Thursday, September 1st, 2011

One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

One of them is wearing red pants. Why is this happening?


Edward Okulicz: The whole song sounds, figuratively, like summer days, appropriate given that the opening riff, literally, sounds like “Summer Nights.” There should have been at least one song on the newish Fountains of Wayne album that sounded exactly like this, so this more than makes up for the fact that there wasn’t.

Brad Shoup: Would that we could eradicate poor self-esteem with supercharged pop. John & Olivia meet the McCoys for the verses; besides the delightful throwback groove, the bassline nicely hammocks the vocal melody. As a bonus, the glee-club chantalong functions as a palliative against the All-American Rejects’ noxious “Gives You Hell”. The chorus provides the standard boy-band sugar rush — but my bros! There’s no law against constructing a whole song around bomp. Hell, it worked for Color Me Badd’s “All 4 Love,” the best song of 1991 (Non-Bikini Kill Division).

Kat Stevens: Zayn & The Hobbits obviously have a long way to go before they upset their X Factor uncles JLS on the all-time UK Boyband Rating Scale, but this is certainly a good start (certainly placing them at least on level-pegging with disappointing automatons The Wanted). The autotuning is a bit whiffy on their solo lines but the chorus is solid and mercifully avoids any mention of ‘the club’ which (as of time of writing) only two of them are old enough to enter.

Iain Mew: “Summer Nights” plus cowbell is not a good combination for an intro. Things improve from there with a chorus that there is something undeniable about, in a McFly-with-catchiness-turned-up-to-10-and-subtlety-down-to-0 kind of way, but there’s so little else going on that it feels like half a song.

Zach Lyon: Nice and catchy, but a bit icky with its general “you’re sexy because you have low self-esteem” message. A way-too-far-in-the-other-direction response to “Fit But You Know It.”

Jer Fairall: “i used to have Bieber fever now i have one direction  infection,” writes YouTube user stellamakeupandmore in a comment that Sony ought to reward her handsomely for, and if these five X Factor twinks do indeed signal the end of the Bieber era (was that Rolling Stone interview his “bigger than Jesus” moment?), well, then colour me just a little bit mournful.  I couldn’t help but appreciate that the Beeb’s music, perhaps given to the considerable limitations of his voice, was at least fit to adolescent scale, whereas this mixture of mushy Backstreet Boys sentiment and anthemic All American Rejects stomp is produced within an inch of life, all stadium-chant “woah ohh ohh”s and big, stabbing synths. If it is admittedly hooky, it is only because it is nothing but hooks, but give me the relatively low-key charm of “Baby” or “Eenie Meenie” over this faceless pomp any day.

Alfred Soto: I’m fascinated by these cuties, who project like the Jonas Brothers imitating the Cars doing “Summer Nights.” Like the affect on their vocals, the compression of the guitars into meaningless sheen, and the transformation of Duran Duran’s moody brooding on a Sri Lankan beach into an excuse to flirt with each other, these dudes are in it for the laughs, and for once the song sounds like the lark they want it to be.

Katherine St Asaph: If you turned “Just The Way You Are” into a Pat Benatar song and got a male P!nk to sing it, the result would be better than the good things you’re imagining.

4 Responses to “One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful”

  1. Kat –

    I will pay money for a chart in poster form.

  2. I fear a logarithmic scale such as the A-TUKBBRS would not lend itself well to graphical reproduction. Thankfully I can store all the plot points safely in my head. Though you could attempt to use a formula like this where k is the number of members and p is the likelihood of the boyband being Any Good At All.

  3. The dude in the red pants should be in Franz Ferdinand.

  4. Oh man, really regretting not making time to review this one last night. I actually thought this was some sort of Glee tie-in for a while, until I remembered that’s New Directions. It still sounds like one, anyway. Even the lyrics share Glee‘s weird stabs at super-positivity that don’t quite hit the mark (see Zach’s blurb). A would-be [2] from me, but I was never charmed by the ’90s boybands either.