways, One Direction’s music is something we’ve all heard before. The album starts off with the exceedingly Jonas Brothers-y “What Makes You Beautiful,” which does an excellent job of filling in all of the boxes for how to be a successful boy band. Only three chords for the entirety of the song? Check. Innocent and cutesy? Check. Aimed at a nonspecific love interest to serve as a stand-in for the listener? Check. Infuriatingly catchy? Checkola.
The song’s writers (what, did you think that these guys wrote their own music or something? No, no, that’s for talented bands) certainly did a fantastic job of putting together a song that hits every single stereotypical songwriting tactic for appealing to the tween girl demographic.
But while this may make the song marketable, it certainly doesn’t do a good job of making it vaguely tolerable to listen to. To be honest, the only idiosyncratic thing I noticed about this song is the fact that, in the video, nearly all of the members have really awful hair. If you’re going to be in a boy band, isn’t that the one thing you should at least get right? But I digress.
The rest of the songs on the album similarly follow the standard boy band archetypes that anyone born in the ‘90s or earlier is probably familiar with.
For example, you’ve got the “Oh no, I messed up and did something nonspecifically bad to you but I promise not to do it again” cliché (on that note, what did you do? Shoot her puppy? Photoshop her head onto a picture of Rick Ross? We want details!) in the form of the song “It’s Gotta Be You.”
The rest of the track list includes several more generic tween love songs, “More Than This” (which is, lyrically, just a really bad version of “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers) and various others of equally lackluster quality.
That said, the song which really puts this album over the top is probably “Tell Me a Lie.” Maybe it’s just my distaste for that particular dubstep-style synth setting popping up again, but the combination of the infuriatingly annoying vocals and the fact that it uncannily sounds like five guys doing a Katy Perry song with borrowed LMFAO synth made this the hardest song on the album to listen through all the way. And believe me, readers, that’s saying something.
Being a boy band and all, we can pretty safely assume that given another year or two, we’ll have seen the last of this group until one of them ends up shooting a prostitute or caught in some Colombian drug smuggling ring or something. Until that day, we can just be thankful that we haven’t been dealing with them since 2010 like our friends across the pond have.