If we have learned anything when it comes to new artists it is that the second album is the deal breaker when it comes to whether an act can make it in the long run. It is what will either make or break an act. There aren’t too many records these days that come with the Adele-effect. if your sophomore release is a dud – the clock begins ticking on your time in the spotlight.
Take Me Home is the second album release for Brit boy band One Direction and sees the 5-piece pop outfit out to win over critics and fans with another dose of high octane pop pennings. The record follows 1D’s debut which was released last year and the group is set to capitalize on the Christmas market with this follow up just in time for the gift giving season ahead.
The group’s debut, Up All Night, was releases in November last year and put these lads on the pop map with their brand of power pop and songs covering having fun, youth and relationships. The record unleashed numerous chart topping hits like the infectious That’s What Makes You Beautiful and One Thing.
Following the release of their debut One Direction skyrocketed to the top of the charts not just in the UK but also abroad, hitting the top spot in numerous countries around the world including an almost impossible feat of going straight into the number one spot on the US Billboard 200 chart, making the group the first UK act to go straight in at number one with a debut album in the charts history. It is pretty safe to say that the One Direction Era is upon us and it seems everyone, from each corner of the globe, has joined the ride.
Now that we have a second album release from the band we were curious to hear whether these boys could pull off another album hit following such enormous success so early on with their debut. Such a release would be hard to follow, surely.
The new album offers us 13 brand new tracks. Momentum is already in full speed with the albums lead single, Live While We’re Young. The track, with its opening Clash similarities, is an obvious One Direction pop monster. Power pop at its finest, it follows the same formula as the bands previous singles with a mid tempo verse and catchy, charging chorus that hooks you instantly with its overlapping synth loops and hand claps. Like the rest of the record the track is overflowing with bubblegum pop hooks and is the perfect intro to the new record.
Guitar riffs and vocal ‘nah-nah-nah’s’ run thick on the following Kiss You while Little Things offers a stripped back and sentimental boy band hit where the vocals get cast into the spotlight as the track rings with the bands genuine vocal talent while fellow Brit superstar Ed Sheeran, who seems to be doing the rounds lately with chart topping acts, having recently written and recorded for US hit maker Taylor Swift, plays the band through the track on acoustic guitar in true Ed Sheeran style.
With the early balladry placed gently to one side the energy is raised once again as the band let loose on C’mon, C’mon. The bass is a prominent feature on this track and although it is a little more repetitive that the other numbers featured on the record it is still quite a catchy little pop ditty for the lads.
We are offered another ballad on the record in the form of the following Last First Kiss. The track is a sentimental and syrupy centre to the record with the outfit unleashing a romantic track that is sure to make their female fan-base swoon.
Rock Me gives the album a rock-edged gem co-produced by US pop starlet Katy Perry. The number starts out sounding like the group are about to reveal a cover of Queen’s We Will Rock You, perhaps intentionally, before unfurling a track that has one of the tightest productions on the album and combines the groups skilled harmonizing skills with some solo spotlight moments for each member.
Another co-written collaboration is found with I Would where the group enlists the song-smith talents of McFly member and principle songwriter Tom Fletcher. Fletcher is no stranger to penning some hit records, having supplied his band with countless chart-topping singles. Here he pulls the rabbit swiftly out the hat once again for 1D. Beginning as a quickly strum guitar driven hit the number quickly takes off with some energetic, hook laden chorus’ and vocal highlights. Some whistling moments steal the mid-section of the song coating the track with a summery feel.
As the record comes to a close we are gifted with Summer Love. Lyrically the track dons a melancholic message as the boys reflect on a seasonal love affair. The closer is instrumentally stripped back, a guitar leading the boys through the track while a subtle string section paces in the background, filling in the track beautifully as the boys declare ‘you will always be my summer love’.
Successful sophomore records are a challenge for any act but One Direction seems to have hit the nail right on the head with Take Me Home. Balanced out with balladry and the group’s signature bubble gum & power pop hits, the record is the perfect continuation of their debut which set the bar pretty high for the act but a height that this album will have no problem reaching.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.