Single: One Direction – “One way or another [Teenage Kicks]” (2013)

Is it Red Nose Day already? Actually, no. In a break from tradition, rather than tie the official Comic Relief single’s release date to the day itself, why not secure one of the biggest bands on the planet and just grab whatever promo you can manage?

And so continues a string of decent but fleeting cover versions by the biggest pop groups (desperate for a hit) that the UK has to offer. Except rather than the terminally hapless Saturdays, or boyband bridesmaids The Wanted, for Comic Relief’s Silver anniversary they set their sights a bit higher and wider.

Enter One Direction, a band whose ‘humble’ beginnings as the most-hyped boyband on the UK’s X-Factor incredibly translated to widespread worldwide success on a scale that hasn’t been seen since the Spice Girls. Sure, the song is a lazy cover/mashup of the beloved stalker anthem “One way or another” (by Blondie) with a dash of “Teenage Kicks” (by The Undertones), but it’s going to make a hell of a lot of money for charity.

After its debut on iTunes stores worldwide on Sunday, it has topped dozens of countries’ download charts. The Comic Relief is no longer just a UK thing, riding One Direction’s coat-tails to global success. I wonder if any new 1D song at this point would have done the same?

In any case, it’s shoring up a gap in demand for 1D singles on home ground, where hits have been a lot harder to obtain than expected. Album sales remain solid, and the global currency rolling in will certainly put many fears to rest.

It’s a pretty basic cover, much like their X-Factor performances, and unlikely to be one of their signature hits. Executed by the same production template as all their other uptempo singles so far, it’s serviceable, but I just want more from these guys. The problem is that they’ve had a lot of success with this template, now stretching to two albums. How far can it stretch?

Their stint in the Brits last night again highlighted what I never liked about their performances. Sure they jump around and look pretty, but they still seem incapable of harmonies, something that puts them well behind many boybands.

The video is as fun as it is dead-eyed, with a world of filming locations: London, New York, Ghana, Tokyo. It even has a cameo by Prime Minister David Cameron, posing still like an unconvincing waxwork of himself, and an unexplained sequence where an arena of Japanese fans do the chicken dance while the boys stand in prayer.

While I’m pleased to see them going so well and raising a lot of money for charity, I’m still anticipating the wheels to fall off this band soon. My money’s on Zayn. Perhaps it’s just watching too much of ITV2’s “The Big Reunion” and discovering all my favourite pop groups of the late 90s (as well as 911 and Five) were all having a miserable time.

It’s a shame they didn’t push “Kiss You” as the charity single instead of cutting its success short with this lazy cover. But hey, I’m sure there will be an album out by Christmas, so I hope they can step up.


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Filed under Music, Reviews, Songs

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