Cuteness-wise, One Direction make all the other boy bands look like hunchbacks who should’ve never been let out of the bell tower. That lets them get over as little more than bland song conduits. Their second album rivals the best of Backstreet and ‘N Sync when the material pumps (power-pop sure shots like “Kiss You,” “Back for You” and the Clash-biting “Live While We’re Young,” written by masters like Shellback and Rami Yacoub). But when it doesn’t (i.e., most of the ballads), a certain amount of douchiness creeps in: “You still have to squeeze into your jeans, but you’re perfect to me,” one of them sings on “Little Things.” Hey, buddy, you’re a millionaire: Buy her some loose jeans.
Listen to ‘Take me Home’