What was I doing on Friday to miss this exciting premiere, y’guys? Perhaps I was preoccupied with another Mighty Angus burger. Always happens to cock block my favourite British pop video premieres.
The sound of a million teenage girls’ heart pounding to the beat of One Direction‘s new single can’t be wrong. ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ has managed to do the unthinkable in my books – break down my skepticism and have me on my knees fan-gurling over a teen boy band. I need to start acting my age and gender.
The X Factor-formed quintet is arguably the most bankable act to come out of last year’s series – yes, I’m placing them ahead of series winner Matt Cardle and runner-up Rebecca Ferguson for good reason. You cannot deny the power of the teen pop demographic in an era where boybands are winning left, right and centre. [Editor's note: check recent UK #1 singles by JLS and The Wanted].
Nicole Scherzinger absolutely demonstrated her acute gift of insight when she whispered for Simon Cowell to group Harry, Niall, Louis, Liam and Zayn early in the X Factor series. Millions of stans, forum overload, crying and shaking, and votes later – Simon signed the quintet to a £2 million record deal with Syco and there continues the pop perfection.
Syco has cleverly tested the waters with Mary Byrne and Cher Lloyd‘s releases first – both proving successful in their own right – but the 2010 faves du jour were always gonna have material lined up for this year’s X Factor peak season. Therefore, was anyone really surprised to see One Direction premiere their music video a day before the new series went to air? [Side bar: I'm pleased to announce that Feed Limmy will once again be following and recapping both the UK and Australian X Factor series this year. What joy!]
The video for ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ was shot in Malibu Beach, Los Angeles, and it really does the song full service by pitching us some summery visuals with a playful laddish tone. Director John Urbano, famed for creating highly editorial commercials for Abercrombie and Converse, was right on the money here.
Check out three highlights of One Direction‘s debut video:
1) Harry Styles and The One Direction.
Judging by the screen time dominance, I’m surprised that Syco hasn’t rebranded the gang as Harry Styles & The One Direction. No shade to Harry because it’s obvious from the start that he was always gonna be the young heart throb fave. Y’all remember the scene where he was wandering about the X Factor house in just his undies, yeah? But what about Niall Horan and his endearingly flawed dental situation? What about all the Niallites? There’s hardly enough of him in the video to keep his stans at peace.
2) Remember when Atomic Kitten did this?
Probably not. Most One Direction fans were probably just embryos when Atomic Kitten foisted a similar frolicking-in-the-beach video for ‘It’s OK’ but for all you Popjustice dinosaurs, you’ll appreciate this flashback. I love that ten years on, a similar bohemian Sportsgirl-type fashion is making a comeback and of course, riding top down in a vintage Volkswagon is something that’ll always be relevant through the ages.
3) Boys of summer.
The beautiful thing about pop videos is that, it can and it has the potential to take you to a fantasy world without you even knowing. If you explore visuals in pop videos on a very basic level, they’re really selling you the fantasy of having nice clothes [translation: this-slash-future season's collection], nice hair and skin, and exciting getaways. One Direction‘s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ is a fine example of all the above executed in a flawless Junior Abercrombie & Fitch pseudo-commercial style. The concept of all five going on a road trip – when you’re not entirely sure if anyone in the band should really be behind the wheel without adult supervision – and doing stuff lads do like kick a football, throw stones and flirt with girls really is some A-grade summer idealism.
One Direction will release ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ in the UK on 11 September which, despite being three weeks away, has already broken record for biggest pre-orders ever registered for a Sony Music single. Know that the Sony Music conglomerate is also home to top-selling artists like Celine Dion, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey. Not that anyone pre-orders their singles any more.