I wondered if anything One Direction did would ever really make it onto my radar, much less my iTunes. But those little scamps have gone and put their name to a pretty solid pop song, so I thought “Why not?”.
Hardly seems worth my usual back-story, but after coming a surprisingly low 3rd place in 2010’s UK X-Factor, it seemed obvious that they were the chosen act for Syco to push the following year, just like Olly Murs and JLS before them. What I didn’t quite expect was just how much of a push that would be.
They managed to cross over to a much wider audience with their debut “What makes you beautiful”, making it a smash hit No.1 in the UK, and – despite a dud follow-up single – propelled them to decent album sales that Christmas. It seemed like they floundered a bit after that point, perhaps without a single that quite measured up to their debut.
But then they broke America with surprising speed, taking their debut single to the top 5, and their album to the top. In fact these days it seems they are a bigger deal in the US than on home soil. They were crammed into the UK X-Factor last year at every available slot but the lead single “Live while we’re young” died off quickly. Astonishingly Ed Sheeran-penned “Little Things” put them back on top, and more decent album sales followed. This still paled compared to their massive US sales, which got them a second No.1 album there. I almost wonder if they might stop bothering with the UK now they’ve got such a cash cow Stateside.
Still, with the same huge Swedish team responsible for all of the uptempo singles so far, they are back again. It’s sort of the same as their earlier tracks, but I just really like it for some reason, while their other tracks I’ve treated with – at best – indifference.
Those verses are giddy and fast, and I love those falsetto bits in the bridges. The lyrics in the chorus are banal beyond belief, but that’s such a catchy tune. The result is a nice variety of styles and tempos, and gets out before it gets boring, finishing after 3 minutes. Not bad, guys. I’ve had to hear that chorus about 50 times already thanks to the excessive sponsor trails in the X-Factor, and I’m not bored of it yet.
I just wonder where it’s all going. Will they ever go in a different direction (pardon the pun) musically? Will they even be here in 2 years? Liam seems to hate this, he’ll be first to leave. Zain will become unrecognisable under countless revolting tattoos. Louis will finally turn out to be gay. Harry will shave his hair, and … I never did learn the blond one’s name, sorry.
If they can work out how to harmonise though, that would be a START. That’s been my big criticism of them since X-Factor, they just all sing the same note. The video for “Kiss you” highlights the lack of distinction in their voices – either there are some pretty shameless mimers claiming other peoples’ vocals, or they really do all sound the same. Still, the video is a fun enough ‘caper’, and they at least try to amp up the Youtube views by getting their tops off, so A+ for effort. Just wish they’d have spent as much time in the gym as they did in the tattoo parlour.
Sigh… why couldn’t The Wanted have been the big breakthrough act?