Rid yourself of any preconceptions you’ve had about this reality TV show born boy band, because the newly made quartet are getting down to the nitty gritty and they’ve just released the record they’ve always wanted to make. Hear One Direction like you’ve never heard them before.
Words: Alice Marshall, Subeditor: Matt Hooper
With the departure of ex-member, Zayn Malik, in March of this year and the announcement of their hiatus following not long after, it was difficult to know exactly what to expect from One Direction’s fifth studio album. The idea of the break itself has been a tenuous topic with many assuming this would be it, the final hurdle, for the four boys who have gone a lot further than they probably could have ever realistically envisioned when they came third on The X Factor in 2010. What’s more, would there be a future for them musically after suffering such a huge loss in Malik’s, quite frankly, angelic vocals?
Well, the answer to that is most certainly yes. They hit us with what we can only describe as an absolute jam with Drag Me Down taking the lead as their first single from Made In The A.M. ‘Perfect’ was another smash hit, going straight to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 100.
Both offer the maturer sound One Direction has been promising us. They’ve evolved from the bubblegum pop of their first two albums, Up All Night and Take Me Home, and the rockier vibes of Midnight Memories. Four teased a sound closer to what One Direction truly wanted to be putting out with each member getting more heavily involved in the writing process than they had on the previous records.
Made in the A.M. is something else entirely, though. In regards to how authentic and just downright amazing it is, that is. With influences like Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon added to the mix, the four boys have come together to create something they are genuinely proud of. Unlike with Four, the overall sound is more cohesive and isn’t — it feels important to state — produced with sell out stadium gigs in mind.
Love You Goodbye and If I Could Fly offer some boyband realness with their ridiculously heart wrenching lyrics, whilst Temporary Fix and Never Enough are right down in the thick of it. What A Feeling is the perfect transition from Four track Fireproof and we’ll probably never be over how much we need to dance when cool deluxe track Wolves comes on.
With every listen, we discover another hidden gem, whether it’s another dreamily executed riff by Mr. Styles, a surprisingly well held high note by Tomlinson, or the ever improving rasp of Irishmen, Niall Horan. Liam Payne, in the words of Best Song Ever’s much loved character, Leeroy, is per-fect! But, really, we wouldn’t expect anything less.
We really hope Made in the A.M. isn’t the last we’ll be hearing of this boyband; the album is a real transitional piece of work, paving the way for a sound more widely accessible. But, if it is (and we’d like to repeat, we really hope it isn’t), One Direction has said their farewells in the best possible way and gone out with an absolute bang. Well done, boys, we love it!
The album is out now!