One Direction, "Midnight Memories" (Columbia)
What's the mother of the average American tween to do as the holidays approach? Miley has twerked her way out of the stocking, for sure. Justin Bieber invites too many questions. And most of the women of pop are exploring very adult themes that are rated at least PG-13.
One Direction steps into that giant void just in time for Black Friday, providing nervous mothers with the perfect gift: "Midnight Memories." The album is full of positive choruses and playful — not pornographic — takes on love and life. Smartly promoted around release, the third album from the British boy band is definitely mom bait.
It's a pretty good record, too. The quintet has released a lot of music in a short period of time, usually a challenge for young acts.
Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson take baby steps forward from their two platinum-selling 2012 releases, "Up All Night" and "Take Me Home," adding some musical edge and variety, mostly through the use of turned-up guitars and hit surfing through the mom-friendly 1980s.
"Diana," for instance, is all Sting and The Police as the boys hop on that burgeoning bandwagon. The title track references Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" in a way that's oddly pleasing. And "Does He Know?" covers the same ground musically and thematically as Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl."
While the quintet is flirtatious, they never move beyond the casual come-on, and their paramores are painted as sassy and smart, usually turning down that invitation to go home with one of the boys. The rockin' "Little Black Dress" is about as spicy as it gets with its chorus of, "I wanna see the way you move for me, baby." Unlike most of their pop-music colleagues, bad girls are definitely not cool here, as they note on "Little White Lies."
The music is inclusive, too, as the group often paints itself as a refuge of sorts. "If you ever feel alone, don't/ You were never on your own/ And the proof is in this song," they sing on "Don't Forget Where You Belong."
And that's the kind of message every mom can get behind.
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott .
On June 6 in London, One Direction revealed their new fragrance for women, Our Moment. The perfume is named after "Moments," a song off their 2011 album "Up All Night." The official 1D Twitter account <a href="https://twitter.com/onedirection/status/342705333589917696" target="_blank">posted</a> this goofy video of Niall being singing and playing around with a bottle of the new fragrance. "We worked hard to get it smelling just right," the band member <a href="https://twitter.com/NiallOfficial" target="_blank">tweeted</a>.
Even though the school year is wrapping up, the band is already gearing up for the fall with their very own <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/01/one-direction-school-supplies_n_3372015.html" target="_hplink">line of school supplies</a>, focused on the theme of anti-bullying. The supplies include everything from notebooks to nail polish.
Earlier in May, we learned about One Direction's official <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/one-direction-announces-n_n_3321813.html" target="_blank">book</a> project, <em>One Direction: Where We Are: Our Band, Our Story</em>. The band announced the title and cover art on <a href="https://twitter.com/onedirection/status/336880024936407041" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and according to <a href="http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/feature/onedirection/" target="_blank">HarperCollins,</a> the book will detail 1D's "journey over the last year and a half." Keep your eyes peeled for its release, which is supposed to happen on August 27.
In April, Louis Tomlinson told the <a href="http://www.dailystar.co.uk/rehab/view/311558/One-Direction-working-on-new-album/" target="_blank">U.K.'s Daily Star Sunday</a> that 1D plans on releasing their third album by December 2013. Even though their <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/28/one-direction-recording-n_n_3175555.html" target="_blank">schedules</a> are so busy, they've apparently been recording on the road to get the album together in time.
Back in May, One Direction <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/16/one-direction-big-announcement-where-we-are-tour-2014_n_3284795.html" target="_blank">announced</a> their upcoming "Where We Are" tour isn't going to be like their concerts in the past. The band is headed to the big leagues in 2014, by embarking on a world stadium tour. In a press conference for the announcement, Harry <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/16/one-direction-big-announcement-where-we-are-tour-2014_n_3284795.html" target="_blank">said</a>, "It's important the fans and everyone who comes to see the show know it's going to be much bigger and new songs. A completely different tour."
Sony is making a 3-D film about the boy band called "This Is Us," which Niall <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/one-direction-3d-movie-bo_n_2122246.html#slide=1752503" target="_blank">said</a> is due out on August 30. The film is apparently similar to other concert movies like Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" and Katy Perry's "Part of Me." Fans will have a behind-the-scenes look at all-things One Direction and get to know their favorite band members better on the big screen.
1D World Stores
The band is continuing to open up more 1D World <a href="http://www.onedirectionstore.com/1D-World/" target="_blank">stores</a> that only sell One Direction-related merchandise. Fans around the world line up to buy T-shirts that read "Future Mrs. Styles" and phone cases with their favorite band members on the back. "I cried like 50,000 times and I was just emotionally unstable so many times, one Directioner named Cindy Segura told <a href="http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/story/22290239/2013/05/18/get-all-things-one-direction-at-1d-world" target="_blank">MyFoxPhoenix</a> when a 1D World opened in Arizona. "I can't even talk right now."