Listening To All Of One Direction’s Music As A 33-Year-Old Man

Kip is my favorite.

1. As an experiment, I listened to all three of One Direction’s albums, noting my thoughts for each song.

Eric Gaillard / Reuters / Reuters

Full disclosure: The only knowledge I have of One Direction is what I’ve gleaned from passing segments on television and blurbs from the internet. I have never formally listened to them. Until today, that is. So, without further ado…

3. Album: Up All Night, released in 2011

“What Makes You Beautiful”: OK, this is admittedly catchy. The production sounds like it was made with keyboard presets, though. I also like the message, because women need to be reminded by men that they are beautiful. (Because how else will they know, duh?)

“Gotta Be You”: The beginning sounds like The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.” I also don’t understand the argument of why it’s gotta be her, but maybe I’m missing some nuances.

“One Thing”: Is this still the backing track from “What makes You Beautiful”? Shit, it’s the third track and already repetitive. I’m in for a long road ahead. I also don’t believe that they don’t understand what that “one thing” they want is. P.S. it’s sex.

“More Than This”: Ooooh! A ballad. Wait, “when he lays you down”? This is for preteens, right? Are they talking about her dad? Either way it’s gross. Also, not the ballad I thought it would be. Kind of disappointed, TBH.

“Up All Night”: The beginning sounds like I’m getting on Space Mountain. Wait, you want to stay up all night, find a random girl and tell her she’s the one? That is some seriously shady behavior, IMO. Plus, I’m too old to stay up all night so this song gets a thumbs down.

“I Wish”: Even they sound over it in this song. Like, they wish they could just be normal dudes for five minutes instead of harmonizing the words, “I wish it was me.”

“Tell Me A Lie”: This song makes the dude she left you for sound super cool and makes you sound super desperate. If he’s the reason that she’s leaving, then you might be the problem, bub.

“Taken”: I was really hoping that this would be about the Liam Neeson film of the same name, but alas it is not. However, it is about women who only like men in relationships. Who’s this song for? Stalkers?

“I Want”: First “I Wish,” now “I Want.” Which one is it? This has a plodding beat that encompasses the unreturned feeling of wanting that most of us experience at least once in life. You know, like in junior high.

“Everything About You”: The beat is so forgettable and generic it might as well be called “Everything About You is Beige.”

“Same Mistakes”: This is the first song I could distinguish the voices of the different members. I will at this point try to name the members of the group: Harry Styles, Zane, Nigel, Kip, and Stewart. How many did I get right?

“Save You Tonight”: Seriously, this song could be about Batman, for all I care. This song also has that same anthem-y, “let’s all jump” chorus. I shall call these types of songs “jumpers,” henceforth.

“Stole My Heart”: This is something I imagine Russian teen girls listen to.

“Stand Up”: Another jumper. They claim they won’t leave until they’ve stolen “every piece of your heart,” which is great and all but they also promise the moon, which is just plain impossible.

“Moments”: OK, in all honesty this song sort of got me. It’s like a first dance wedding song, and first dances always get me, so there. I hope the next album takes more chances musically.

4. Album: Take Me Home, released in 2012

“Live While We’re Young”: Is that the opening to Big Audio Dynamite’s “Rush”? I think it is. “Tonight’s lets get some”? Who are these guys, Mötley Crüe?

“Kiss You”: This song goes from being manic to bombastic, then back to manic. I’m actually OK with it because there is a reference to the Three Little Pigs. And that “na-na-na-na-na” part is fun.

“Little Things”: Is this a sequel to “What Makes You Beautiful”? I’m sure women love to be reminded of their thigh dimples and the fact that they talk in their sleep. Way to a woman’s heart, guys.

“C’mon C’mon”: Not a cover of The Von Bondies song I was hoping for. This is just the song that comes on in spin class that really gets you going and you don’t know why.

“Last First Kiss”: They want to be your first kiss and “take it all the way like this,” which I assume means all the way to your virginity.

