Release Date: Mar 13, 2012
Record label: Sony Music Entertainment
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop, Teen Pop
The British-Irish boy band One Direction finished third on the seventh season of the U.K. talent show The X Factor, and took home the gold in the 2012 Hair-Moussing Olympiad. For would-be tween heartthrobs, that’s a fine start, and the 13 songs on their debut – including the chugging powerpop hit "What Makes You Beautiful" – are engineered by a cast of international songwriting and production heavies (RedOne, Kelly Clarkson) for optimal radio-readiness.
Music groups don’t come with much less street cred than this: After failing individually in auditions for the U. K. ’s X Factor in 2010, five teen crooners were slapped together by judge Simon Cowell into an insta-band that made it to the show’s finals with wobbly-cute renditions of well-trod classics like ”Your Song” and ”Forever Young.
With 2010 X-Factor winner Matt Cardle's career self-imploding before it began due to his publicly declared negative perceptions of the show, and runner-up Rebecca Ferguson's career taking a softer, more critically acclaimed route, it was third-place band One Direction who became the true winners of the 2010 series of the show, commercially speaking. Nothing was more evident of this than the fact that their mentor, Simon Cowell, offered the five-some a £2million recording deal, double what they would have received had they won. By Christmas 2011, One Direction had branded, well, everything, with their trademark.
This British boy band is the kind of thing serious music critics like myself aren’t supposed to like. First of all, let’s just start with the phrase “boy band”. Something you can’t take seriously after the dubious success of the likes of NKOTB and the Backstreet Boys, right? What’s more, “boy bands” are hardly the rage these days. (Jonas Brothers.