Little Things

Little things by krin.jpg

Date Aired
March 16, 2013
Running Time
Previous review
Next review

Todd plays "Little Things" on his piano

A pop song review

Todd: The time has come.

Video for "Live While You're Young"
Liam: Hey, girl, I'm waitin' on ya

Todd (VO): You can only be a bad pop song reviewer for so long without devoting some real energy to one of the most popular and toxic acts in the music world, so that's what we're gonna do today.

Todd: You see, about nine months ago, it looked like we had another boy-band war brewing, [Image of "Boy Band Showdown" featuring The Wanted and One Direction] this time the result of a new British invasion. But unlike the TRL wars, this one ended pretty quickly with [clips of "One Shot" by...] JLS not even making it to America, [...and "Glad You Came by..."] and The Wanted burning out after a single hit, [news footage of One Direction] making the undisputed victors of the battle the very worst of the three—five singing, dancing young British boys who call themselves One Direction.

One Direction: Let’s go crazy, crazy, crazy 'til we see the sun

Todd (VO): I disliked them instantly. Something about that scrubbed clean, "golly, gosh, gee-whiz" act of theirs just pissed me off. I mean, these guys have no goddamn personality, they're all the "cute one." Seriously, [promo pics of...] Harry Styles? Zayn? Those are made-up names.

Todd: But are they really that bad?

Video for "One Thing"

Todd (VO): I mean, they look kinda stupid, with their dumb haircuts and everything, but they're not outwardly ridiculous like [picture of Backstreet Boys] the 90s boy bands. And yeah, they're kind of punchable, but they're not gaping charisma vacuums like [picture of...] Justin Bieber was, probably because they're already past puberty.

Todd: So what's wrong with them? Well, I didn't put it together until they'd been around a while, but eventually I noticed something that I couldn't ignore.

Harry: You keep making me weak
Clips of "Live While You're Young"...
Liam: I'm waiting on ya
Come on and let me sneak you out
..."What Makes You Beautiful"
Zayn: I don't know why you're bein' shy
...and "Kiss You"
Zayn: Oh, I just wanna take you anywhere that you like
We could go out any day and any night

Todd: One Direction are trying to f[beep]ck your daughter.

One Direction: I need that one thing
And you've got that one thing

Todd (VO): Yeah, behind their non-threatening boy-man facade, they're basically a bunch of sleazeball pick-up artists. You can't avoid it. That's what every single song of theirs is about. First off, they're always love songs, and they're always addressed to you.

Liam: You

Todd (VO): Never to a she or a her, just you, so that you can more easily fantasize they're singing about...

Todd: personally.

Todd (VO): And they never say anything specific about what they like about you, again so you can more easily slot yourself in the song. And worst of all, they're devious enough to know how to target their screaming preteen fanbase...

Todd: ...right in the most vulnerable parts of their psyche.

Video for "What Makes You Beautiful"
Liam: You're insecure, don't know what for

Todd (VO): Hey, teenage girl, are you insecure about the way you look?

Todd: Of course you are, you're a girl. You got enough insecurities to fill a house. Well, One Direction home in on that and promise to make it all go away.

One Direction: You don't know you're beautiful

Todd (VO): Don't worry, baby, you're beautiful. And even if you're insecure about your insecurities, One Direction has that covered too.

One Direction: That's what makes you beautiful

Todd (VO): They love that you're insecure, that's why you're so hot. They have it down to an art because it's the only thing they do. Their only reason for existing is to make dumb, innocent teenage girls swoon with their insincere flattery. Even Bieber had more moves than this. And if you're not a shrieking, lovestruck teenager, One Direction couldn't possibly have any use to you.

Todd: Now the song I've picked to talk about today is called [single cover] "Little Things", and...this review is gonna be a first for me. Now usually I've only ever talked about mega-overplayed smash hits on this show.

