Saturday, November 14, 2015

One Direction 'Made In The A.M.' (Deluxe Edition) | A Fan's Thoughts

2015 has been a tumultuous year for One Direction and their fans. They lost a band member, gained a pregnancy (the legitimacy of said pregnancy is questionable but that remains to be seen), there were four relationship break-ups, and One Direction announced they would be taking a break in 2016.

Despite all of the drama surrounding the band, they managed to pull together to make a brilliant album, whilst in the middle of their fourth worldwide tour. I was fortunate enough to see them back in February when they were still a five-piece, however like many others who saw them pre-March 25, something felt off and you could tell something wasn't working prior to Zayn's departure.

When their title single from their fifth album 'Drag Me Down' was released I was expecting to feel like something was missing, but instead I was impressed at how the other four boys stepped up to cover a sound that was such an integral part of the band. Let's get on to the review...

Track By Track Review

01 // Hey Angel

This is one of those highly anticipated songs that fans get amped about before the album is released. Similarly to Stockholm Syndrome last year, Harry teased it a lot on Twitter prior to its release and fans had speculated that the song was a sad song about Harry's grandmother. How wrong they were. Hey Angel is a mid-tempo, old school pop-rock song that you might hear in a any high school film from the 1980s-2000s - it would have been great at the end of The Breakfast Club (1985). An interesting choice for the album opener; it would have made a great closing song for the album if they did not have History and A.M. on the record.

Stand out lyric:
Hey Angel
Tell me do you ever cry
When we waste away our lives?

02 // Drag Me Down

Edgier and darker than their usual bubblegum pop singles, 'Drag Me Down' was the perfect first taste of this album. It is an anthem and both One Direction and their fan base needed that after the difficult first half of the year they had endured. Dropping it in the middle of the night was genius as their fan base always has an immediate reaction to anything that happens regarding the boys. I was extremely impressed with this single; Harry in particular carrying the intense high notes towards the end while Louis belts "Nobody, Nobody" over and over is perfect.

Stand out lyric:
I got a river for a soul
And baby you’re a boat
Baby you’re my only reason

03 // Perfect

Co-written by Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles, Perfect is upbeat pop song evocative of previous hit singles, but with a new found maturity heard in its sound. The lyrics are clever in their simplicity, but vague and ominous enough to create discussion among both fans and the media. While media outlets insist the song is a strong reference to Harry's heavily publicised relationship with Taylor Swift back in 2012, fans are divided and somewhat confused about what the song is referencing.

The song is very enjoyable but I find it frustrating that Harry's voice is the only one to be heard during the majority of the song, particularly the chorus. When performing Perfect live, the other boys join in on the chorus which adds complexity and rounds out the song perfectly. It really is a shame it's not the same in the recorded version.

Stand out lyric:
And if you like cameras flashing every time we go out, oh yeah,
And if you’re looking for someone to write your break up songs about,
Baby I’m perfect, baby we’re perfect

04 // Infinity

As we all know, Infinity was released unexpectedly as a teaser for the album. It was an unexpected choice as it's vastly different from Drag Me Down; showing the eclectic inspiration behind the album. Infinity is sad, comforting, and epic, reminding me of Fool's Gold from FOUR.  Like 90% of their other songs, Harry carries the chorus and he's honestly perfect for it. His voice is incredibly strong and reliable as he belts out the lyrics, giving the song an extra 'oomph' it wouldn't have had otherwise. The other three boys sound even more angelic and softer than we're used to hearing from them which is lovely.

Stand out lyric:
How many nights does it take to count the stars?
That's the time it would take to fix my heart

05 // End of the Day

Initially, End of the Day didn't stand out to me but upon further listenings I really fell in love with it. It's different than anything we've heard from One Direction before but doesn't feel out of place. The lyrics are intriguing; they tell almost a disjointed story, out of chronological order. There are some lines in the song that could be in reference to same sex relationships which is great as One Direction have a lot of LGBT fans. Unlike the majority of their songs, the boys each take turns leading the chorus which makes for a nice contrast and adds complexity.

