We can safely say, without fear of being mistaken, that One Direction is the biggest band around right now. Theirs has been a meteoric, unquestionable rise to the top of pretty much every country in the world in a way that makes the Jonas Brothers success from a few years ago seem amateurish. One Direction were the first British band to go straight to number 1 in the US with their debut album this year, a feat not even The Beatles managed at their time. The comparison with The Beatles is not coincidental: the mayhem that follows One Direction everywhere they go is only an updated, Twitter-crazy version of what The Fab Four from Liverpool experienced all those years ago. Justin Biebers induced hysteria from a couple of years ago is the only recent event that could possibly compare to it, and still it doesnt feel like it was as crazy. As a band, theyve achieved most of what they could have in record time. And the problem with achieving everything with a first album is that its follow up cannot disappoint. The pressure of coming up with something commercially successful thatll allow a band to get somewhere is now the pressure of the yes, and now what?, which is equally daunting. Well, the boys from One Direction have nothing to worry about: Take Me Home really doesnt disappoint. Its like a big brother to Up All Night - a little bit like Spiceworld was to Spice -. It feels like theres a natural growth in the band that transcends into their music, all the while staying faithful to the formula that put them at the top of the world on the first place. The album opens with the first single, Live We Are Young, which is as good as a first single as What Makes You Beautiful, if not even better. It has become the fastest selling single by a non-US artist ever, in fact, which is yet another testament of how unstoppable these boys are. Heart Attack is another highlight: it sounds like P!nk, Katy Perry and Avril Lavignes lovechild, and what isnt perfect about that? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbPED9bisSc Rock Me its the less typical song in the album. It is different to any song theyve done before, and its prefaced by an intro that clearly homages We Will Rock You. It brings a new edge to the band that fits them very well, to the point its the kind of sound you could imagine them doing 5 years from now. Kiss You is a brilliant, catchy track that is reminiscent of the old, cheeky pop-rock sound that McFly used to make back in the Noughties. Cmon, Cmon, I Would and Back For You are fun moments, instantly recognizable as One Direction songs because of their characteristic production. The ballad department, however, is a bit subpar when compared to the rest of the album, or even to their previous ones. Little Things has a forgettable melody and appalling lyrics, written by Ed Sheeran (You've never loved/your stomach or your thighs and youll never love yourself/as much as I love you are definitely creepy). Despite being a not-so-good song, it makes for an acceptable second single, due to the fact it becomes an opportunity for intimate vocal performances that show a different side of the band. They Dont Know About Us is a much better ballad the best of the album, with Last Kiss as its respectful second best -, but it lacks that intimacy that Little Things provides, taking a more intense approach instead. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUjSdV8IhoI There's also a noticeable switch in the way the vocals are distributed among the members of the band. Who doesn't remember the time when Zayn was mainly relegated to singing ad-libs? Now he's featured in most songs just like Harry, even leading some of them. Niall is also more prominent and Louis is featured less (which seems a good call considering he's the weakest vocalist). In general it feels like the singing opportunities for each of them are fairly even. In short, it all adds up to make a pretty perfect pop album, one that secures One Direction's position at the top of the charts and that will for sure please fans and casual listeners. It's out this week, let's see if it also manages record breaking success.
Spanish media student. I write, I talk, I listen. I left the Spice Girls in 1998 to launch my solo career. Cheryl Cole looked at me once and I died. Follow me at @jukepop for some pop fangirling, that while enlightening, it is also largely nonsensical.