Oh boybands, they are everywhere, and no doubt always will be. Just when you think they’re on the way out, you get something like One Direction taking advantage of the fact that labels temporarily forgot that girls like boys, and reap the benefits.
One Direction are a case study in a little going a long way, and while they’ve had a few good songs I’ve never seen much value in them. Not least now because most of them are covering themselves in repulsive tattoos. The brand is certainly not what it was a few years ago, and it’s changing at such a rate that I’m convinced something it going to ruin it all soon.
Fortunately we have a spare. Also from the UK’s X-Factor, “Union J” were similarly put together on the show, with the addition of George to existing group Triple J. After a shaky start that saw them eliminated from the contest but brought back when another group dropped out, the group went from strength to strength.
Sure, it’s not rocket science, but there’s always going to be a market for good old pop music sung well by some cute guys. If they are plastered in tattoos, they’re keeping it quiet, and for my money they a more likeable, listenable and contemporary boyband than One Direction ever were. Let’s hope they get the same level of promotion. After all, if Little Mix can shock everyone with a #4 album in the USA, who knows what might happen? It’s a good time to be a British pop act.
While the 2012 class of X-Factor flounder around (where is James? what the hell is Jahmene doing with that covers album?!), Union J are first out of the traps with “Carry You”. The video paints them as a down-to-Earth quartet, perhaps setting their sights a little low with that video budget. But it emphasises their appeal as adorably cute guys who know how to court the teen pound. Does everyone under the age of 20 know how to skateboard? I didn’t think George would be the type.
I haven’t mentioned the song yet have I? Whoops. Well like 1D they make a little go a long way. The verses are rather nice, I love the lite synth soundtrack, it’s a bit like The Wanted should probably be these days (“Walks like Rihanna” is still a bit of a WTF moment).
They all get a chance to sing, it’s a really warm fuzzy little melody. But then there’s the chorus… there’s not much to it? “I’ll carry YOOOU, I’ll carry YOOOU” *repeat several times*. The middle eight is really lovely though, but evidently the writers felt the choruses were a bit much so they fill time with a totally flat “yeh yeh yeh yeh” segment. What the hell?
Still, if I try not to focus on that, it’s a good launch song. I hope it does well enough to justify a bigger investment, I really think they have potential and I’m certainly willing them to succeed more than 1D – even more than The Wanted… Simon Cowell’s no fool, I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. Let’s hope so.