One Direction's debut studio album Up All Night (2011) is predominantly a pop music record, containing elements of teen pop, dance pop, pop rock, and power pop, with electropop and rock influences. Digital Spy's Robert Copsey described the album as a "collection of pg pop rock with killer choruses", while The New York Times considered it "full of easy rock-inflected pop, blithe and sometimes clever." Jason Lipshutz of Billboard acknowledged that the album demonstrates an originality in sound that was "necessary for the revitalization of the boy band movement". Songs "One Thing" and "What Makes You Beautiful" were particularly noted for the genres of power pop and pop rock, for their "powerhouse" guitar riffs and "forceful" choruses.
Vocally, in live settings, Erica Futterman for Rolling Stone asserted their acoustic performances as both showcasing, "Horan's ability to play guitar, as well as One Direction's admirable live vocals. There was no need to worry about a backing track or a bum note, a pleasant realization at a pop show." Herald Sun's Cameron Adams opined that One Direction contain "strong pop voices", Melody Lau of National Post wrote similar commentary, "It's easy to get lost in inherent appeal of their perfectly coiffed dos and almost-too-put-together preppy style but somewhere in the midst of all the love-struck squeals of teenage girls are guys who can actually sing and, to a certain extent, entertain." Jane Stevenson of portal site Canoe wrote, "What I didn't really prepare myself for was that they all can actually sing in concert." The Washington Post writer Chris Richards dissented of the approval, "As the five traded couplets, it was tough to imagine a future Justin Timberlake, Ricky Martin or Bobby Brown emerging from the pack. No one voice stood out." Mike Wass of Idolator felt One Direction's "surprisingly accomplished effort" of King of Leon's "Use Somebody" proved that One Direction are "more than capable" of evolving their sound.