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Up All Night is One Direction's debut studio album that was released on November 11, 2011 by Syco Records.

Track listing

  1. What Makes You Beautiful - 3:18
  2. Gotta Be You - 4:04
  3. One Thing - 3:17
  4. More than This - 3:48
  5. Up All Night - 3:12
  6. I Wish - 3:35
  7. Tell Me a Lie - 3:15
  8. Taken - 3:55
  9. I Want - 2:51
  10. Everything About You - 3:35
  11. Same Mistakes - 3:37
  12. Save You Tonight - 3:24
  13. Stole My Heart - 3:25

Album Background

After being formed and finishing third in the seventh series of "The X Factor" in 2010, One Direction were signed by Simon Cowell to a £2 million Syco Records record contract.

Recording for their debut album began in January 2011, as the group flew to Los Angeles to work with Moroccan-Swedish producer RedOne.

In February 2011, One Direction and nine other contestants from the series participated in the X Factor Live Tour. After the tour concluded in April 2011, the group continued working on their debut album.

Recording for the album took place in Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as One Direction worked with producers Carl Falk, Savan Kotecha, Steve Mac, RedOne, Toby Gad and Rami Yacoub, among others. The album also features songs written by Ed Sheeran, Kelly Clarkson, and Tom Fletcher.

In May 2011, Kotecha spoke to Digital Spy, and he elaborated that One Direction were "experimenting" with sounds on their debut album.

He said that he was involved in the "early stages" of producing the record saying: "The stuff I've heard has been really catchy and everyone loves the guys, so it's just about capturing that in the music, which I think is what they're going to be doing."

Sonny Takhar, the chief executive officer of Syco Records, in an August 2011 issue of Music Week, described the recording process as a "very intensive period" for the group. Takhar added the resulting album was one of the best pop records made by Syco Records in the past few years, and that he was confident it would be successful.

In November 2011, One Direction signed a record deal with Columbia Records in North America.[10] Steve Barnett, the co-chairman of Columbia Records, said it was not a difficult decision to sign with them. He said: "Other artists in that category had gotten a little older. I just thought there was a void, and maybe they could seize and hold it."


"Up All Night" is predominately a pop music album which orientates into elements of the dance-pop, teen pop, pop rock and power pop genres, with electropop and rock music influences.

The instrumentation throughout the record is provided by guitar strings, drums and a piano.

The album opens with lead single "What Makes You Beautiful", an uptempo teen pop and power pop song. The opening guitar riff has been noted as similar to that of Grease single "Summer Nights".

"What Makes You Beautiful" has a guitar-based chorus; Digital Spy's Robert Copsey likened it to a cross between Pink's song "Raise Your Glass" and McFly's song "All About You". It also contains cowbell instrumentation, and the middle eight consists of an "oh na na na" hook.

The second song on the album, as well as the second single, "Gotta Be You", is a mid-tempo pop rock ballad. Set in an orchestral arrangement, its instrumentation includes a guitar, piano lines, and abundant strings. The chorus of the song opens with falsettos that are followed by vocal harmonies.

The third single from the album, "One Thing", is an upbeat pop rock song. The song has a "plucky" guitar riff and a "forceful" chorus with Lewis Corner of Digital Spy dubbing it "arena-ready." The song's melody has been noted for similarities between Backstreet Boys song "I Want It That Way".

The fourth song on the album and fourth single, "More than This", is a pop ballad. It contains sounds of synthesizers.

The fifth song on the album, title track "Up All Night", is an uptempo electropop and dance-pop song. Lyrically, the song is a party-anthem, with the Katy Perry name-check in the chorus being noted by various publications.

The sixth cut, "I Wish", is a mid-tempo pop ballad. The song's lyrical tone has been compared to Robyn's "Dancing On My Own".

The seventh song, "Tell Me a Lie", is an uptempo pop rock song which features prominent guitar instrumentation and pulsating beats. The song was originally intended for Kelly Clarkson's 2011 album, "Stronger."

Clarkson spoke to Capital FM on how she was proud of the end result, saying: "It's a really cute song, I love it. I loved that they liked it. They sound really great on it. I already have it – I'm so VIP with my copy on my computer! It does sound really good."

The eighth track, "Taken", is a guitar-driven pop ballad. Lyrically, the song is about heartbreak and relationships. The ninth cut, "I Want", is an uptempo pop rock song which features a prominent piano line. This song was co written by The Vaccine.

The tenth song on the album, "Everything About You", is an uptempo teen pop and electro pop song. The eleventh song on the album, "Same Mistakes" is a mid-tempo pop song, which utilizes piano lines, synthesizers and percussions.

The twelfth track, "Save You Tonight", is an uptempo synthpop song, and has a retro sound and arrangement.

The thirteenth song, final song on the standard edition, "Stole My Heart", is an uptempo dance-pop track which has been noted for similarities between Taio Cruz's hit 2010 single "Dynamite".

The first cut on the deluxe edition and overall fourteenth song on the album, "Stand Up", is an uptempo electropop and pop rock song.

The second song on the deluxe edition, "Moments", is a mid-tempo pop ballad; instrumentation includes a gently strummed guitar and intermediate piano lines. The song's lyrics revolve around an unrequited love.

During the album's UK launch in late 2011, Louis Tomlinson referred to the song as his favourite track on the album.

Chart Performance

"Up All Night" topped the charts in 16 countries, becoming the third best-selling album of 2012 globally, selling 4.5 million copies.

