The Bottom Line
Watch "Little Things"
Why is it that One Direction's world seems filled with girls that have low self-esteem ("What Makes You Beautiful") and are weight conscious as in "Little Things"? If they were singing to fellow young adults it might come off as sweet and charming as I am sure songwriter Ed Sheeran intended. However, since One Direction's record label and management deliberately market the boy band to pre-teens as a core audience, it seems their songs are more likely to cause very young girls to worry about things they may not have otherwise considered.
- Beautiful production
- Top notch singing
- Negative lyrics for a pre-teen audience
- Written by Ed Sheeran and Fiona Bevan
- Produced by Jake Gosling
- Released November 2012 by Syco
Guide Review - One Direction - "Little Things"
Yes, the sound of "Little Things" is beautiful. Producer Jake Gosling, best known for his work with Ed Sheeran, has crafted a delicate accompaniment for the, at first glance, gentle words. The rotation of lead vocals is beautiful as well. Score points for One Direction on the sonic quality of the song.
However, it is when the words, "You've never loved your stomach or your thighs, the dimples in your back at the bottom of your spine" are sung, and I imagine a 9 year old girl thinking about Liam Payne singing those words to her, I start to feel a little ill to my stomach. In many cases I would not consider a 20 year old artist, such as Taylor Swift, to be responsible for overly adult lyrics and how they might be taken when a child hears them. However, One Direction is marketed so strongly at pre-teens it does seem as if they are sending a message they want young girls to hear clearly. The message here is I love you despite the fact you have weight and body issues similar to "What Makes You Beautiful" conveying low self esteem was a key element in making the subject of the song attractive.
One Direction have earned the status of the world's most successful boy band through the singing talent of the members, their energetic stage presence, and personality that is conveyed in endless publicity. However, there is shakiness in the chart performance of their singles, and some of that can be laid at the doorstep of poor lyrical choices, whether it's the image projected back to their fans of how they are seen, as in "Little Things" or "What Makes You Beautiful," or the implied sex in the words of "Live While We're Young." The group's manager Simon Cowell endlessly promoted the concept of age-appropriate songs for contestants on American Idol. It is time he looks at his own band and suggests they perform songs that are appropriate to their core audience.