Single Review: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

Photo: Official Site

I’ll admit, I was very much unimpressed with the boyband circuit a few years ago. Westlife were still throwing out power ballads that, although had their charms, were very samey and the wave of indie meant that any boyband had to shroud themselves in the ‘serious muso’ veil.

Then came along The Wanted and Take That (again) and the whole boyband phenomenon that was prominent in the 90s came flooding back. Which brings us to One Direction – one of the most promising X Factor acts to stampede into Simon Cowell’s office. Competent dancers? Check. Decent voices? Check. Oh, and they weren’t bad looking either. The girls went wild. They came third in the competition. The rest is history.

Now the band are taking their first steps into the real business with their single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. Sounding like an explosion of McFly and Backstreet Boys, it has empowering lyrics that seem to be the flavour of the month (We R Who We R, Born This Way, Firework…) which the boy’s voices chant together begging you to sing along. It won’t be too difficult to do that either, as the song is going to be playing on repeat in your head for a while after hearing it. It is pop at it’s best and it’s a style of music that has been missing since the American wave of boybands faded away in the late 90s.

It’d be ignorant to think they won’t be compared to their fellow boybands such as the aforementioned The Wanted and JLS, but One Direction bring an element of fun to their music. Their peers may be succeeding on the ‘cool’ front but the X Factor bunch are unashamedly pop and that is the scene in which they are most likely to thrive.

‘What Makes You Beautiful’ channels enough sensibility to adhere to the yearnings of their younger, dedicated supporters but the undeniable hooks are likely to pull in one or two older fans, particularly with the killer double-chorus. In an industry where usually copycat acts promptly flop and are dropped, the One Direction team have sought out what is missing on the pop scene and have brought it in abundance with this debut single.

The only problem they might face, as many have and will, is the X Factor curse. Many people will refuse to take them seriously because of their formation on the show and this is something they can only dismiss by producing great music and proving that their talent is worthy of reigning in the charts. You can have your opinions on the boys but with one of the biggest fanbases in the country and a sensational debut, their music is going to plague your eardrums for a long time to come. Here to stay… at least for a while.

Photo: Official Site
Words: Simon McMurdo


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