Release Date: Nov 13, 2012
Record label: Sony Music Entertainment
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop, Teen Pop, Contemporary Pop/Rock
Cuteness-wise, One Direction make all the other boy bands look like hunchbacks who should've never been let out of the bell tower. That lets them get over as little more than bland song conduits. Their second album rivals the best of Backstreet and 'N Sync when the material pumps (power-pop sure shots like "Kiss You," "Back for You" and the Clash-biting "Live While We're Young," written by masters like Shellback and Rami Yacoub).
Throughout their two studio albums, the fresh-faced young skanks in One Direction have released only one song longer than four minutes. Maybe that’s the maximum length of their conquests. “Tonight let’s get some,” they sing in their latest hit single, “Live While We’re Young”, “and if we get together, don’t let the pictures leave your phone.” They pulled their wistful album title Take Me Home from the awesome “Kiss Me”, in which they sing to a new friend, “If you don’t wanna TAKE..
It's not often you encounter a new album that you can genuinely describe as phenomenal, but the adjective fits One Direction's Take Me Home. If it maintains the quintet's current upward trajectory, they have every right to call themselves the biggest group in the world. Given that, in the US, its lead single, Live While We're Young, had the biggest opening-week sales figures for any non-US act in history, it seems almost inconceivable that it won't.
After leaving U.S. fans without a new album for all of eight months (tween time conversion: 4EVA!!!), the U.K.’s favorite multiplatinum puppy basket are back with even more airtight harmonies and blokes-will-be-blokes cheek. True to their name, 1D haven’t veered an inch off course since their debut — catchy new tracks ”Kiss You” and ”Heart Attack” would’ve fit right in on March’s Up All Night.
Review Summary: Slowly but surely. . .
After placing third in the 2010 season of Britain's The X Factor, five-member boy band One Direction inked a record deal with mega-exec/TV personality Simon Cowell and released their debut album, 2011's Up All Night. A global sensation, the album garnered several hit singles and sold millions of copies worldwide. It also faired pretty well with critics, who appreciated the band's mix of melodic songcraft and catchy, dance-oriented material that, while slickly produced, avoided the commercial cynicism and adult contemporary posturing of some of their '80s and '90s forebears.
The record-breaking boyband’s second album ticks every fan’s boxes. Al Fox 2012 X Factor producers do love a contrived "journey" arc, don’t they? But whatever in-show narrative One Direction could’ve had, it’s post-show where things get interesting. In less than two years, they’ve gone from the X Factor stage to the pencil cases of the nation to the Guinness World Records.
For those who detest boy bands on principle, there’s little to persuade them that teen heartthrobs can make pop music worthy of attention. For maniacal worshippers more interested in members’ favorite colors than musical influences, there’s little to convince them that not all songs are created equal. On the follow-up to its chart-topping debut “Up All Night,” the British quintet created out of the UK version of “The X Factor” proves it can perform enjoyably catchy, solidly crafted songs about puppy love.