Music Monday: Pop! One Direction and Taylor Swift

Monday, November 12, 2012


I spent most of the time post-Hurricane Sandy watching seasons two through four of "Gilmore Girls," reading, and listening to music on my iPod. Some of it was pop and some of it was holiday music (I'll spare you ... for now). I'm going to go full-out teenybopper on you this week.

Here are the songs that have lodged themselves inside my head:

Slightly pitched to avoid copyright, but not too far off. The chorus has basically been stuck in my head since I first heard it.

I don't really think I've been honest about my "relationship" with One Direction on this blog. I've been a fan since fall 2010, when they appeared on X Factor UK. I don't think they're, on the whole, great singers, but I love their dynamic and they're nice to look at. And like so many grown women across the world, I have a little crush on Harry Styles, even though I'm much too old for him. (He did date a woman 15 years his senior last year.) But hey, I'm almost certain my mom has crush on Zayn Malik (and why not? He's gorgeous!). And Niall Horan is just cute as a button.

This song was written by Ed Sheeran, who I've already professed my adoration for, but the lyrics suck. It's like a more adult version of One Direction's debut single, "What Makes You Beautiful." I don't find it ultimately romantic to be reminded that I don't fit into my jeans or that I've got enough freckles to form a connect-the-dots illustration on my cheek. Not even when Harry is singing it to me in an especially smoldering voice. But the melody is really simple, and the chorus is catchy in a way that ballads aren't usually catchy. Ed Sheeran did something right. I just wish he hadn't wasted this sweet melody on such terrible lyrics.

I love the vibrant imagery in this song, particularly "loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street / faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ended so suddenly / loving him is like trying to change your mind once you're already flying through the freefall / like the colors in autumn, so bright, just before they lose it all / losing him was blue like I've never known / missing him was dark grey, all alone ..." This song is not country at all, but I don't know what it is. It just sounds like late night and damp streets lit by dying streetlights. And I appreciate Taylor Swift's new stage wardrobe -- so, so much. No more prom dresses, woohoo.

There are actually quite a few songs I really like from the new One Direction album, but I'm not about to post videos for all of them. I was really disappointed with the direction they took with the first album, considering their slightly adult contemporary slant while they were on The X Factor UK. I thought the album was too fussy, but it's likely because I'm just too old. To me, it sounded like Beach Boys meet varsity (American) football team party. 

There are a lot more ballads or mid-tempos on this album and the tone is just more serious. And, oddly enough, there's a more equal distribution of solos to each of the members -- the opposite of what's usually happened in the past with boy bands. Well, except for the Backstreet Boys in their third (or original) carnation. It seems Kevin Richardson is finally getting some vocal recognition now that the going's getting better for the Backstreet Boys and he's decided to rejoin the group. I'm not bitter. (I'm really not. I just never liked him.)

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