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Ranking “Up All Night” by One Direction

As an avid One Direction fan since 2012, I have listened to all of their albums many times. The music from the later albums, such as Made in the A.M. and Four, are arguably better because the boys have more mature voices, and higher profile songwriters and producers working on the music. Despite this, their first album gives me such a deep sense of nostalgia for middle school that I can’t help but go back and listen to it every so often. But is the album actually good? If you had asked me in 2012, I would have said that it was the best album I had ever heard. In 2020, I have a bit of a different view. Here is my ranking of the best to the worst songs on One Direction’s debut album, Up All Night.

“Same Mistakes”

Coming in at first place is “Same Mistakes.” This is one of my favorite One Direction songs of all time. It’s a good mix of slow and upbeat, and I think their voices sound really good. All of the boys are co-writers on the track, as well as Wayne Hector and Steve Robson.


I put “Moments” in second place because, like “Same Mistakes,” I think it is one of the more mature-sounding songs on the album. Their voices blend so well in the chorus that makes this song so beautiful. This song was co-written by Si Hulbert and Ed Sheeran, who wrote a lot of songs on the boys’ first and second albums. 

“More Than This”

This is another slower song, but I think the chorus is so pretty that I had to put it at the top of this list. The lyrics to this song are pretty sad, and the combination of Liam, Harry, and Zayn’s voices in the chorus works perfectly. This song was written by Jamie Scott. 

“One Thing”
Original Illustration by Gina Escandon for Her Campus Media

Coming in at #4 is “One Thing”— the first upbeat song on my list. I would say that this song was the second most popular on the album, and it reached the top ten charts in Australia, Ireland, and the UK. The track is super catchy and is stuck in my head for hours after I listen to it.

“Tell Me a Lie”

In 5th place is “Tell Me a Lie,” which has angsty lyrics and an upbeat tempo. Zayn and Liam are the lead vocals on this track, and Harry individually sings one pre-chorus. The song was co-written by Shep Solomon, Tom Meredith, and Kelly Clarkson.


Another slower track on the album, “Taken” takes the 6th spot on my list. This song is about a girl not liking the boys back, but once they’re in a relationship she’s interested again. The boys are co-writers on this song, as well as Lindy Robbins and Toby Gad.

“What Makes You Beautiful”

“What Makes You Beautiful” was One Direction’s first single, and it was a smash hit in multiple countries. It peaked at #4 on the US Billboard top 100, and #1 on the UK Singles Chart. It was also on top charts in Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Canada, and Japan. In addition to success on the charts, it also won the 2012 Brit Award for British Single of the Year. The hit was written by Carl Falk, Rami, and Savan Kotecha.

“I Want”

This song has a bit of a different sound than the rest of the album, with a piano-heavy background, and electric guitar coming in towards the end of the song. It has a bit of a ‘rockier’ sound compared to the rest of the album, which is heavily pop-influenced.

“Gotta Be You”

“Gotta Be You” is a sentimental song that One Direction released as their second single. Written by August Rigo and Steve Mac, the single peaked at #3 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

“I Wish”

“I Wish,” coming in at 10th on my list, is another angsty song about heartbreak that has an upbeat tempo. I think that compared to some of the other songs on the album, this one falls to the wayside a bit. It has a similar theme to multiple other songs on the album, and a similar tempo to others as well. Despite this, it’s still a great song.

“Up All Night”

Despite being the title song on the album, I don’t think this song holds up 8 years after its release. The chorus is super catchy, but the lyrics are pretty cheesy and seem made for the radio, which is why I ranked it towards the bottom of this list. This song was released as a single and did fairly well. The song was written by Matt Squire and Savan Kotecha. 

“Everything About You”

“Everything About You” is an interesting song, that I have ranked fairly close to the bottom of this list. This is one track that definitely does not hold up today. The techno-electronic beat in the background doesn’t match the boys’ voices in my opinion, and the song pales in comparison to the other up-beat tracks on the album. This song was co-written by the boys, as well as Wayne Hector and Steve Robson. 

“Save You Tonight”

Coming in at second-to-last is “Save You Tonight.” The song starts with super strong vocals from all of the boys, and then the beat comes in. I love every One Direction song, but this is not one that I would choose to listen to today. To put it simply, the chorus is just annoying. A lot of songwriters collaborated on this track, including Porcelain Black, AJ Junior, Teddy Sky, Jimmy Joker, and Savan Kotecha. 

“Stole My Heart”

Coming in at last place is “Stole My Heart.” The lyrics are slightly creepy, and their echoing voices combined with the techno beat in the background is just plain weird. I understand that they were trying out different styles, but this song does not hold up. This song was written by Paul Meehan and Jamie Scott. 

That is all for my ranking of One Direction’s Up All Night album! If you haven’t listened to this album, I highly recommend it and would be very curious to see what a new listener thinks of it in 2020. It’s clear that both the boys’ voices and their songwriting became more mature towards the end of their time as a band, but this album is so nostalgic to me that I will always love it. 

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Jenny is a sophmore at Boston University. She is studying psychology with a minor in special education. She is from Massachusetts, and loves all things MA! Her hobbies include listening to music, watching hockey games, and drinking coffee!
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