One Direction’s Midnight Memories: Album Review

Earlier this week, a leak of One Direction’s third album, Midnight Memories, circulated the Internet, causing pandemonium across the “Directioner” fandom. It was officially released on iTunes on November 24th, which projected the album to #1 in 81 countries. For those of you who have yet to listen to it, or are generally unfamiliar with their music, the album presents a more mature, rockier tone than their two previous bubblegum pop albums, Up All Night and Take Me Home.

The album has generated some major buzz from both fans and celebrities alike. However not all of it has been positive. Although Justin Bieber lauded the album through Twitter (“well done boyzzzzzz”), some reviews claim that a number of the songs are unoriginal. The first track off the album, “Best Song Ever,” has drawn comparisons to the Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” which prompted Pete Townshend himself to respond, stating, “No! I like the single. I like One Direction. The chords I used and the chords they used are the same three chords we’ve all been using in basic pop music.”

The 14-track album consists of many guitar-based songs, and has forayed into a new folksy sound, a la Mumford and Sons. What’s even more impressive is that band members Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Niall Horan have written or co-written almost every track on the album, along with the help of Ed Sheeran, Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody and British boy band McFly. Each song highlights a different band member’s vocals, miraculously avoiding having a standout star like Justin Timberlake in ‘N Sync.

One Direction’s new album has an edgier, sexier feel, a major transition from the squeaky-clean pop hits on their past albums. “Happily,” co-written by Harry Styles himself, presents lyrics about finding “my traces in your hair” and the pop-rock jam “Little Black Dress,” written by the entire band, entreats a beautiful girl to show “the way you’d move for me, baby.” “Midnight Memories” boldy features a swear, (shocking, we know) touching on how “people talk sh*t / but we don’t listen). The album marks a major shift in the band’s control over their music, illustrating the boys’ increasing command of their artistic prospects. What lies ahead for the band, other than the obvious―increasing fame and success, is the discovery of a sound that is completely their own, undoubtedly influenced by their experience as the most famous boy band in the world.