The album entered the UK Albums chart at #2 on November 27, 2011, selling 138,631 copies, becoming the UK's fastest-selling debut album of 2011 and the fastest-selling album of 2011 to miss out on the top spot; it was kept off the top of the charts by the first week sales of Rihanna's album, "Talk That Talk" (which sold 163,819 copies.

The album became the sixteenth biggest-selling album in the UK of 2011, with 468,000 copies sold. As of December 8, 2012, it had sold 777,000 copies in the UK. It became the fifteenth best-selling album in the UK of 2012, with sales of 372,000 copies.

"Up All Night" was certified double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on February 15, 2013, denoting shipments of 600,000 copies.

As of November 2014, the album has sold 1,086,434 copies in the UK. The record held the runner-up position for four non-consecutive weeks on the Irish Albums Chart, and was the tenth biggest selling album in 2011 in Ireland.

After six months in the Irish Albums Chart top 20, "Up All Night" peaked at number one in its twenty-seventh week.

The album topped the Australian ARIA Chart for five consecutive weeks and was certified quintuple platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), denoting shipments of 350,000 units.

In New Zealand, the album topped New Zealand Albums Chart for three non-consecutive weeks and was certified triple platinum by Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), denoting shipments of 45,000 units.

The album debuted atop the Italian Albums Chart on the issue dated February 16, 2012; it was certified platinum by Federation of the Italian Music Industry (FIMI), denoting sales of 60,000 units.

In Mexico, the album topped the Mexican Albums Chart for twelve non-consecutive weeks and was certified four times platinum by the Mexican Recording Industry Association (AMPROFON), denoting shipments of 240,000 units.

In Canada, the album bowed atop the Canadian Albums Chart with first-week sales of 35,000 copies, which made One Direction the first UK group in Canadian chart history to enter at number one with their debut album, and the first international act to debut at number one in the Nielsen SoundScan era (post 1991) with their debut album.

"Up All Night" has been certified double platinum by Music Canada, denoting shipments of 160,000 units.

The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 176,000 copies in its first week, which made One Direction the first UK group in US chart history to debut at number one with their first album.

It also became the first number-one album by a boy band in eleven years, since 'N Sync's album, "Celebrity." As a result, they were inducted into the Guinness World Records.

It was certified two times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on July 26, 2012, denoting shipments of 2,000,000 copies.

"Up All Night" also became the first album by a boy band to sell 500,000 digital copies in the US by October 2012. As of August 2015, it has sold over 2.05 million copies in the United State.

Critical Reception

"Up All Night" received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 64, which indicates "generally favourable reviews".

Matthew Chisling of AllMusic commended the album for its appeal to the teenage audience, "limitless potential for the time being, this is a perfectly sized, and targeted, collection."

PopMatters' Zachary Houle called the album a "laudable addition to the boy band pantheon" and a "well-crafted slice of pop you can pop bubbles to".

Digital Spy's Robert Copsey commended the album for "a collection of pg pop rock with killer choruses" and summarised it as "an adorable as expected debut with a surprising amount of bite".

Cosmopolitan's Sophie Goddard lauded the album for a collection of "toe-tappers that are just impossible to dislike".

The Independent editor Simon Price gave the album two out of five stars, and in an assessment wrote: "the album consists of fifteen instalments of inoffensive daytime radio pop, of which half the songs sound like "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys, the other half like "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty, it will sell by the zillion."

Daily Star's John Earls complimented the group for creating an album "that doesn't take the easy route", quipping that the album has "big personalities" and "belting fun pop anthems."

Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone criticised the album for lacking personality.

Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly perceived that the album "won't help the group earn much respect in music circles. But if a tween-pop empire is what these boys are after, they're definitely headed in the right direction".

In a detailed review, Jason Lipshutz from Billboard wrote: "[Up All Night] demonstrates an originality in sound that was necessary for the revitalization of the boy band movement. The electropop currently dominating Top 40 radio is seamlessly weaved into the pop harmonies made standards by 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees -- for instance, the title track sounds like a hybrid of Backstreet Boys' "Larger than Life" and an LMFAO song, and even includes a Katy Perry name-check. Up All Night has its ups and downs, but One Direction complete two important tasks on their debut album: the boy band notches a long-lasting hit with "What Makes You Beautiful," and they look forward instead of back. Get ready to hear a lot more of One Direction."

Matthew Horton of Virgin Media opined that the album brims with "punchy pop rock" and considered the dance-orientated "Stole My Heart": "the only misstep, which only reinforces their decision to go pop rock."

MSN Music's Ben Chalk called the album: "manufactured, calculated and commercial", assessing that the resulting album "is a corking pop album".

In his review, he also complimented the album for its collection of singles: "'[Up All Night] is a collection of highly polished pop gems, which knows its market and gives it what it wants."


For the North American release on March 13, 2012, Columbia Records executives used social media to shape its marketing campaign.

Columbia Records co-chairman Steve Barnett and his team decided to reverse the usual pattern of releasing a single on radio. Instead, the label mounted a 4-month marketing campaign aimed at building a fan base through social media before a single was ever released or played on the radio.

The social media campaign asked fans to sign petitions and to enter video competitions to win a concert in their town.

The campaign was a success as One Direction's Facebook followers in the United States rose from 40,000 to 400,000. "What Makes You Beautiful" sold more than 131,000 copies in its first week, even though it had yet to be played on the radio.

Radio programmers were flooded with calls from fans.

Johnny Wright, who managed New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, said: "Now they are calling the radio station, and the radio station is scratching its head, saying, ‘We don't even have that record yet,’. It's almost like the return of The Beatles. I call it hype, but it's positive hype because it's all real. It's not manufactured. No one paid these kids."

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