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Monday, November 28, 2011

Track-by-Track: One Direction - Up All Night

Though they've got a lot of competition in the UK, One Direction have released the best boyband album of the year by a mile. Not only that, but it's one of the best pop albums of 2011 as well. It's that rare case of a record where every track could be a single. Couple that with the guys' insane popularity and I think we've got a new Take That on our hands. Or at the very least, a new Mcfly.

1. What Makes You Beautiful - Their big, breakthrough single. This is the type of unabashed power pop that manages to cross audiences and appeal to everyone. It's everything these guys should be doing, and one of the year's best singles. 10/10

2. Gotta Be You - This, on the other hand, should never have been a single. It's a nice song and a great album track, but there are stronger ballads on here. It does have a very Christmassy sound, though. 9/10

3. One Thing - Basically What Makes You Beautiful Part II, which explains why it's the next single. Same writers, similar production, and nearly as catchy. This could end up being the band's defining sound. 10/10

4. More Than This - Probably the best ballad on here. It's got a mature, classic sound to it and a wonderful melody with the expected boyband lyrics. Niall sounds especially excellent here. If this isn't a future single, it's a real shame. 10/10

5. Up All Night - An uptempo, catchy track with more of a rock sound. It borders on the novelty side of things, but I really love the Def Leppard-esque refrain at the end of the chorus and all the little hooks that run through the track. As with most tracks on the album, it's a ready-made single. 9/10

6. I Wish - Melody is the focus here, as this is one of the more mature sounding tracks on the album. It's got a throwback sound--a little rock, a little country. It doesn't initially stand out, but becomes better each time you hear it. 10/10

7. Tell Me A Lie - This is such a ready-made hit. Written for (by?) Kelly Clarkson, it sounds a lot like My Life Would Suck Without You (which, ironically, the boys sang on X-Factor). If they really want to break America, this is the song to release. It's one of their absolute best. 10/10

8. Taken - Another ballad, this is a Harry-centric track. It reminds me of something that Hanson would record, and that is no bad thing. It has a very organic feel. 9/10

9. I Want - Probably my least favorite track on the album. It was written by Mcfly and has Queen-esque guitars in it, which should be a great thing. But the melody and lyrics just seem too obvious. Not bad by any standards, but not amazing either. 7/10

10. Everything About You - Ushering in the dancier part of the album, this is a propulsive, repetitive radio track. Maybe a tad too repetitive, but I guess that's sort of the point. It's instantly catchy, for sure. 8/10

11. Same Mistakes - The final ballad, and it's a great one. The melody really appeals to me. It's got an interesting sound that somehow feels a lot more indie than the other tracks on the album. 10/10

12. Save You Tonight - The band's RedOne collaboration, and it's totally RedOne by numbers. That being said, the song's grown immensely on me. The chorus is still a bit underwhelming, but I love the bridge and verses. 8/10

13. Stole My Heart - What a way to end the album! Over a Dynamite-esque beat, the guys have taken the current trend of electro-dance and perfected it. The chorus and production are ridiculous. This needs to be a single! 10/10

* One thing of note about this album is that the tracks are ordered completely wrong. Plus, every b-side they've released is worthy of a place on the album. So here's my new version of Up All Night (Alienhits version):
1. What Makes You Beautiful
2. One Thing
3. Tell Me A Lie
4. Up All Night
5. More Than This
6. Stole My Heart
7. Another World (GBY b-side)
8. Gotta Be You
9. Na Na Na (WMYB b-side)
10. Stand Up (deluxe version track)
11. I Wish
12. Taken
13. Everything About You
14. Save You Tonight
15. Same Mistakes
16. I Want
17. Moments (deluxe version track)
18. Forever Young (deluxe version track)

Album Grade: 9.2/10

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