While calling British-Irish boy band One Direction “The Next Beatles” is an exaggeration, it doesn’t mean that the former X-Factor contestants don’t have enough talent to justify all the praise they are getting. Their debut single, What Makes You Beautiful, provides the same kind of clean-cut, adorable, and completely innocent pop ditty expected from any act who wants to be the next British invasion.
What Makes You Beautiful mixes elements from pop rock, teen pop, and even electropop, with a chord progression that resembles the classic song La Bamba, albeit using a much slower tempo. The opening guitar riff is also noted as similar to the Grease single “Summer Nights” but despite the number of influences present in the song, One Direction manages to avoid sounding like a complete rip off. They even manage to stay away from the saccharine, overly-formulaic pop songs expected from boybands, due to the use of a rougher, overdriven guitar for some parts of the song.
What Makes You Beautiful received mostly positive reviews from critics, with some of them praising the song for being ridiculously catchy, and good enough for any listening session as long as you take it for what it is – a shallow, but nice get-up-and-dance ditty that shows boybands are still a viable act in this day and age.