Video for "Little Things"

Todd (VO): That's not the case for "Little Things", which spent one week at #33 before dropping about fifty slots and getting replaced by a bunch of other One Direction songs, as per the new pop strategy of releasing every song on the album at once.

Todd: But it's still the song I chose to talk about because it is so mindblowingly bad...

Todd (VO): ...that I couldn't just let it pass by. Because while I hate this band, while I genuinely hate them and everything they stand for, you know what's even worse than a One Direction song?

Todd: One Direction singing a "white guy with acoustic guitar" song.

Zayn: Your hand fits in mine
Like it's made just for me
But bear this in mind
It was meant to be

Todd: This is my hell.

Todd (VO): [deep and guttural] Hate. And yes, this is most definitely a "white guy with acoustic guitar" song, maybe the most definitive example that I've ever heard. It even has a solid pedigree, as it was originally given to One Direction by [picture of...] guitar-playing ginger boglin Ed Sheeran. [Clip of Ed Sheeran - "Lego House"] Sheeran is basically England's Jason Mraz. In the UK, he's one of their hottest up-and-coming hitmakers, but in this country, he's primarily known for his one song, [Fresh 102.7 promo pic featuring Sheeran] "The A Team", which I...

Todd: everyone, was disappointed to discover was not a tribute to Mr. T. [Promo clip for The A Team] What a waste.

No, "The A Team" is actually...

Video for "The A Team"

Todd (VO): ...about a prostitute addicted to Class A drugs, like crack.

Ed: White lips, pale face
Breathing in snowflakes
Burnt lungs, sour taste

Todd (VO): Now, because of its subject matter, it's more substantial and interesting than the average WGWAG song, (W.G.W.A.G = White Guy With Acoustic Guitar) but it's still basically a good example of everything I don't like about the genre.

Todd: You see, sometimes instead of writing a straight love song, your douchebro songwriter will opt for the more advanced technique—he'll go the indirect route and make the song in the third person...

Video for Jon McLaughlin - "Beautiful Disaster"

Todd (VO): ...about a lonely girl who feels bad a lot of the time and no one understands her.

Jon: She never stays the same for long
Assuming that she'll get it wrong
Perfect only in her imperfection

Todd (VO): That way you know he's super-caring and romantic. This is the exact strategy Lil Wayne used [clip of "How to Love" by...] when he tried his hand at acoustic guitaring. The ladies eat this shit up. Apparently, even when the misunderstood girl is [back to "The A Team"] a dying crack whore. "Oh, it's such a beautiful song. He's so thoughtful and romantic."

Ed: And they say
She's in the Class A Team
Stuck in her daydream

Todd (VO): It just makes ODing on the street sound so pretty.

Ed: An angel will die
Covered in white

Todd (VO): A dead crack addict is an angel dressed in white, flying home. Bullshit. The topic Sheeran chose to write about is dirty, ugly, and it doesn't sound like [brief clip of...] James Blunt telling you you're beautiful. I mean, maybe he didn't write this song just to get laid. Maybe he was genuinely trying to be sympathetic, but I'm still pretty sure he doesn't have a damn clue what he's talking about.

Todd: And that's Sheeran when he's good. At least that one has some good lines in it, which is more than I can say for...

Todd (VO): ..."Little Things", which manages to combine Sheeran's and One Direction's worst qualities. Sheeran allegedly wrote the song at age 17, and [web article: "How Ed Sheeran's 'Little Things' became One Direction's song"] later donated it to One Direction instead of tossing it in the garbage, like you should do with anything you wrote when you were 17. And as could be expected, it's a miserable load of dishonest dreck straight from the "f[beep]ck me, I'm sensitive" school of songwriting. It's a love song to a sad, misunderstood girl.

One Direction: I'm in love with you
And all these little things

Todd (VO): This is like all the other One Direction songs boiled down to their essence. See, this is them confirming exactly what they like about you.

Todd: Things.

Clip of "One Thing"
One Direction: You've got that one thing

Todd (VO): You know...things.

