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Up All Night review - One Direction

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THE RIGHT DIRECTION The teen boy band might hail from the UK, but their bubblegum tunes will no doubt find their place stateside
Chris Lopez

Up All Night

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season

We gave it a B+

Music groups don’t come with much less street cred than this: After failing individually in auditions for the U.K.’s X Factor in 2010, five teen crooners were slapped together by judge Simon Cowell into an insta-band that made it to the show’s finals with wobbly-cute renditions of well-trod classics like ”Your Song” and ”Forever Young.” (They got third place.) But One Direction have something else: They’re the first viable next-gen boy band for a tween demographic that knows Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC only as golden oldies. (Just ask British teens, who have already sent Up All Night up the charts overseas.) Those acts are clear touchstones, from OD’s style — think Nick Carter’s scarf-wearing foreign-exchange-student cousins — to their music, which melds five-part harmonies and prefab production. Still, Up All Night marches to a new, postmillennial tiger beat: The irresistibly bouncy ”One Thing,” the Kelly Clarkson-co-penned ”Tell Me a Lie,” and the party-till-Mom-comes-home title track are all charmingly gimmick-free slices of white-bread wonder. And insofar as a group of five near-strangers can have a personality, OD’s is likably low-key: They’re just a band of impeccably coiffed blokes who want nothing more than to ”be your life, your voice, your reason to be,” but don’t want to make a ”mess upon your innocence.” (Yuck.) Lyrics like that — and forgettable tracks like the hormone-marinated ballad ”Save You Tonight” — won’t help the group earn much respect in music circles. But if a tween-pop empire is what these boys are after, they’re definitely headed in the right direction. B+