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One Direction: 'Midnight Memories' Album Review

Brittany Lazar |
November 26, 2013 | 7:36 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

First they were up all night, then they took us home, and now they’re singing of midnight memories in their best album yet: Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik have done it again. 

“Midnight Memories” is the third studio album of the lovable band One Direction, who has proved to be much more than just cute and charming boys. A seemingly new and mature sound is the product of a subtle yet effective change in musical style. Forget the stereotypical bubblegum pop songs of boy bands and welcome to an album full of edgy pop-rock tunes, heartwarming ballads, and indie influences. 

The first track on the album is “Best Song Ever”, a catchy tune that was used to promote the band’s most recent film, “One Direction: This Is Us”.

READ MORE: Film Review: 'One Direction: This Is Us'

Still sticking to their roots, the boys did not stray too far from the familiarity of their first two albums. With stronger vocals in both verses followed by an uplifting chorus, "Best Song Ever" was eligible to be the song of the summer.

“Story of My Life” is the first song to introduce the shift in One Direction’s style. Adopting indie instrumentals, it almost sounds as if Mumford and Sons will begin to tell you the story of their lives. However, this song is the first sign of the band’s maturity, displaying their wide vocal range and lyrical genius. All five members were involved in the writing process of this song, adding to its personality and emotional message. Directed by Ben Winston, the music video for “Story of My Life” beautifully captured the boys’ message by featuring their families and how they have shaped the story of their lives. 

“Diana” is the one song that is sure to be stuck in your head after listening to it for the first time. For any girls named Diana, they should consider themselves lucky. This track is about the lads’ promise to a girl who is not at the best place in her life. The chorus echoes this sentiment in the line, “Let me be the one to lift your heart up and save your life.” 

“Midnight Memories”, the title track, is almost a complete turnaround from One Direction’s earlier music and a perfect example of the edgier sound everyone has been anticipating. Alluding to the Addison Lee cab company and telling of their life on the road, “Midnight Memories” is one of those songs that you blast in the car and dance to like no one is watching. 

“You & I” is the slowest song on the album, a deep ballad and favorite of band member Zayn Malik. After much hype, this song is not as impressive as expected. Sure, it has those “aw moments,” but it’s simply boring and not really memorable. 

“Don’t Forget Where You Belong” is another anthem about home and remaining humble over the short course of time that One Direction has risen to fame. Nialler wrote this song alongside McFly, who also co-wrote “I Want” and “I Would” on the first two albums. Without a doubt, this song surpasses the earlier collaborations with McFly featured on “Up All Night” and “Take Me Home”.  

“Strong’ is the typical love song with cliché lyrics as the title suggests. In the chorus, the boys sing, “I'm sorry, if I say, I need you, but I don't care I'm not scared of love, cause when I'm not with you I'm weaker, is that so wrong? Is it so wrong?” 

Harry recently revealed that he wrote “Happily” in a field with Savan Kotecha. It has the same folk feel as “Story of My Life’” but is more upbeat and lighter in meaning. The melodies in the verses are fun to sing along to, but the chorus is most exciting, as the lads shout in unison to win a girl back. 

“Right Now,” co-written by Ryan Tedder, is a mediocre mixture of One Republic, Maroon 5, and even Coldplay. This is the type of song that can resonate with any audience, whether it’s their large teenage fan base or adults. Regardless of the similarities to some popular alternative bands, the echoes and high pitch of the chorus showcase yet another level of the vast vocal ability of the 1D boys.

“Little Black Dress” is reflective of the 80s with a modern twist and mature edge. Beginning with an intense guitar riff, the boys sing suggestive lyrics, “Little black dress just walked into the room, making heads turn can't get stop looking at you , it's so right, it's so right, it's so right you know.”

“Through the Dark” is another Mumford-esque track, but it’s nowhere near as catchy as “Story of My Life” or “Happily”. 

“Something Great” is not something great. It’s not terrible, but rather too bland and lacking in artistic quality. As a whole the song is soothing and basic, but it’s missing that something special vocally. Louis’s ending is random and unnecessary in a failed attempt to make a statement. 

“Little White Lies’” is a song full of angst and passion, which is a satisfying switch from the usual innocent lyrical content characteristic of One Direction. Accompanied by a strong drum beat and a sudden electronic bridge, this up-tempo song unveils some hidden truths.

“Better than Words”, the final track of the standard edition, is undeniably perfect. In fact, there are not any words to explain the depth of this track. Liam, Louis, and Niall show off a sexier side to their voices, while Harry and Zayn lead in a distinguishable chorus. Whistle tones mixed with a pop-rock beat add up to an unforgettable track will have everyone up and out of their seats.

“Midnight Memories” is a wonderful breath of fresh air following One Direction’s first two albums. While the change is not too drastic, it’s enough to reach out to a broader audience other than teenage girls. Since its release on November 25, 2013, “Midnight Memories” has remained the number 1 album on iTunes. 

Read more of NT's album reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Brittany Lazar here.



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