Review Summary: The boy bands must NOT win.
The Boy Bands Have Won, and All the Copyists and the Tribute Bands and the TV Talent Show Producers Have Won, If We Allow Our Culture to Be Shaped by Mimicry, Whether from Lack of Ideas or From Exaggerated Respect. You Should Never Try to Freeze Culture. What You Can Do Is Recycle That Culture. Take Your Older Brother's Hand-Me-Down Jacket and Re-Style It, Re-Fashion It to the Point Where It Becomes Your Own. But Don't Just Regurgitate Creative History, or Hold Art and Music and Literature as Fixed, Untouchable and Kept Under Glass. The People Who Try to 'Guard' Any Particular Form of Music Are, Like the Copyists and Manufactured Bands, Doing It the Worst Disservice, Because the Only Thing That You Can Do to Music That Will Damage It Is Not Change It, Not Make It Your Own. Because Then It Dies, Then It's Over, Then It's Done, and the Boy Bands Have Won.
During the late 90s and early 00s, the boy bands took over the air. From the Backstreet Boys to New Kids on the Block, they were everywhere, and every teenage girl adored them. After the early 00s, the boy bands died out. There were virtually none on the airwaves, and everyone presumed them dead.
And now they're back again.
In early 2012, the boy bands were revived by two acts, The Wanted and One Direction, both of which are pretty generic boy bands: a group of pretty-boys who are loved by teenage girls. One Direction has been popular ever since 2010, due to being on the British version of The X Factor. No one ever knew that they would have a number-one debut album. No one ever knew that they would invade the airwaves.
The lyrics don't do One Direction justice, and they are pretty horrible, with cheesy lines like "You don't know you're beautiful / That's what makes you beautiful", "I don't know what it is / but I need that one thing" and "He takes your hand, I die a little / I watch your eyes, and I'm in riddles". Although cheesy, vapid lyrics are typical of boy bands, One Direction does it even worse by lacking personality or character in their vocals. The songs also do get redundant: once you've heard one, you've heard them all. Every one of One Direction's songs have cheesy lyrics about love, and they all sound like manufactured, commercial top-40 pop songs.
To be fair, the five Brits can actually sing, and their vocals are fairly decent, despite the aforementioned lack of substance. The songs are catchy enough to get stuck in your head, which is horrible, considering you're going to have 13 mediocre tunes inside your brain. The production is okay, with no real standout moments or letdowns. So if the vocals and production don't suck, then why does the album suck? The answer is simple. The album is so redundant, trite and vapid that there is simply nothing good about it. What surprises me is how critics love this sh*t. The commercial success isn't surprising, considering that they're a boy band, but professional critics are digging this repetitive, banal and inane crap.
In the end, the main flaw of the album is its repetitiveness and its cheesy lyrics, along with a lack of substances. While it isn't the worst album of 2012, one can only hope for the end of One Direction's careers.