One Direction is serious business.

The quintet is the only act from the United Kingdom ever to debut at No. 1 on the charts with its first album. That's right -- not The Beatles, not the Stones, but the Simon Cowell-created boy band One Direction. The group's popularity has translated into massive tours sold out well into next year, as well as a new album, "Take Me Home" (Columbia), that has plenty riding on it.

But the only way their rocket ride to stardom will continue is if they keep things fun. So that's what they go for on "Take Me Home."

The fizzy single "Live Like We're Young," with its co-opting of The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" for its opening and its poppy, sing-along chorus, is right on target. They strike again with "Heart Attack," which grooves like Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A." and has loads of goofy "ow!" screams and vocal tics. And when they really let loose on the playful, jangly guitar party "I Would," only the hardhearted would be able to stifle a smile when they declare, "I can't compete with your boyfriend; he's got 27 tattoos!"

Sure, it's a manufactured good time, but their target demographic doesn't know any better, and who wants to ruin that party before it's necessary? One Direction is harmless fun -- the musical equivalent of one of those cute kitten videos. Nothing wrong with that.


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"Take Me Home"


BOTTOM LINE For now, the only way is up