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Listen While They’re Young

Sam Stryker | Friday, November 30, 2012

Some things in life are inevitable, even if we don’t know the specific details. We know the Irish will play for a national championship, but we don’t know whom against. For us seniors, we know we are going to graduate, but we may not know what our next step is. I know I am going to eat dinner, but I don’t know what I am going to have. And one day, we know One Direction will probably break up as a boy band, but we don’t know when.

Music groups have a tough time staying together, and One Direction will probably be the same. After all, N*SYNC did it. Destiny’s Child didn’t last, and neither did the Jonas Brothers (although they still actually are brothers). One day Niall, Liam, Zayn, Harry and Louis will stop performing together and go their separate ways.

But for now, we get to enjoy the infectious ear candy these British teenyboppers produce. Just a year after releasing their first album “Up All Night” the boys are at it again, coming out with their sophomore effort “Take Me Home.” For the most part, it’s a solid, if not spectacular, effort. With One Direction, you get what you would expect with a boy band. There are catchy tracks, indistinguishable vocals and not a whole lot of substance. That being said, “Take Me Home” is pretty fun when you accept it for what it is.

“Live While We’re Young” is the lead single off “Take Me Home” and it is a solid example of One Direction sticking to what they do best. Just like Michael Jordan was great at basketball and James Bond excels at saving the world, One Direction is at their best when they unleash catchy sing-along jams, and “Live While We’re Young” is the type of song you get stuck in your head for the day. All in all, it’s the strongest song off “Take Me Home.”

The second single off the album, “Little Things,” is a step in a different direction than “Live While We’re Young.” Whereas the latter is danceable, flirty and fun, “Little Things” slows things down and tries to be heartfelt but comes across as plodding and tedious. One Direction should stick to their guns and do what they do best – poppy songs that make you want to dance, or at least aren’t dreary. For example, “Summer Love” is not a fast track by any means, but it is much more listenable than “Little Things” because it is bright and uplifting.

For the most part, One Direction sticks to the formula of bright and flirty songs. Other standouts off the album include “Kiss You” and “They Don’t Know About Us.” The former is a sunny ode to young love and the latter starts quietly but builds to a slow jam. If the themes in the song titles seem a bit repetitive, it is because they are. One Direction knows their target audience of screaming teenage girls and aims perfectly.

The songs off “Take Me Home” may be starry-eyed, but they are young and fun. That being said, there is a sort of wink with these songs that acknowledges the boys and their audience are maturing. The album title is one such example, and also on “Live While We’re Young” they sing “And if we get together, yeah get together/Don’t let the pictures leave your phone.”

Adapting to an audience who is growing up with these boys is crucial, and it’s a step in the right direction (pardon the pun) for One Direction to go where there audience is going. They can’t stay together forever, but they are staving off the inevitable for that much longer.

“Take Me Home” isn’t groundbreaking, earth shattering stuff. It’s a boy band doing what boy bands do best – singing about young love over slickly produced tracks. That isn’t a complaint, just a fact.

Fortunately, One Direction does a pretty good job of executing this task, and teenage girls (and boys, and their moms and so forth) should be forever grateful. One day, Liam, Niall, Louis, Zayn and Harry will no longer be the pop culture phenomenon they are now. They’ll grow up, and a new set of fresh-out-the-oven heartthrobs will take their place. But for now, One Direction is the musical flavor of the moment, so you might as well enjoy them while they last.