One Of The First One Direction Album Reviews In The US

One Direction may not be a name that you recognize right away, but that’s something that’s sure to change come Spring. The British/Irish boyband, consisting of Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, came in third on the seventh season of The X Factor (UK), have taken over the music scene overseas, and will surely to be the next big import here in the U.S.

But, with the array of cookie-cutter groups that try to make it year after year, there’s always that one that actually does. And can you guess which group that is? Yup, One Direction (or as their fans simply call them, “1D”). Sure, at first glance they look like just another boyband made up of pretty faces with a polished wardrobe, but there’s something more to these guys that sets them apart. They’re unique, charming, and most of all, talented (hey, they’re Simon Cowell approved!) They don’t have synchronized choreography, or even dress alike. And in every interview and public appearance, their level of comfort and candidness is refreshing… almost too refreshing.

Although they did not win the very show that put them on A-list, they definitely have the “x factor” needed to succeed. After signing a £2 million record deal with Simon Cowell’s label, Syco Music (even though that’s usually set aside for the winner), they proved that they were unstoppable. Their debut single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” was released in September of 2011, and sold over 153,365 copies in its first week on the charts. The single quickly became the third best selling single of 2011 on the UK singles chart, and is on its way to dominating the charts here in the states, too. (The single broke into the Top 10 on iTunes within a couple of days of its release last week.)

One Direction’s debut album, Up All Night, is filled with solid, power-pop anthems which will surely help them cross over into the mainstream. The group worked with top-notch producers like Steve Mac, Matt Squire, Rani Yacomb and Red One have all contributed to help perfect the album’s overall sound production. Unlike most of the groups at the moment, the album isn’t soaked in club-influenced beats that drown out their vocals. One Direction also had help from a fellow talent competition contestant turned superstar on Up All Night. The original (and our favorite) American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, wrote “Tell Me A Lie” for their debut album. The song, which features her signature guitar sound and catchy lyrics, is another pop-rock tune that would make a great single. While, we think that it would fit perfectly on her latest album, Stronger, we’re happy that the guys got to use it for their album. They add a fun element to the song that only they could do.

The group’s second UK single (which may very well be their second here as well), ”Gotta Be You,” follows the theme of their charming lead single, and also showcases their vocal abilities even more so. One Direction surpassed the audience’s expectations of what a modern boyband can do at a results show for The X Factor (UK) last year, when they debuted the song with a breathtaking performance. The combination of vibrant keyboard strings and top-notch vocals (check out those high notes) makes this track a timeless pop ballad.

While the album’s tracks stay mainly in the pop-rock genre, it does come with a euro-influenced sound. One of our favorite songs on the album is the infectiously catchy pop-dance number, “Stole My Heart.” The Brian Rawling and Paul Meehan produced club banger shows the group’s musical versatility, and is reminiscent of the group’s X Factor performance of Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In The World).”

Up All Night is a strong debut album. Not only could any of the songs work as singles, but the lyrics capture the realism of what some relationships are like today without being overly cliché (ala the cookie-cuter groups of boybands’ past), which is exactly why we believe that One Direction will have no problem resonating with teenage girls (and even many adults) in the US.

So, boys, get those passports out, you’re about to take the world by storm!

Click HERE to pre-order One Direction’s Up All Night.