We think it’s safe to say that One Direction has pretty much conquered the entire world since starting out on The X Factor back in 2010. The guys – Liam, Zayn, Harry, Niall and Louis – seem to have sparked the same kind of frenzy the Spice Girls enjoyed back in the 90s and their record sales have been pretty impressive too. The boyband has sold over 35 million records worldwide since the release of their debut single What Makes You Beautiful in 2011. Recently One Direction released their third album Midnight Memories which has topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
Fans of One Direction won’t be surprised by much on Midnight Memories. The album straddles the cheeky teen pop they’re known for with the more sensitive and mature moments they experimented with on last album Take Me Home. First two singles Best Day Ever and Story of My Life showcase the sound of the album perfectly and the contrast in the two sounds ripples throughout.
Much of the album was co-written with Graffiti 6’s Jamie Scott, who has written with the group on their previous two albums, and if you know his music then you’ll be able to imagine his soulful tones singing many of these songs. It’s to his credit that One Direction are beginning to mature musically into quite the credible pop act. It’s interesting to note that Louis features a lot in the songwriting credits as does Liam. The other guys in the group have a couple of writing credits to their name.
Story of My Life is quite possibly one of the best songs One Direction have recorded and released and it feels like a natural successor to Little Things which was penned by Ed Sheeran for Take Me Home. It’s the more mature songs like this that standout on the album such as the emotive acoustic-driven You & I and the Ryan Tedder track Right Now. One of the strongest tracks on the album is Strong which is a shimmering mid-tempo gem that should be a highlight when the boys tour next.
The songs that are more aimed at their tween fanbase let the record down a bit. Little Black Dress is a throwaway track as is the mid-tempo Little White Lies which doesn’t really add much to the record if we’re honest. Still the girls who largely make up the group’s fanbase will lap them up no doubt.
The success of Midnight Memories indicates that One Direction fever is as strong as ever and the group should enjoy some of their biggest sales to date. It’s easy to take aim at One Direction and try to criticise them for being a product but they a bloody good one. They’re starting to find their feet musically and whilst they aren’t breaking ground particularly, they can make some great pop tunes. Maybe it’s finally ok to admit you like One Direction if you’re over the age of 16?