Without a doubt, One Direction’s debut will have 15-year-old girls jumping for joy all over the United States. This group could get a number-one album from remixes of “Happy Birthday,” as long as the cover art is included.

One Direction

Up All Night
Columbia


The success of the group is surprising, especially given that One Direction was formed from the failure of its individual members to make it through the UK television singing competition “The X Factor.”

If only the content of its album Up All Night were as bold as the mere presence of the group seems to be. Whoever put the album together for One Direction — facing facts, nobody in the clan is capable of more than making noise and jumping — was playing it very safe.

Three of the album’s songs, including its biggest hit “What Makes You Beautiful,” were written by Rami, famous for his work with the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. This means that there will be no whining about how One Direction shouldn’t be compared to ’90s boy bands, because clearly, it’s trying very hard to be one. To complement this overused ’90s songwriter, “Save You Tonight” was written and produced by RedOne, who seems to be on every album nowadays.

Overall, the tracks on the album aren’t bad, they’re just not interesting. Nothing jumps out at the listener when going through the record, especially not the physical sound of the voices. Unlike the carefully auditioned boy bands of the ’90s, One Direction was formed on a “Hey, let’s just do this” basis and is therefore lacking distinct vocals. Essentially, it will always be recognized for its song and not its sound — even if that one guy does sound a lot like Zac Efron.

Not only is there nothing special about the majority of the album’s tracks, but a few actually resemble past hits from other artists. For example, the song “One Thing,” which is yet to be released as a single in America, has a chorus with a striking similarity to Simple Plan’s “Shut Up.”

One of the more original songs on the album is “Tell Me a Lie.” It’s catchy, it has lyrical value and more importantly, the production quality of a modern song. In a sea of basic tracks, this one does manage to rise a tad above the others. It was also co-written by the fantastic Ms. Kelly Clarkson.

Some artists gain success with their songs through stellar performances or iconic videos to accompany them, like Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” This is not the case with One Direction. Watching the music video for the lead single on the album, “What Makes You Beautiful,” is basically like watching a Levi’s commercial.

Though its lasting success in America is up in the air, One Direction definitely seems to have staked its claim in England since the band’s November debut there. However, sometimes the musical tastes of England tend to be too different for America to handle. It’s not as if the British have spawned another Beatles group — its more of a British Big Time Rush without a TV show to humiliate themselves with.

The album is simple at best. Album titles like Back To Basics or Basic Instinct would have been more fitting, if they hadn’t already been taken by Christina Aguilera and Ciara. Instead, the world gets to be Up All Night in fear of how this group will weasel its image onto any and every piece of media in existence. But then again, the name “One Direction” captures its musical complexity pretty accurately.

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