Stand out lyric:
All I know at the end of the day
Is you are what you are
And you say what you say
And you follow your heart
Even though it’ll break sometimes
All I know at the end of the day
Is you love who you love
There ain’t no other way

06 // If I Could Fly

This is the ultimate love song that had girls collectively crying at the first listen parties. Written by Harry Styles, the song gives an insight into his personal life that the public doesn't get to see. The incredibly intimate lyric "For your eyes only" is repeated throughout the song, indicating he has only given his heart to one person. Louis Tomlinson doesn't have a large part in the song, but he really shines and shows his high vocal range which has improved greatly over the years as he gains confidence and control over his voice.

Stand out lyric:
I’ve got scars
Even though they can’t always be seen
I think it’s hard
But even though I don’t feel a thing

07 // Long Way Down

A great follow up track to If I Could Fly. Although the songs are very different thematically, they're both quite slow and fit nicely together. The use of music in the song is very clever; the music swells when the lyrics take off, and then falls as they come back down. The music and lyrics harmoniously work together to take the listener on a journey. Almost like when you take off on an airplane where you lose your stomach for a little bit and then it comes back and you feel right again. It's quite a somber song, one you would listen to after going out to a club or party, not before. 

Stand out lyric:
Point of no return and now it's just too late to turn around
I try to forgive you, but I'm struggling cause I don't know how
We built it up so high and now I'm falling
It's a long way down from here, such a long way down from here

08 // Never Enough

Apparently Never Enough is Niall's favourite song on the album, and I can see it being a fan favourite, but it isn't one of mine. It does have some elements that we've never heard in One Direction songs before - such as trumpets and grunting, but the song may be better suited to One Direction's third album, Midnight Memories. I can see this song growing on me as time goes by but at the moment it's not a stand out.

Stand out lyric:
I don't need my love
(You can take it, you can take it)
I don't need my heart
(You can break it, you can break it)

09 // Olivia 

Olivia feels old school - like the first Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory movie from the 1970s or Don't Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John.
 Louis Tomlinson is the only band member to not have his own verse to sing in the song, but he didn't need to because his vocals shine in the last 40 seconds of the song as he screams "don't let me go" before you quietly hear someone exclaim "no way" and applaud his high notes. Olivia is a song that will divide people - either you will love it or hate it.

Stand out lyric:
We go, love along
Live in my imagination
Summertime, butterflies
All belong to your creation
I love you, it's all I do
I love you

10 // What a Feeling

What A Feeling is a Fleetwood Mac inspired tune with wonderful harmonies. You would listen to this song on a rainy day while looking out the window wistfully. The lyrics are complex and the sound is something I wasn't expecting to hear from One Direction. I think it's an interesting direction to go in and I look forward to hearing more songs like this in the future. What A Feeling will never age - it's a classic.

Stand out lyric:
Whatever chains are holding you back
Holding you back
Don't let 'em tie you down

11 // Love You Goodbye

Written by Louis Tomlinson, this is his favourite song on the album. Fans have speculated that this song is about his friendship with Zayn Malik which would make sense if you only heard the opening verse of the song, although there is a sexual nature to the song that conflicts with that theory.

There have been rumours that Love You Goodbye is going to be the third single from the album. I hope that isn't the case as it's an odd and unexpected choice. Something I've found strange about One Direction for the last few years (among many other things) is their single choices. Their singles would be more successful if they were voted for by fans.

Stand out lyric:
I know there’s nothing that I can do to change it
But is it something that could be negotiated
My heart’s already breaking
Baby, go on twist the knife

12 // I Want to Write You a Song

This is the classic love ballad for this album. Every album has one and needs one but this one differs from others because of its purity. There are beautiful harmonies that bring the song together and the lyrics are sweet and innocent, almost childlike. In the background you can very subtly hear someone writing with pen and paper which brings the song together.