Todd: See, they're talking about you. You have things.

Todd (VO): That's what they love about you, your things. Their favorite little thing about you is your qualities. But a close second is your attributes.

Todd: Actually, no, I wish this song was just vague.

Todd (VO): There are worse things than being vague, like being specific. And in its verses, "Little Things" gets pretty uncomfortably detailed. It starts out normal with its sweet, romantic, meaningless nothings that could apply to anybody.

Zayn: Your hand fits in mine
Like it's made just for me
But bear this in mind
It was meant to be

Todd: Yeah, that's how I know we're meant to be—your hand fits in mine. I mean, you're nothing like the last girl I dated. She has gigantic mitts the size of footballs. I...I couldn't get my hand around them at all. But you, you're special.

Zayn: And I'm joining up the dots with the freckles on your cheeks
And it all makes sense to me

Todd (VO): Hey, Ed.

Todd: You wouldn't have happened to have heard of a little band called...

Clip of "Such Great Heights" by...

Todd (VO): ...The Postal Service, have you?

Ben Gibbard: ...sign that the freckles
In our eyes are mirror images and when
We kiss they're perfectly aligned

Todd (VO): 'Cause if I were Ben Gibbard, I think I might sue.

Todd: But anyway, here's where it starts to get uncomfortable.

Liam: I know you've never loved
The crinkles by your eyes
When you smile
You've never loved
Your stomach or your thighs
The dimples in your back at the bottom of your spine
But I'll love them endlessly

Todd: Okay, two things. Okay, 1—...

Clip of "What Makes You Beautiful"

Todd (VO): ...this is, of course, yet another example of One Direction negging their impressionable teenage fans. But, um...more importantly...

Todd: ...I don't think you're supposed to actually mention the things they feel bad about.

Liam: You've never loved
Your stomach or your thighs

Todd (VO): Smooth.

Todd: Real, real smooth, guys. I...I'm not exactly Casanova, but...

Todd (VO): ...even I know better than that. Girls wanna believe you haven't noticed any of this crap. Start with "you're beautiful," end with "you're beautiful," and leave out all the parts she doesn't like about herself, okay? Just...just don't mention it. Don't bring up her stomach or her thighs or all the other things she feels bad about. Seriously, where'd you learn your technique from, Napoleon Dynamite?

Clip from Napoleon Dynamite
Napoleon: I see you're drinking 1%. Is that 'cause you think you're fat? 'Cause you're not. You could be drinking whole if you wanted to.
One Direction: I won't let these little things slip out of my mouth

Todd (VO): Yeah, yeah, you'd better not.

Todd: Actually, it's too late for that. You already wrote a whole damn song about it.

One Direction: But if I do
It's you
Oh, it's you they add up to

Todd (VO): Oh, of course, that's all it means. In case they do let it slip out of their mouths, it's just them talking about all the little things they love about you.

Todd: This isn't a love song, it's a preemptive apology for accidentally shit-talking you.

Todd (VO): This isn't even good for a "white guy with acoustic guitar" song. At least your average acoustic guitar player knows how to fake sincerity just by virtue of not being a pre-fab reality show boy band.

Todd: Another thing: spare minimal accompaniment is supposed to create the aura of a more [picture of man serenading woman in gazebo with guitar] personal one-to-one connection, which you can't really pull off when there's [promo pic of One Direction] five of you. Hurry up and finish this.

One Direction: But if I do
It's you
Oh, it's you they add up to
I'm in love with you, and...
[Cut off by clip of Journey's...]
Steve Perry: Faithfully

Todd (VO): Oh, wait. Sorry, sorry.

Todd: Musically, this song's just so generic, I j...I just keep slipping in other songs. Watch.

One Direction: I'm in love with you...
[Cut off by Train - "Hey, Soul Sister"]
Pat Monahan: Tonight

Todd: Eegh. Anyway, my point was...

