The shelf life of a boy band is so ephemeral, you can’t blame One Direction for thrusting a second album at us a mere eight months after their debut.
Besides, those kids who already bought tickets to the group’s 2013 tour need something to ply them until Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are back in front of them on stage for a shriek-inducing 90 minutes.
“Take Me Home” succeeds as a logical next step for an outfit no one is looking to for life-changing musical genius. This baker’s dozen of tunes bounce, soar and swoon with nary a clunker among them. In fact, the album sounds designed to be a collection of singles.
Things that have already become associated with the U.K. quintet – the jangly guitar riffs that color all of their uptempo songs, the puppy dog lyrics that affirm a young lady’s awesomeness (“Little Things,” which thematically follows “What Makes You Beautiful”), the songs that are legally required to use the word “kiss” in them (“Kiss You,” “Last First Kiss”) – are in abundance here.
And good for One Direction. They’re doing exactly what they should be – appealing to teens who want to hear that they’re attractive and worthy of love. It’s harmless pop and really, not much of a stretch from the Beatles professing that they wanted to do some hand holding.
No one harbors any crazy ideas that One Direction will be playing stadiums at 70. But for now, hearing them explore slightly edgier musical territory on “Rock Me” and glide through “Change My Mind,” a mid-tempo song worthy of Take That in their heyday, is plenty. In fact, “Change” isn’t quite soggy enough for the tweens or chirpy enough for Top 40 – which means it’s a step toward musical maturity for these lads, who also take some stabs at co-writing throughout the album.
What makes listening to a song such as the blissfully catchy “I Would” even more endearing is hearing how One Direction functions as a group, not one standout vocalist with The Other Guys behind him.
Is “Take Me Home” formulaic? Absolutely. Offensive to music purists? Probably. But if you can’t, on some level, enjoy these three-minute fluff balls, you’ve sadly forgotten that feeling of youthful exuberance that 1D sells so well.