Though it is not one of One Direction’s original songs, “Teenage Dirtbag,” originally performed by Wheatus, is clearly one of the more popular songs from the movie One Direction: This is Us. The song displays an edgier version of the boys that we haven’t seen previously before the Take Me Home tour, and for many fans this new direction is very exciting, especially with the prospects of a more rock-focused third album to be released in late November.
The first indicator that this song is one of the best in the movie is the simply amazing vocals of the boys throughout its entirety. I can easily remember the first time I heard a recording of One Direction performing this song, and, let me just say, it has been refined to perfection. The song begins with Harry, emitting clear notes that start the song off strong. The group harmonizes for the chorus without a bad note in sight, and this is where the fun begins. The song has a beat and rhythm that makes any person want to stand up and punch the air along with Harry. It’s this intensity and fun vibe that makes “Teenage Dirtbag” a big hit in the movie. Zayn, as always, adds to the song with his riffs and long notes, and Louis chimes in with enough emotion in his voice to truly make you believe he’s at prom being approached by a girl who’s never acknowledged him before. Liam adds his playfulness with a falsetto that rings clear and true. And let’s not forget Niall! This entire time he’s been jamming on his guitar, the main instrumental element that makes this song sound so incredible.
There’s another reason this song is so popular, though. Throughout its entirety, comic book impressions of the boys and lyrics have been displayed on the screen behind the stage. And this is where the magic truly begins. As if the song’s intensity wasn’t enough, now we have the boys transforming artistically into comic book characters on stage, their appearances timed with the most prominent beats of the song. Harry shows super strength, Liam is granted fire controlling power, Niall has his weapon of choice, and Louis and Zayn are armed with voices that kill. The imagery and sounds of the song are enough to put any fan over the edge.
Though the artistry of the comic book characters is beyond pleasing, we can’t discount the boys’ wonderful stage presence in general. They look comfortable, like they own the stage, and they know the way they want their band to perform. Likewise, the boys make it comfortable and enjoyable for the audience, with little hints of humor – like a sweet Niall and Liam head bob, or Louis’s quivering lip, or even the simple gathering of all five after Liam’s lines. This all nicely balances out the edge of the song, making it an all-around fun, heart pounding, and incredibly enjoyable time, for both the audience in the theater and the audience at the concert.
“Teenage Dirtbag” clearly highlights why these five boys are one of the biggest things to have happened to the world-wide music industry in some time, and why so many fans – including myself – are hopelessly devoted, and will claim:
I’m just a teenage dirtbag, baby, like you.