As a teen, I know how much can change in a year. Between new interests, new classes and new friendships, I feel like a totally different person than I was last November. The members of One Direction can surely attest to this statement. Not long ago, the five British boys were merely strangers who shared a love for music. But with the help of Simon Cowell, who placed the boys in a group on "X Factor UK" and signed them to his label Syco, they were transformed into superstars. While fame may bring along bigger paychecks and nicer clothes, the emotional growth during adolescence is standard for all. The group's debut album "Up All Night" (released a year ago) was laced with catchy hooks and playful lyrics that were enough to make millions of girls swoon. But on "Take Me Home," their maturation into young adults is made evident, giving the album the potential to be an even bigger success than the first.
The boys of One Direction have become more polished vocalists since the release of "Up All Night," allowing for a wider range of melodic styles and harmonies. All five members have a surprisingly equal amount of solos this time around, so each boy's unique voice can shine while maintaining a united front. Although the songs still have the poppy vibe characteristic of boybands, this album has a more cohesive sound than the last, further verifying the group's musical development.
With significantly more writing credits on "Take Me Home," the boys clearly pull from personal experience, discussing girls and parties and relationships in most of the songs. But this time, it's with an aura of wisdom and experience, rather than the clean-cut naivete of the band's previous album. The lead single "Live While We're Young" could serve as an anthem for partying teens everywhere, proudly stating "Tonight let's get some/And live while we're young." "Little Things," the second single, is reminiscent of the group's first smash hit "What Makes You Beautiful." In the acoustic song, the boys reinforce their loveable roots by proclaiming that girls shouldn't feel self-conscious about, well, the little things. The mixture of party jams and heartfelt ballads may seem contrived, but it's an accurate representation of the diversity of teenage social lives and relationships.
A previously unreleased song, "They Don't Know About Us," takes inspiration from hit boybands of the '90s, with its synth-infused chorus and perfectly in-tune harmonies. There's no shortage of breakup songs on the album, but the upbeat dance vibe of the standout track "Heart Attack" is enough to cure any broken heart.
While the lyrical content of the songs isn't extremely profound, that's not what One Direction is trying to accomplish. "Take Me Home" successfully embodies the carefree and fun nature of teens, which is something I can definitely support.