One Direction burst onto the American music scene not too long ago, with their first single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” melting the hearts of teen girls from Long Island to Huntington Beach, and everywhere in-between. They were so successful in entering America that their first album, “Up All Night,” did what no other British pop act had ever done before: debut at Number 1. Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry, and Louis picked up where they left off with the release of “Take Me Home,” an album lacking in overall originality but accomplishing the (ever so important) primary objective: creating pop anthems celebrating young love and living in the moment.
This is not to say that the album is a complete waste of talent. While I feel that One Direction has the ability to create more lasting and mature music, “Take Me Home” has a couple of songs worth listening to. The boys can obviously sing (otherwise they wouldn’t have made it so far on the X Factor, right? But I digress), as evidenced by “Little Things,” a song that could have come right off of Ed Sheeran’s “+.” This song allows each member a chance to prove their singing chops, accompanied by not much more than a guitar. I honestly have no way of telling who sings which part, but vocal tones at times bring to mind both Usher and Marcus Mumford. Just as tender is “Over Again,” which is the jewel of the album. These two songs are the kinds of songs that One Direction should be making. But the fact that there are only two or three tender songs on the album serves as a liability for One Direction. It doesn’t accurately portray what the whole of “Take Me Home” is about, namely electropop dance anthems. To judge the album based on three songs would be wrong.
That being said, the other eighty percent of the album is what is classified as electropop. Some of it is forgettable (“Rock Me,” “Change My Mind”), some is out of place (the “ows” in “Heart Attack”), and some barely keep your pulse going (“C’mon, C’mon”). The best offerings are “Live While We’re Young,” “Kiss You,” and “Back For You.” The first song, which serves as the album opener and first single, draws the listener in from the first riff. “Kiss You” brings to mind Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby,” marrying it to something you might have heard in the 80’s. And lastly, “Back For You” is the obvious choice for an arena anthem. I can already see the crowdsourced music video.
“I can’t stand dumb love songs,” One Direction sings on “Heart Attack.” Kind of ironic, coming from five boys who sing love song after sugary love song. But who can blame them for doing so? That’s what sells best for boy bands, and One Direction is no doubt a boy band. Young? Check. Good-looking? Check. Able to sing? Check. Being British? Icing on the cake. “Take Me Home,” while mostly devoid of meaningful music, is a worthy effort.
Album Rating: 7 out of 10
Check Out: “Kiss You,” “Little Things,” “Over Again”
Skip: “Rock Me,” “Change My Mind”