on 15 November 2012
I'm surprised by the reviewers who think Up All Night is the stronger album. Take Me Home is better overall, even if it lacks a monster-smash like "What Makes You Beautiful". Let's look at each track:
1. Live While We're Young -- An attempt to relive the spotlight of "What Makes You Beautiful" and missing by a mile, yet still a powerful opener. The continual bursts and claps somehow manage to sound abrasive and smooth at once. 9/10.
2. Kiss You -- Like an over-used sex toy, this one makes you feel soiled in a purely delicious way. The fastest, catchiest -- and easily the most sly -- song of the album. 10/10.
3. Little Things -- Riding slow acoustics, this one showcases the solo talents of each band member with what can pass for class. 8/10.
4. C'mon C'mon -- Too electro for its own good, and lyrically banal. It's okay, but so "just there" you'd hardly miss it if it vanished. 6/10.
5. Last First Kiss -- This midtempo is a sure guilty pleasure, pouring out heaps of what can only be described as wish-fulfillment fantasies lending to self-abuse. 9/10.
6. Heart Attack -- With lyrics like "I can't stand dumb love songs", the band members prove they can laugh at themselves, and get high marks for that alone. Add to that a compulsively raging chorus, and you have a recipe for frequent replay. 9/10.
7. Rock Me -- No thanks, keep the steak out of my salad. These lads ain't queens. 4/10.
8. Change My Mind -- I'm not impressed by complaints about the schmaltz. This track is painfully beautiful, and the album's masterpiece. 10/10.
9. I Would -- Laced with callow humor and paced which frenetic rhythms, this one is surprisingly addictive and gives you license to romp over the playground of life without apology. 9/10.
10. Over Again -- Gliding harmonies roll over and through each other in a fine-tuned ballad. 8/10.
11. Back For You -- This may be the album's filler song, but it fills and feels fine. 7/10.
12. They Don't Know About Us -- ...and may not ever want to after hearing this uninspired defense of the band members' inter-relationships. These guys do better laughing at themselves in purpose-driven uptempos (see tracks #6 and #9) than droning on in mutual commiseration. 5/10.
13. Summer Love -- A grating chorus brings down an otherwise impressive stab at a ballad with talented guitar work. 7/10.
Overall rating = 7.8 ~ 8 = 4-star album.
For this album to have 200+ reviews and an average rating over four stars is utterly ridiculous. This isn't music as any person who actually loves music would recognise, this is a global marketing brand that benefits Simon Cowell, primarily, and the five lads who make up One Direction, who are little more than decent voices and pretty faces. It could be said that, given the fact that they've sold over 10 million albums, those sort of figures speak for themselves. Well, it does. It's the reason that McDonalds, Eastenders and Jeremy Kyle are so popular. It tells us just how gullible and easy to manipulate people are and just how low their standards have sunk. Now, I don't have anything against One Direction that I didn't have against Boyzone, Westlife and other mediocre talents, they peddle the same kind of bland pop music that commercial radio stations and magazines for teenage girls just eat up. They're only really appealing to young girls, undiscerning parents and grandparents of said girls and others who generally just don't care about music with any kind of integrity. In fact, this whole venture is nothing to do with making good music, it's about making good money for Mr. Cowell, the record executives and the band... in that order.
All of this is fair enough, most people would say, but not for someone like me, someone who actually cares about music as an art-form. Actually, that sounds pretentious. So, not just an art-form, but as a medium of quality entertainment, because One Direction are the opposite of quality entertainment, they are, in fact, lowest common denominator pop music, written by musical committee and sung by a bunch of pretty boys with a public persona which is probably fairly different to their own. This cultural con isn't anything new, it's been happening generation after generation, but it's worse these days when there's such a wide awareness of the cynical nature of bands like One Direction's material and it's simply seen as "normal" for a young girl to like them. Add to that the fact that Simon Cowell, a shameless purveyor of aural dross who is primarily responsible for One Direction, is adding a few more million pounds to his vast wealth, accumulated because people will basically buy anything that they're told to, whilst talented bands and artists struggle to make a living out of being musicians... and many fail. I'm not ashamed to say that I have a problem with the sheer unfairness of this situation and truly don't understand why more people don't.
For the youngsters (or "Directioners" as I believe they're called) who proclaim that they love One Direction, one day your love of the band will be a complete embarrassment to you, or at least a "wasn't I young and silly" moment of reminiscence. Hopefully you will go on and enjoy people who actually write their own music, play their own instruments and have something to say to the world that matters, rather than the mediocre shade of uninspiring blandness on offer here. To the parents and grandparents who fall into Cowell's marketing trap and buy their little cherubs the albums, the DVDs, the concert tickets and all the merchandise, shame on you. You could, instead, be introducing your children to music and bands who actually matter, who can reach out to them and communicate to them on a real, human emotional level instead of enabling a fad based on peer pressure, good looks and raging hormones. Now, for anyone who wants to ask me, "Have you actually listened to One Direction?", well yes, I have... and they're really very average indeed. Generic pop music with few redeeming features. Certainly not talented enough to warrant the kind of global attention they have received, mainly owing to a smart bit of marketing and an undiscerning audience.
For anyone older than 14 who is considering buying this for yourself, then you really do need to look in a mirror and have a word with yourselves. There is a world of music and art outside the X Factor, Heart/Capital radio and the music everyone tells you that you should like. Don't be satisfied with this kind of "entertainment", you deserve more... and this band really deserve the kind of success reserved for the substandard, dreary pop they produce. They're no better or worse than Five, Blue, A1 or any number of groups that the world has now largely forgotten. You may hate this review now, but in a few years (if this website still exists), you may stumble across my words and realise that I was actually trying to do you a favour (as well as simply having a good, old-fashioned moan about the state of the music industry). In the meantime, I'll wait for the negative "not helpful" votes that I know will inevitably come by speaking out against such a bewilderingly popular band. Actually, no, not band, because bands actually play their own instruments. Believe it or not, having a fairly good voice isn't that rare. You could round up five other decent looking young men with better than average voices from any suburb in the UK and come up with an act just as good as One Direction - real talent is much rarer.
on 13 November 2012
I LOVE THIS ALBUM!
I love One Direction they are amazing as a band and this really brings out how good their voices are. UP ALL NIGHT was really good but this is better. This is more grown up and quite different to their first album. I hope One Direction do well in the future as they are at the peek of their carear right now. I have loved them since X Factor! Well Done Boys.....Directioner for life! Wooooooo! I love these ones so much: I WOULD, SHES NOT AFRAID, KISS YOU, SUMMER LOVE, OVER AGAIN, C'MON C'MON and ROCK ME! But I love them all! Yay 1D xxx