It’s safe to say I was pretty darn stoked when I found out I would be able to hear One Direction‘s new album Made in the A.M. two weeks before most people. That wasn’t an opportunity you had to ask me twice about. Now, I realize some of you may see this review and go “Pshh, she’s biased.” Well, let’s be honest I know I am, but I also know that not many other people can give you as enthusiastic of a review that might convince you to give One Direction’s latest album a chance.
Leading up to the start they played the music videos for “What Makes You Beautiful”, “Live While We’re Young”, “Kiss You”, and “Best Song Ever” for a dose of cold nostalgia. It made me miss Zayn. It also made me realize yet again I’ve been in this fandom hardcore for almost five years. All I could think about were the memories I’ve made over the years. Bittersweet is an understatement.
Made in the A.M. is One Direction’s most cohesive album to date. (It’s also their most gender neutral album to date – WIN.) I’d say the vibe is very chill. It’s very obvious that they wrote this album with the intention of not touring stadiums. There’s no booming anthemic songs that made the majority of tracks before. Each album has gotten a bit more mature sounding, but Made in the A.M. takes the furthest step away from the boy band stigma yet. I will be having EVERYBODY listening to this. (Watch out Christmas 2015 stocking stuffers!) This move makes sense as this could easily be a career defining album for One Direction. I know there’s rumors swirling that 2016 is the year the band breaks up, but all signs point to it being the full circle adult rebrand post Zayn leaving instead. It didn’t feel like we were missing anything without Malik either, but seeing something completely new.
Hey Angel – Sets the tone of the album, much like “Clouds” did for Four. It’s very simplistic, but there’s a 90s quality to it. A grunge undertone almost. It wasn’t what I expected it to be at all. A very upbeat song and not super emotional like I had pictured.
Drag Me Down – The first single off the album, it was confident and self assured. A very good choice as a lead-off single after the massive struggles they faces in 2015. I still enjoy it. For my full review see my prior Tune Up post.
Perfect – Overly auto tuned to the point you can hardly tell the boys’ voices apart. While I do still get jamming, it’s one of my least favorite songs on the album. Why was it a single when there was songs with so much more potential? Definitely the most in your face pop song through all thirteen tracks. All I gotta say is rendezvous.
Infinity – A good, but not great ballad. I want to rave it up when the beat drops though.
End of the Day – Starts off with melodic verses until the drums kick in and start the chorus off with a boom. It’s those sections that really get you. A mixture of r & b meets reggae it’s ultra smooth.
If I Could Fly – OH MY GOD. RIGHT IN THE FEELS. Hands down this was my favorite song. I think I have seen online this is overwhelmingly the most popular song. While sitting and listening there was hushed silence until you heard a mass intake of sharp breath and people crying. (I will not confirm or deny if I was a part of that.) There’s so many emotions that went straight to the heart in this piano backed ballad. It didn’t help that they knew exactly what they were doing when they paired it with a young Harry and Louis centric video on screen. The lyrics are beautifully heartbreaking too with a very fierce vulnerability that is present. Harry hits some wonderful high notes too. PLEASE LET THIS BE A SINGLE.
Long Way Down – Another very 90s sounding tune, the influence of Oasis and Robbie Williams are evident. The lyrics hint about having it all and walking away and while the more PC answer is about the band taking a hiatus, I think there’s hints about Zayn’s departure. While the song stays in the mid-tempo range there’s a mimicking of the lyrics as they rise and fall before closing out the song.
Never Enough – Recorded with local Chicago session musicians this is heavy on the blues. Backed by trombones, trumpets, and saxophones its a foot stomper. Very upbeat and the vocal calls are fun to yell out as they occur. A wonderful song to see live I bet, I can only imagine how the crowd would get into it.
Olivia – Turning a name into “I love you” with a simple play on words as the band stresses it’s not about a girl, but can be about a number of things. The song has the most throwback classic rock vibes, which should come as no surprise due to it’s string section being recorded at Abbey Road. There’s a very magical quality to the melody, however a line about imagination made me think of Willy Wonka. You know what I’m talking about.
What A Feeling – A very mature song that reminded me of my favorite Fleetwood Mac song “Dreams.” I could picture this slower song being perfect in the winter with light funk beats. Wrap me up in the boys layered voices and I’d be set all season.
Love You Goodbye – All about breaking up, or should I say the break-up sex. Somehow it’s still beautiful. The clincher? Louis hits a high note on the bridge that will make you clutch your chest.
I Want to Write You A Song – There’s that nautical theme again. Not that I’m complaining. A very simple song that’s gravelly, yet sweet. I can picture a lazy Sunday morning in spring, slowly waking up as it rains outside while sipping a cup of tea. It radiates that calm and serene vibe due to the light strings being plucked and layered with harmonies.
History – A basic, easy to play 4-chord has never sounded so good. Twangy meets sing-a-long, it gets everyone feeling it easily.
Temporary Fix – Niall you dirty minx! When the boys reflected on what the album was missing, Niall declared a true rock song. Mix a little bit of sex and grit and what do you get but his answer to that problem. Between Harry’s rougher at the edges voice and slashing guitars it oozes that appeal. My favorite thing I’ve seen about the song is this meme though: Netflix and temporary fix. Oh yeah.
Walking In the Wind – Harry commented the track was heavily influence by Paul Simon’s Graceland album, which is a heavy feat to set for yourself. It doesn’t fall short. Conversational yet smooth, it’s very melodic and easy on the ears. I definitely picked up on Calypso vibes as well.
Wolves – There doesn’t seem to be much to the song as it starts out slow, but out of nowhere it intensifies. The signature sound is when the boys come together collectively for the high notes, emulating an almost wolf like howl in an oooh.
A.M. – If you thought “Act My Age” was going to be my one day middle age, remember the days jam, you hadn’t heard this song yet. Pretend the party continued until the sun rose and you’re reflecting on all the good times. A tribute of sorts. Everyone lost it at the lyric “swimming around glasses and talking out our asses” and I cannot confirm if me and my One Direction partner in crime have already dedicated a drinking night where we can rowdily sing this song.
At the end the boys asked us to share what we thought, so how could I not? I love the album, which was to be expected, but I may even love it more than I was anticipating. Based on the one listen, I have a strong feeling with a bit of non-stop binging Made in the A.M. might surpass Four as my favorite. With the proper promo, this album could do big things.
Made in the A.M. is out next Friday November 13th. Everyone should buy themselves a copy. I’m just saying people would be surprised if they could look past their prior judgement. Plus, if for anything else, let’s beat Justin Bieber okay? 😉
Are you excited for Made in the A.M.?
Until next time,