Release Date: Nov 25, 2013
Record label: Columbia / Syco Music
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop, Pop Idol, Teen Pop, Contemporary Pop/Rock
After conquering the pop world over a three-year span with their many hit singles, two chart-topping albums, a box office smash concert film, and sold-out arena tours, it would be understandable if the lads of One Direction took some time off to regroup and pursue other things like having lives, taking film roles, or embarking on solo projects. They did nothing of the sort, and their third album in three years, Midnight Memories, rolled off the production line right on time for the holidays. Anyone expecting there to be any kind of drop in quality, or early warnings that the group had begun their inevitable decline, will be happily surprised that not only does the album satisfy the established quota of thrilling modern pop tracks and uplifting ballads, but also introduces some interesting new directions: one direction that makes sense in the music landscape of 2013, and one that comes out of nowhere.
After two albums of flirting, hand-holding and coltish fumbling at parties, One Direction might just have finally gone all the way on their third album, Midnight Memories. Maybe. There is a track on the deluxe edition – widely disseminated online – called Why Don't We Go There, in which Harry Styles propositions some nubile interlocutor. "We got all night," he reasons, "we're going nowhere/ Why don't you stay?/ Why don't we go… there?" he asks, eyebrow cocked.
Every straight guy ever has parlayed their first bouts of boredom with masturbation into attempted mastery of the guitar. But only a few of them ever get to announce their masculine renaissance on as grand a scale as Zayn, Niall, Louis, Harry, and Liam do on Midnight Memories. Tossing aside the wilted tissues of their adolescent pop trifles in favor of protein-blasted rock anthems and mountain-man acoustic ballads, One Direction's third album is their 'roidy bid to graduate from boy-bandom.
Like the Supreme Court, One Direction want you to believe that corporations are people, too. They, and many co-writers, lard this third LP with references to adulthood ("I'm at the age where I know what I need") and hectic lives ("Living out of cases, packing up and taking off"). But the real subject is the band's fans, the Twitter equivalent of soccer hooligans; in "You & I," 1D depict loyalty as heroism worthy of Katniss Everdeen.
Review Summary: The sound of stagnation.The success of One Direction has been described by many detractors as nothing short of an anomaly. "How did they strike a chord with so many people?" "What's their appeal?" "When will their careers end?" It seems as though these questions haven't been answered, but I can safely say that this boy band are no anomaly whatsoever and these questions will be (or are) answered quite easily. When you get down to it, One Direction could essentially be considered the equivalent of taking pop star Justin Bieber's radio-friendly pop and squeaky-clean tween image and transferring those qualities into five young men from the UK.
One Direction—Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson—formed in 2010 on the U.K. TV show The X Factor. The quintet became an immediate sensation, a position it’s maintained thanks to a cheeky interview style, tabloid drama, and adorable mugs. However, the group members also possess not-insignificant musical talent, including the ability to harmonize effortlessly on command.
The new One Direction album sounds like it was designed to win over (or perhaps further irritate) people likely to scoff at the idea that this British outfit is the biggest band on the planet. The scale of its success seems beyond dispute, with 16 million Twitter followers, 35 million albums sold worldwide and well over 1 billion views of its videos on YouTube — all in the two years since the group released its debut in 2011. Coldplay and Foo Fighters can't even get in the same room to compete.
The new album from One Direction is a lot like the British boy band members’ hair: Nothing is out of place. “Midnight Memories,” the wildly popular quintet’s third studio album, is buffered to a flawless shine, but along the way they’ve bleached the music of nuance and texture. Several songs, including the first singles, “Best Song Ever” and “Story of My Life,” blast off to promising starts before buckling under ’80s-inspired bombast.
In the current issue of Billboard, at the end of the cover feature on One Direction, there is a cooling mist of reality spritzed by, who else, Simon Cowell, the TV judge-impresario who helped Frankenstein this group into existence on the 2010 season of the British version of “The X Factor.” “Eventually, they probably will split up and maybe want to have their own careers,” he said, a statement that most likely sent shivers down the tiny spines of One Direction fans but is, of course, merely stating the obvious. Mr. Cowell was referring to a corollary of the immutable law of boy bands: The band’s fans age, but the band generally does not.
On their third album, One Direction's gone from pop-pop to pop-rock. But they didn't get there on their own. There's borrowing in pop music and there's blatant, unashamed ripping off. Here, 1-D are too close to the latter from the get-go. The opening strains of Best Song Ever (it is not) - while ….