Todd: ...I know they're trying to be flattering, but they actually created a very unflattering picture of this girl. Not because she's fat, like every girl thinks she's fat. But these guys, they just keep going on and on and on and on and on about how much she doesn't like herself. And after a while, she starts to sound like kind of a basket case.

Harry: I know you've never loved
The sound of your voice on tape

Todd (VO): She hates the way she looks, she hates the way she sounds, she hates all sorts of different parts of her body.

Liam: The dimples in your back at the bottom of your spine

Todd (VO): Wait, wait, she's insecure about her back dimples?

Todd: Is that something girls are embarrassed about? I...I thought only [shot of swimsuit model] really skinny people had those anyway. Jesus, this girl's got insecurities out the yin-yang. Her yin-yang is also something she has insecurities about, by the way. You know, all those Cosmo articles about how to slim down your yin-yang. By the way...

Todd (VO):'s a pretty sad commentary that they can be sure every single one of their fans will relate to a song about a girl with body issues.

Niall: You'll never love yourself half as much as I love you

Todd: [facepalming] See? See? Yet again, that's one of those things that sounds romantic, but isn't.

Todd: Like, phrased another way, maybe, in a different song, that could be endearing. But here, what it's saying is that you will always hate yourself for the rest of your life. Isn't that nice? I still love you, even though you'll be racked with crippling depression and self-loathing for all your days. [Clip of...] At least with "You Don't Know You're Beautiful", they...might just be trying to say that it's cute that you're shy. But here, this have to wonder if she couldn't use some therapy. Probably even more so after she listens to this.

Louis: You can't go to bed without a cup of tea
And maybe that's the reason that you talk in your sleep

Todd (VO): No, no, don't even mention that, guys. I mean, she's not insecure about her sleep-talking because she doesn't know about it yet. Leave her be.

Harry: You never want to know how much you weigh
You still have to squeeze into your jeans
But you're perfect...

Todd (VO): Oh, my God, stop! For the love of Christ, what the hell is wrong with you?

Todd: Oh, baby, I know you worry about your weight, but I promise you're beautiful to me. No one but me, but I love you. I mean, I know that you worry that you have bad breath, but you don't.

Todd (VO): I promise, and I don't at all notice that you have really bad skin, and that you pick your nose in public, and that all your jokes are really bad, and that weird mole on your back, and that you kiss about as well as a discarded fish head, and that your best friend is way hotter than you, that your laugh sounds like two chainsaws having sex,...

Todd: ...that you constantly derail conversations by talking about all the things you dislike about yourself and fishing for compliments, and that... Actually, when I lay it all out like that, I'm not quite sure what I do like about you. You know, maybe we should see other people.

Harry: And I've just let these little things slip

Todd: This sucks. I've never heard a more insulting love song in my life. Are we sure Billy Joel didn't write this?

Todd (VO): There's a reason this didn't do very well. It's not only sleazy, it's incompetent. At least their other songs didn't lay it on this thick, and at least they were upbeat and catchy. Apparently, even One Direction fans are too sophisticated for this.

Todd: And on top of everything else, it's so generic that even though I spent a week writing this review and I've been ranting about it for ten minutes, I still can't actually remember how it goes.

Todd (VO): Seriously, as soon as I stop listening to it, it disappears completely from my memory. I...I'm sick of this. I'm done.

Todd: I...I'm gonna turn this off. Whatever. One Direction guys, you can continue to be enamored of your needy wreck of a girlfriend. I'm Todd In The Shadows saying, always remember that I love you...because of the little things. And by "little things," I obviously didn't mean your stomach or your thighs. Those things are huge! I wrote a song about it, wanna hear?

[Playing and singing]
Oh, I don't care you're ugly
I don't care you're stupid

Hey, where are you going?

One Direction: All your little things

Closing tag song: Bush - "Little Things"

"Little Things" is owned by Simco Limited
This video is owned by me

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.