Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

One Direction – Live While We’re Young

Which is the Lance Bass/Jonathan Knight one?


Brad Shoup: The meek guitar intro is halfway between Green Day’s “Waiting” and the pick scrapes from “Should I Stay or Should I Go”; two-thirds of the way through, the “Starships” riff perks up! The yo-yoing melody line will slay during car rides, but empty calories are the thing that makes road trips possible.

Britt Alderfer: An ode to one-night stands that ends in a wet t-shirt contest. I am not sure how much of my delight is from the actual song though and how much is for the cult of personality at play. We have all sorts types to adore, pick your flavor. Zayn comes off as the bad boy, Liam is sort of a steady older-brother type, Niall is the goofball, Harry is the sly flirt, Louis is perhaps the drama queen. Their music videos always show them capering around and occasionally dancing in a choreographed way but usually just partying and having loads of fun. They come off as normal guys with elaborate hair who are also bros, and maybe they have a crush on you that they don’t even want to be subtle about it anymore.  So what to rate this song? Well, their biggest hit in the US so far, “What Makes You Beautiful”, actually pales in comparison. “Live While We’re Young” is just as lively but lyrically less obnoxious for sure: it suggests sneaking out with them for sexy fun as long as you “don’t let the pictures leave your phone” (Zayn’s hard-won wisdom, I’m sure). They coo at you in the verses, even repeating themselves a few times to make sure you’re getting it – yes, you – and then the chorus pumps up big with who-oahs and oo-oo-ohs. They plunge into a pleasingly intimate bridge and then it’s straight back to the party. They probably crank out beautiful harmonies in their sleep at this point – if they do sleep.

Anthony Easton: I was thinking that it must be that I am ancient, that I don’t find this kind of moral exhortation to BE YOUNG AND HAVE FUN moving at all, but I kind of hated it when I was 19 too…

Alfred Soto: Can one truly claim to live when the “Starships” riff signifies the freshness of youth?

Patrick St. Michel: My junior high school days coincided with the peak of American boy-band dominance lead by ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. As a 13-year-old surrounded by girls who loved these two groups, I joined my fellow male students in hating them at every opportunity.  Now I teach junior high school students who love boy-band One Direction and who regularly ask me “Do you know One Direction, Mr Patrick?” before getting really excited when I say yes.  I absolutely would have hated something like “Live While We’re Young” when I was a young teenager, but today it is something I can listen to and appreciate: bouncy pop music made for teenage girls on summer vacation to listen to on loop. But I hope my students didn’t do to much research into the “tonight let’s get some” line.    

Katherine St Asaph: So much pretense! Pretending they’re cool (I can say it, they did), pretending cool means emulating their Oasis cover, pretending they’re in love, pretending that pretend love sounds like Family Innuendo Night, pretending none of them confiscated her phone before their playdate, pretending the chorus doesn’t make me want to go listen to “Adios Amigos” instead.

Iain Mew: Not a carbon copy of “What Makes You Beautiful” but it doesn’t do much to alter the approach, right down to keeping the cowbell. The two blatant steals this time (“Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Starships”) are less disagreeable than the “Summer Nights” one and “Live While We’re Young” is much less lopsided towards its chorus, which is good. It still sounds nearly as slight and the message about having sexy fun because that’s what young people have to do, right, is not exactly inspiring.

Will Adams: Some quick paraphrasing of the chorus will reveal that it’s actually a patchwork quilt of the past year in pop: Hey, I just met you/but let’s get some because we are young/go crazy ’til we see the sun/woah-oh-ohhh-ohh-oh/also, “What Makes You Beautiful” will be playing in the background while we have sex/maybe “Starships too. It’s at once despicable and impressive, but mostly despicable.

3 Responses to “One Direction – Live While We’re Young”

  1. Welcome Britt!

  2. Hello, Britt!

    I should note that my blurb is a far inferior rehashing of Brad’s amazing one of “Domino.”

  3. Yes, welcome Britt. This is a great way to start, too!