Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

One Direction – Kiss You

And logically, it had to be this next: “OMG HARRY YOU ARE SO CUET I WANT TO KISS U!”


Isabel Cole: There’s nothing particularly new in a guy promising he’ll rock your world, but there’s something wonderfully about one (technically five, but look at their name) so eager not just to take you there but to do so according to your explicit, personalized instructions: how charmingly humble, how un-macho, to place her desires above whatever faith they may have in their own prowess. One Direction is just psyched as hell about how you’re going to sound shouting it out, and there’s such a frenetic sweetness to their delivery it erases the possible sleaziness of doing away with taking it slow: they bounce through the tune like they know their confidence that she’ll take them up on their invitation to tell them how to turn her love on is well past earned — and why wouldn’t it be, when they’re pledging not just their attention but their dedicated service? Also: na-na-nas. I will always say yeah(-y-eah-yeahhh) to na-na-nas, especially ones this ebullient, from boys so dopily besotted.

Anthony Easton: Boyband music hasn’t radically altered since the mid-90s, except I can’t figure out who is supposed to be the cute one — maybe Harry?

Edward Okulicz: Where “Little Things” tried — and failed — to pull off the impossible task of making five horny boys sell individual intimacy on a grand scale, “Kiss You” finds One Direction on safer turf. Carnal lust is far easier to sell en masse, and certainly a lot more fun to dance to. The chorus’s “yeah! yeah!” might be lacking in inspiration, but its well-trod anthemics sits on top of some stellar production that sends it into the stratosphere.

Ian Mathers: I get the extra-musical appeal (best summed up by the tag “fuck you for existing in the first place”), but musically they get by just on being as generically pleasurable as possible, right? Minus a point for “chinny chin chins” but plus one for “na na na na na na na” so it’s a wash.

Brad Shoup: The track is hot: that scuffed, jittery keyboard riff; that mid-sized arena bomp on the chorus. And those “yeahs”! It’s the sort of abandon I’m generally unwilling to grant these Nice Guys, cartoon sweat beads dotting their every chivalrous gesture.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: There’s a moment in teen idoldom when the cuddly concept begins to reach puberty (look at Bieber’s scowly “Long As You Love Me” video. Such an angelface). Well, WHOA HOLY LIBIDO BATMAN. This is teen lust ramped up to eleven, as giddy and silly as a teen movie – Bay City Roller guitars! cowbells! “chinny chin-chins”! A last-chorus rowdy response lets the women have the last say: a smart meta moment, winking that this type of adolescent horndog behavior is for everyone.

Will Adams: They had me at the turn-of-the-millenium chorus. They lost me at “chinny-chin chin.”

Jer Fairall: The anxious, horny power pop that has served pussyhounds from The Knack to Marianas Trench so well for so many decades is as good a look for these guys to try on as any, and 1D’s particular army of puppet masters know how to preserve their reasonably nice ‘n’ clean status by letting on that the power is in her hands. A cool, strangled guitar riff even momentarily makes me forget to care about exactly who is objectifying whom.

Alex Ostroff: This is the song that finally won me over. (I mean, technically, it was Zayn Malik: Gateway Drug and his perfect face and his stupid cigarette habit & Louis’ stubble, but musically speaking, it was “Kiss You.”) “One Thing” ended up being an [8] or so, all things told, but as I’ve discussed elsewhere, boy bands are always less likely to sway me with eternal devotion and adulation than with late-night phone calls and pledges to rock my body. Zayn doesn’t actually open the song with a request to “let [him] take you any way that you like,” but he may as well. This is a very good thing. The opening organ riff is like a double-time take on Avril’s “What the Hell.” The verses aren’t placeholders anymore (if they ever were), creating tension and stuttering and lusting and building to the ru-u-ush of the chorus — although we already knew they could do choruses. The recorded version takes the delightful growl away from Harry’s vocals and Liam’s falsetto is a bit too obviously Autotuned and Niall’s “chinny-chin-chin” is admittedly embarrassing. Still, if the boys can maintain this level of quality and avoid the juvenile lyrical clunkers littering this album that reference the Three Little Pigs or their romantic rivals’ tattoos, my ambivalence about public Wonderection issues will likely continue to decrease.

