With the advent of popularity of Britain adolescent group ‘One Direction,’ there’s something to be said for the artist churning wheelhouse that is reality television. Shows like American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, and X-Factor have become the predominant norm for picking up local talent, and this transcends borders, with shows like these popping up around the world. But what’s more the debated point of these shows is the critical reception of the success rate of the artists that win these shows. Sure some are relatively chart mainstays, yet there is an occurred general knowledge that most of the artists that seem to appear through these shows release a few songs and collapse back into oblivion. This phenomena isn’t really surprising if you watching closely; these shows hand pick the best voice(s), prime them for stardom, and dish them out onto the mainstream in a completely cookie-cutter formula. Whether or not One Direction's lyrics, image or even purpose is entirely theatrical is questionable, but it isn’t really the tragedy here. The pre-packaged formula doesn’t entirely succeed because the people behind these shows forgot that having a brilliant voice isn’t necessarily the end-all in creating legitimate artists. And we don’t have to look further than Susan Boyle to realize this. No, it seems these people are forgetting one thing; the songwriting.
This argument holds no greater stead than to that of One Direction, The X Factor’s latest ‘greatest’ export. One direction sticks belligerently to the conventional formula used in a lot of mainstream music, with a strict adherence to simply structured tunes with a bombast affectionate chorus. It makes for very hollow songwriting, while there are better bands in terms of vocals, lyrics and overall feel, The Script for example; One Direction lays their formula bare. While the music here doesn’t fall on the side of egregious, it is hard to get through the album let alone individual songs due to their tepid and underwhelming nature. Chances are you’ve heard single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ being thrashed by a local radio station, and it is mostly telling of every song on the record. Striking musical arrangements are so far between it’s maddening this has been lapped up so well by the chart producing public. To their credit, The boys can
sing, and the record isn’t too overly-produced, which does work in their favour as an exhibition for their voices, but the songs lack any trace of substance, character and/or colour that it becomes completely redundant.
In effect, Up All Night
really is only a moniker to prove these boys are legitimate artists, but to sum it up, the appeal of One Direction really hasn’t anything to do with the music at all. You can’t fault One Direction for knowing their demographics and pitching it straight to them, but it does come at some surprise the success of Up All Night
. It’s tempting to lump One Direction under the ‘boy-band’ blanket term, but even to associate with NSYNC or Backstreet Boys seems criminal- there was a pervading sense of self-awareness and irony, and some sense of songwriting ability needed when boy-bands were all the rage. Lumped in with limp themes marketed to a tee, One Direction struggles to find a song, even a moment on the album that will age soundly. As television popularity starts to become obsolete, the worth of artists driven by the mechanisms of these shows should dive as well right? If you measure by the charts and record sales One Direction could be considered a success, but there is a pervading sense that One Direction may just be the last of these television constructed artists.