Better Than Words
Label: Syco Music
Perhaps fitting for a vocal group that were formed during a TV singing competition, One Direction's third LP begins and ends reflexively, opening with a tune about dancing to the perfect tune and closing with a song in which the boys can't describe a recent love affair except through other songs. In between, the fivesome's own efforts range from the string-snapping Mumford post-folk of "Through the Dark" and "Happily" to the Foreigner-influenced guitar rock of "Little Black Dress." Not what you'd expect from the biggest teen-pop album of 2013, but crisp, varied drums keep it sounding fresh.