Katherine St Asaph: There’s something different about One Direction. It’s not their look, though the menswear and permagrins code less “heartthrobs” and more “sixth graders chosen for a YM photoshoot involving pratfalls.” It’s not their goofy persona; they’re behaving exactly like 2013 triple threats should, dancing swapped out for Twitter goofing. It’s their sound. “Boy band music” is far broader an umbrella than most people understand it. Take the last wave. The typical ‘N Sync or BSB single, for instance, was timely: recognizably the work or imitator of Cheiron Studios. The rest was timely, too: fake R&Bfake Latin. The standard One Direction single is timely — how, exactly? Shellback and Rami Yacoub produce, but they’re unusually chipper. The verses zoom by on shiny organ and percussion that snaps like Lincoln Logs; the chorus and bridge are so big and spacious they sound like their own stadium reunion-tour versions, with stage directions for the swaying masses. As music meant to suggest kisses (this is acres away from sex), it doesn’t work at all, unless maybe the boys are so naive they think makeouts can easily happen while high-five running, while waving around lighters or perhaps during a pogo race. (Please don’t try either.) As a One Direction single, though, it’s quintessential — because they all are, each and every trend-bucking Jonas-via-High School Musical pep-rock track. They can get away with it, because they’re essentially their own musical world complete with expanded-universe material to suck you in more; foster enough fans and you don’t need the trends. They’re so genial that by now they’ve got to be the least dislikable band in the world. Even their filler charms.

Alfred Soto: The distorted guitar thing complements the peppy anonymity of the vocals, but there’s a problem when the chorus is this peppily anonymous.

Reader average: [6.9] (50 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

18 Responses to “One Direction – Kiss You”

  1. Alex, you have been on fire of late.


  3. Um… thank Anthony, I guess?

    And… huh? Brad? What’s the implication of the Xzibit picture? Is he laughing at the concept of the compliment? Or am I reading too much into it.

  4. Perfectly cute, perfectly catchy. I will remember it fondly next to other second boy band singles that sound like the first but that I will wind up preferring because they are less overplayed. See: “I’ll never stop”


    That’s all. Anthony is correct, you are nailing it, etc. He just got to the comment box before I could find the suitable X pic.

  6. Really really impressive stuff. Their best single to date, I’d say.

    That said, “chinny chin chin”? The hell?

  7. Yeah, I like this better than anything else I’ve heard from them to date. Should have ranked it a point higher.

  8. I was going to write something along the lines of “this sounds like One Direction phoning it in, but it still works. [6],” but I was going to write that for “Live While We’re Young,” so maybe it’s best that I didn’t.

  9. “Live While We’re Young” was One Direction phoning it in if nothing else (at least sonically). This, while a bit lacking lyrically maybe, is heads above it imo.

  10. I looked it up (because I cannot differentiate these guys’ voices at ALL) and the chinny-chin-chin bit was Niall, because OF COURSE IT WAS.

  11. by the way, I noticed this by accident, but apparently you can vote more than once? is there a way to block trolls flooding the reader average?

  12. also that .gif is absolutely mesmerizing. I keep scrolling up, argh.

  13. Their voices are so indistinct that I just assumed that, Pussycat Dolls-like, only one of them actually sang while the others were there purely as eye candy.

  14. Well it’s their producer/songwriters phoning it in. And maybe they’re just giving Simon the album he wanted to make in the first place. Yacoub was very open to Billboard about how he perceives writing their music and has a sound, without being pretentious, understanding of the bubble gum pop formula he is employing (over and over again to varying degrees).

  15. The article, in question. I don’t even think they’re full of shit here, either; Yacoub is perfectly capable of sounding like everything else, in fact co-produced the epitome of sounding like everything else (“Starships”). It’s deliberate, in other words.

  16. Moses: only takes the first vote from an IP address. Probably someone could work out a way around that, but what the point would be I don’t know.

  17. Oh there’s a Reader average now. Sweet.

  18. Katharine, I should’ve put “phoning” in quotes. I was referencing the review that used that word. I absolutely agree with you, it’s deliberate. He wanted contemporary, radio friendly bubble gum while being distinctive enough in the current climate to brand the band and that’s what he created. My personal score for One Direction’s career is a 0; I wish they didn’t exist so I didn’t bother scoring. However, I couldn’t help but respect Yacoub as a professional when I read the article.