Album review: “Take Me Home” by One Direction

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By Kaitlyn McCurdy

Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik. If you don’t know at least one of those names, I worry about you. There’s no way you could have made it through the past year without learning a thing or two about at least one member of the world’s hottest boy band, One Direction.

The band gained popularity through The X Factor and ever since it’s just been an upward climb for the European lads. Their debut album, “Up All Night,” went straight to number one on the Billboard 200, with 176,000 copies sold in the first week. One Direction was the first British group to ever achieve this. Yeah. “Take Me Home,” the group’s sophomore effort, is full of potential singles and a more mature sound. The album showcases all five boys’ voices, which can’t be said of “Up All Night,” which tended to exclude Tomlinson and Horan vocally. It’s an amplified version of their debut album, and fans won’t be disappointed. I project it’ll be another number one for the band.

The lead single, “Live While We’re Young,” is also the album’s kickoff track. Produced by the same guy behind “What Makes You Beautiful,” the track is ridiculously catchy and fun. The track does sound like WMYB, but the song’s style and extremely…innuendo filled lyrics make it work better on “Take Me Home” rather than the band’s debut.

“Kiss You” has major single potential. And I mean major. As in, if this track isn’t the third single, I’ll be honestly surprised. It’s insane how easy it is to get this song stuck in your head. Some lyrics are laughable (“I just wanna show you off to all of my friends / making them drool out their chinny chin chins”) but I dare you to resist singing along. It’s as difficult as passing the cinnamon challenge; have fun.

The album’s second single, “Little Things,” is a slow version of “What Makes You Beautiful.” It’s extremely obvious that Ed Sheeran is partly behind the lyrics. If girls everywhere weren’t already swooning, they definitely will be with this track that’s entirely about loving yourself. Cute.

“C’mon, C’mon” is the shortest song on the album, so you can guess that it’s extremely fast paced and aimed to make you dance. It succeeds.  Another potential single, lyrics like “I’ve been watching you all night / there’s something in your eyes / saying c’mon, c’mon and dance with me, baby” will, once again, have teenage girls singing along for days.

The next track, “Last First Kiss,” is a solid song for the band. Compared to others, the track isn’t a standout, but fans will definitely love it. It’s also the first song on the album that some of the boys actually helped write (Styles and Horan can’t take any credit).

And we’re right back to upbeat, bubblegum pop with “Heart Attack.” Another “meh” track. It’s filled with Michael Jackson-esque “OW!”s, a somewhat strange beat and autotune galore.

“Rock Me” is a break from the pop sound of the first half of the album, with a rock undertone and extremely catchy lyrics (“I used to think that I was better alone / why did I ever want to let you go? / under the moonlight as we stared at the sea / the words you whispered, I will always believe”).  It’s one of my favorites. Parents, however, might not exactly like the implications of the song.

“Change My Mind” is a more mature track on the album, a traditional boy band ballad. It’s not a strong point on the album, but it’s definitely worth a listen. I tend to skip over it, though.

“I Would” is…nothing like what I’d expected it to be, which I should’ve known when it was confirmed that three-fourths of McFly had written it. The track is super fun, super catchy, and completely different from “I Want” off “Up All Night” (which was also written by a McFly member).  Just a random note, but fans, listen for Liam saying “go Tommo, go” before Tomlinson’s solo. It made me smile.

My absolute favorite off the album is “Over Again,” another track written by Ed Sheeran (again, it’s extremely obvious Sheeran was involved with the song). The chorus shows off the band’s absolutely beautiful harmonies, Sheeran’s writing qualities, and every boy’s individual parts sound fantastic. Lyrics like “tell me with your mind, body, and spirit / I can make your tears fall down like the showers that are British / whether we’re together or apart / we can both remove the masks and admit we regret it from the start” make “Over Again” another winner and one of the album’s strongest songs. I’d gladly sign a petition for Sheeran to write all of One Direction’s ballads.

One of the catchiest songs is “Back For You.” The chorus is truly irresistible. On a musical standpoint, the track doesn’t stand out, but it’s another favorite of mine.

“They Don’t Know About Us” is another strong point for the album. It’s another traditional boy band song, one you’d expect from Backstreet Boys, and maybe that’s why I love it so much. The chorus, which croons “they don’t know about the up all nights / they don’t I’ve waited all my life / just to find a love that feels this right” secure the track as a fan favorite.

“Summer Love” is the album’s final track, and no other track would close the album as well. It was a great choice to end with this song, an ode to a past summer romance. It’s slow, sweeping instrumental, gradual buildup, and beautiful harmonies are incredible. The boys get to brag that they helped write it lyrics like “you were mine for the summer / now we know it’s really over / feels like snow in September / but I always will remember / you were my summer love.” Fantastic, bittersweet ending.

As for the yearbook edition bonus tracks (of course I bought the limited edition!), all of them are pretty fantastic. All four are worth the extra bucks. The picture book is also pretty adorable and nice to have (I can feel you judging me). The Target edition comes with five bonus tracks, including two live versions of songs from “Up All Night” and three other solid tracks. Which version of the album is better? I’d say the yearbook limited edition.

Overall, the sophomore effort is a solid pop album, with some extremely fantastic tracks. If boy bands or pop music aren’t your cup of tea, the album definitely won’t sway your opinion, but it’s a highly enjoyable, fun record. One Direction easily secures a spot in the hearts of teenage girls (and, yes, some boys) everywhere (as if they hadn’t already).