It’s been a rough year for the boys with heartthrob, Zayn Malik, quitting, leaving Directioners all over the world shocked and saddened, with some hardened fans even holding memorials at their DIY shrines for the poor lad. As well as this, One Direction announced that Made in the AM would be their final record before a long and deserved break from the limelight.
All eyes were on the new quartet as they attempted to find their feet again after a pillar of the group collapsed. If anyone could do it, our superstar sweethearts could
All eyes were on the new quartet as they attempted to find their feet again after a pillar of the group collapsed. If anyone could do it, our overnight superstar sweethearts could, and thus we find ourselves at the new line-ups first single off the album, ‘Drag Me Down’. Sound wise, it’s a lot moodier and punchier than previous albums with the tone setting up the shop of the album. One Direction have never sounded more grown up. “I’ve got fire for a heart” punches as the first line showing a reignited passion for their jobs; this isn’t a group who want to fizzle out because their Robbie left, à la Take That. This is a band who want to fight for their jobs and prove that they can cope alright without Zayn; he can’t drag them down, if you will.
With Zayn gone, the band are allowed a greater share of the workload and Made in the AM sees Niall Horan stepping forward as an unexpected front man on some of the songs. ‘Infinity’ showcases Niall’s soft and gentle tone which matches neatly with Harry Styles’s strong and husky voice. Whilst the song isn’t amazing from the off, it becomes memorable as instead of the classic "boyband-key-change" for the final chorus, ‘Infinity’ comes out all guns blazing with guitars and voices alike screaming.
If Made in the AM has the air of the break-up album about it, then the Adele-esque, ‘If I Could Fly’ becomes the crowning headpiece. The song is stripped back to simple vocals, a theme that is developed thought the album, especially seen in ‘I Want to Write You a Song’. Everyone gets a chance to shine in the ode to lost love and convincingly demonstrates just how well the boys can actually sing. ‘If I Could Fly’ is honest and simple; a true ballad to sing in the shower, if singing break-up songs in the shower is your thing.
You can't blame them for taking risks when they're going on a break
The album is by no means perfect however. ‘Hey Angel’ would have maybe sounded better on a previous album, along with ‘Temporary Fix’, which both seem to clash with the new, stripped back sound of the band. ‘Never Enough’ sounded a little bit like a chant, and not in a good way. Whilst yes, Made in the AM is a risk-taking album, I’m not sure that a melody of clicks and grunts quite fits on the same album that the beautiful ‘If I Could Fly’ appears on.
Made in the AM shows signs of beauty, reminding us just what made One Direction so popular in the first place. You can’t blame them for taking risks when they’re going on a break; the album sounds like they've had fun with it. So good job boys. Now go and put your feet up and have a cup of tea, you deserve it.