Boy bands have been known to represent the pinnacle of mainstream pop music’s tendency to glorify a manufactured sound to captivate screaming preteen fans. “X-Factor” runner-up One Direction embraces this concept with open arms but with a few select changes to this overdone formula that might make its new release “Take Me Home” its saving grace.
The members had a hand at co-writing a few of the songs on the album, with an unfortunate distinction being that most of the songs stick to passé subject matter and cliché lyrics. The lyrics “Yeah / The music is so loud / I wanna be yours now / So c’mon, c’mon and dance with me baby” do not exactly rise above any preset expectations. In fact, it is only when singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran stepped in to help craft the simple ballad “Little Things” that “Take Me Home” reaches any level of lyrical realism.
Some of the most hollow songs just happen to be the catchiest sing-along anthems to hit the shelves in recent years. The album makes for a dicey bridge to cross, because if the given listener holds any regard for lyrical prowess, “Take Me Home” does not have much to offer. However, if dancing and being able to sing along to every song on a record is the goal, this album is surefire gold.
The production value on “Take Me Home” is loud and adventurous. Every nuanced detail, from the booming percussion on the sexy “Rock Me” to the gorgeous, layered harmonies on the country-tinged “Summer Love,” indicates the work of a talented production team. Studio savants Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk breathe life into the often-dull lyrics by working with the band’s strengths.
In effect, “Take Me Home” can only be considered a successful pop album if lyrics are brushed aside. No matter how much it improves on One Direction’s lackluster debut, this album probably shows just enough progress to keep the band in the public eye long enough to return with a more mature third album.
Overall rating: 2 stars