Look, okay, this hurts me too but I am keeping an open mind. One Direction is a boy band that fits every boyband stereotype to a T with absolutely no shame at all. An Irish-English group formed out of X-Factor UK contestants who couldn’t make it on the show alone, One Direction captured the hearts, minds, and wallets of young girls everywhere in the early-mid 2010’s and oh boy did they make some catchy tunes along the way.
Up All Night is One Direction’s 2011 debut album and the work that launched them to international stardom following their run on X-Factor. It is 45 minutes long, which is probably too long for what it is, contains virtually nothing original or interesting, and is exactly the kind of upbeat, brainless, pandering, over-produced pop music one can expect from a band of this nature. That being said, Up All Night was met with generally positive reviews, performed exceptionally well, and has songs that are still beloved by and populate the playlists of 18-22 year olds all over the world for a reason. The songs on Up All Night might seem pedestrian and flat to the ears of pompous music nerds like me, but it’s hard to deny how catchy, easy to listen to, and just overall fun they are. It’s hard to give credit to any one person for any aspect of this album as the 5 members of the band were young and don’t get any songwriting credits, a total of 16 separate producers are listed as having worked on this album, and a even more people receive credits for songwriting and instrumentals, but when listening it is no surprise that a massive number of people worked very hard to make this album what it is.
There are certainly songs that seem to be filler and probably should’ve just been left out, but the singles most certainly shine even among the remaining quality tracks. “What Makes You Beautiful” definitely takes the cake for me, but “Gotta Be You”, “One Thing” and “More than This” more than pull their weight. The lyrics are clear, understandable, and well performed as the band’s members take turns singing about girls, youth, young love, having fun, and the occasional heartbreak. This album passes the background noise test with flying colors and, much like Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s to the Good Times, it might actually be better that way.
I wasn’t a fan of One Direction when this album came out, I was too busy listening to classic rock on the radio and my kindle fire at the time, but even I couldn’t deny the magnetism and joy of its catchiest tunes. You will never catch me giving records like this more credit or respect than they are due, but I’m also not above rolling the windows down and turning up to “What Makes You Beautiful”.
It shouldn’t be too hard to have fun with this one, but from here we’re gonna start to get a little bit more serious.