This One Direction article was written by Steven Loftin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster.
Boyband mania is one that plagues every generation, from The Beatles to the Backstreet Boys, there’s always those acts that create a completely mad atmosphere around themselves. One Direction are our generation’s symbol of this worship and mania.
To go into a listening session for a One Direction album is a bit like ordering food from your favourite restaurant and expecting the flavours to change. You’re aware of what awaits you but occasionally you find that “hey, actually this is better than I remember”, and that’s exactly what you get with ‘Made In The AM.’
The album itself is pleasing in many ways, one of which is most obvious: it’s constructed pop music, and of course it’s going to be simple and easily digested. No one listens to a One Direction album in hopes of uncovering a Tool-level of depth, with references to the Fibonacci spiral. You’re going to get feel-good pop music that is made to make you happy, and this it certainly does.
Being the final release before their hiatus, in many ways this record is their swan song, a homage to the formula that made them one of the biggest acts in the world currently. Though there are times where things can seem a bit too Deja vu, for example, you can’t help but make associations with Taylor Swift’s ‘Style’ when it comes to the track ‘Perfect’. The chord sequence is a bit too familiar and the only change is the tempo of the vocals which are ever so slightly slowed. Obviously pop music is built upon a recycled foundation of chords and lyrics, but is this a bit too much of a reach or capitalisation on a feature from one of the fastest selling albums of all time?
‘Hey Angel’, which opens the record, is a vast, soaring track that echoes of 90’s Britpop in the sense of thunderous, pounding drums and rapturous choruses. There is definitely a small evolution to the sound they have now, both aided by growing older and losing a member, a situation that normally develops a band one way or another.
There are also tender moments, where the loud, pop beats are replaced with solemn piano or a string section, as found on ‘If I Could Fly’. ’Love You Goodbye’ features another helping of strings with crashing drums and a simple but effective guitar solo. It appears they’re also finding some influence in classic rock ballads.
‘Never Enough’ is perhaps where the fun peaks. A tribal drum beat, surrounded by the band doing their best as their own backing band with finger snapping and chanting paves way to a chorus that to call catchy would be a massive understatement. Special mention also goes out to the fantastic falsettos from Liam Payne, with a crescendo that sees us out with wails of “It’s never enough, come on!”
Five albums in five years is a lot of output for any band, granted they have a team of writers and producers behind them, but you can’t deny they don’t have a solid work ethic. The band also have a majority writing credit on this record, with 14 out of 17 being attributed to them, as well as their team.
Seeing as this is their final record for a while, with the unknown awaiting them, they did a great job of giving themselves the perfect send off. An album that covers everything their fans adore about them, as well as alluding to their own writing talents, these flavours certainly weren’t too different but with this out of the way, who knows what’s next for Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis.
‘Made In The AM’ is out now via Sony Music Entertainment.