“Heart Attack”: If you are this young and having a heart attack then there might something seriously wrong and you should see a doctor ASAP.

“Rock Me”: The opening is no doubt the “We Will Rock You” riff, which is fitting since the song is called “Rock Me” and they seem to like to “borrow” from other songs. However, “Hit the pedal, heavy metal” is now my new favorite lyric ever.

“Change My Mind”: I seriously tuned out during this. But it sort of sounds like a slower version of “What Makes You Beautiful,” what with all the rhyming of “door” and “mo-o-ore.”

“I Would”: Another jumper, this time with whistling. I think I’m dying.

“Over Again”: “Hands fit like my t-shirt”? Do they mean loose-fitting so as to prevent chafing?

“Back For You”: This has the same song structure as “Kiss You”. Weird to copy yourself on the same album, but whatever. I seriously need a drink.

“They Don’t Know About Us”: Yes, you are too young to know about forever! Jesus, stop encouraging girls to settle for their first boyfriend. Also, what are the things that we don’t know that you’re doing? Dry-humping?

“Summer Love”: Was this played over the credits of a Zac Efron movie or something? If not it should’ve been.

“She’s Not Afraid”: What is up with this bouncy beat that they love? Not every song has to be made for cheerleading competitions.

“Loved You First”: Honestly, at this point I feel like I’m audio-dosing and that I was dealt some bad shit.

“Nobody Compares”: “You’re so pretty when you cry”? Way to train a generation of young women to look for men who will make them cry then get away with it. Good job, dudes.

“Still The One”: Bouncy bouncy bouncy I need someone to stab my ears with unpeeled corn cobs thanks byeeeeeeeeee.

5. Album: Midnight Memories, released in 2013

“Best Song Ever”: Wait, is the beginning of The Who’s “Teenage Wasteland”? STOP TAKING THE OPENING RIFFS OF OTHER, BETTER, VERY POPULAR SONGS, OK? I hate to be that old man music snob, but seriously, stop it.

“Story Of My Life”: This is different, in a good way. Not bouncy nor a jumper. See, was that so hard? This is the first song that sounds like they’ve grown as artists in some way.

“Diana”: I take that back.

“Midnight Memories”: This is the song that had the controversy with Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” I think. I really don’t see what the big deal was. No similarities, as far as I can tell. ::: rolls eyes so far back sees own brain :::

“You & I”: Is this Kip singing? Kip is my favorite.

“Don’t Forget Where You Belong”: The title sounds like it would be a song in Les Misérables that Javert sings to Valjean.

“Strong”: A song as generically titled as “Strong” can only be produced and sung just as generically, it seems.

“Happily”: I’d happily eat a bowl of poop than listen to this song again.

“Right Now”: So this album seems to be One Direction phasing out of their bouncy-bounciness into more arena pop, IMO. I also have no idea what a song like this is for. Contemporary dance routines?

“Little Black Dress”: Oh, yeah, guitar! Who the fuck let Cheap Trick in? BTW I hate Cheap Trick.

“Through the Dark”: This is why I also hate Mumford & Sons.

“Something Great”: I guess something great is too much to ask for, but I would settle for halfway decent at this point.

“Little White Lies”: Here’s a little white lie; I am enjoying myself.

“Better Than Words”: Is this a Lonely Island song? It has to be.

“Why Don’t We Go There”: If you close your eyes this could be Yellowcard. Meaning, it would still suck.

“Does He Know?”: The “Jessie’s Girl” riff? Why am I even surprised at this point?

“Alive”: Ugh, this shitty rock thing you guys are trying needs to stop. Only one more song, thank the lord almighty.

“Half a Heart”: I swear to God, Spotify put a commercial on before I could listen to this just to prolong my suffering. Anyway, way to end on a bummer.

6. In conclusion: One Direction just isn’t for this old man. They dress nice and seem like decent guys, and I would be happy to sit and have a drink with any of them. Especially Kip, since he will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Right back at ya, Kip!

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