Stand out lyric:
I want to build you a boat
One as strong as you are free
So anytime you think that your heart is gonna sink
You know it won’t
I want to build you a boat

13 // History

History is a badass love letter to the fans, reassuring them that "this is not the end". It does subtly reference Zayn Malik's departure with these lyrics: Keep getting the feeling / That you wanna leave this all behind / Thought we were going strong / I thought we were holding on. I don't have a lot to say about this song, but I love it and it is one of my favourites.

Stand out lyric:
You and me
Got a whole lot of history
We could be the greatest team
That the world has ever seen
You and me
Got a whole lot of history
So don’t let it go
We could make some more
We could live forever

14 // Temporary Fix

When I saw the title of this song I thought it would be a sad, slow ballad about not being enough for someone and feeling used. I was pleasantly surprised when I listened and it turned out to be an upbeat, fun, catchy song about hooking up with someone you barely know - not dissimilar to No Control from their previous album. Temporary Fix is similar but superior to Never Enough, also written by Niall Horan.

Stand out lyric:
All you need to know is
You can call me when you’re lonely
When you can’t sleep
I’ll be your temporary fix

15 // Walking in the Wind

I have to be honest, I didn't take notice of this song until I began writing my review. It's actually really enjoyable and pleasant to listen to. Walking in the Wind is one of the many songs on the album that deals with the theme of goodbyes and it does so beautifully. Louis Tomlinson's verse in particular is quite haunting and sentimental.

Stand out lyric:
Yesterday I went out to celebrate the birthday of a friend
But as we raised our glasses up to make a toast I realised you were missing
We had some good times, didn't we?
We wore our hearts out on our sleeve
Goodbyes are bittersweet
But it's not the end I'll see your face again

16 // Wolves

One of my favourite songs from the album. Wolves is super catchy and I love anything that you can clap along to. I do love the way they recreate wolf-like howls with both their voices and the way the music almost has a hunting sound to it. There's honestly not much else to say about this one, people will either love it or hate it but it's one that I've had on repeat since the low-quality leaked version of the song appeared online. 

Stand out lyric:
I wish it wasn't true
But the whole world's trying to get me into you
And my heart keeps fighting in this battle of fools
Gotta make it through, gotta make it through

17 // A.M.

This is another one of those songs that I love because it has a feeling of being drunk, sitting around a bar and reminiscing about your favourite memory making moments. A.M. is a great closing song to the album as sonically it feels like it continues long after the track is over. It leaves you wanting more and feeling like you're going to get it. I would be very surprised if this was the last track we ever heard from One Direction. 
Stand out lyric:
Feels like this could be forever tonight
Break these clouds, forget about time
There could be a World War 3 going on outside

Bonus // Home (from the 'Perfect' EP)

Home is a beautiful love song written by Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne - these two do make quite the writing pair. Home has quickly become a fan favourite as it gave fans the first taste of Harry's lovely falsetto and the lyrics resonated. There is quite a juxtaposition between the music and the lyrics as with most One Direction songs. The strong drums on the track make Home quite an anthem.

Stand out Lyric:
I was stumbling, looking in the dark
With an empty heart
But you say you feel the same
Could we ever be enough?
Baby we could be enough


Overall, the album flows beautifully and explores important and relatable themes such as goodbyes and sentiments. As the boys always say, the music has grown up with them and you can truly tell when you listen to their albums over the last five years that it's true. Sometimes a song from their debut album Up All Night will come on shuffle and it sounds like a different band. The music they are making now feels real, relatable and relevant for all those people in their late teens-early twenties, and not so much so for the 8-16 age group that their label used to target.

I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on the album if you've heard it. If you're not a One Direction fan based on their previous singles and hits, I think you should give this a listen anyway as their sound has matured over the years and has something for everyone to enjoy. Hearing them still perform What Makes You Beautiful is strange because it's not who they are anymore and have much more mature, complex songs they have written themselves.

Purchase Made in the A.M. on iTunes or stream on Spotify.

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