Friday, 13 November 2015

Made in the A.M. - One Direction

Before you read this review, you should know my love and respect for these boys knows no bounds. That's mostly because I cannot believe what lovely people and grounded individuals they all still are - I could probably write an essay about this topic alone, but I digress. We haven't got all day, right? This is going to be a long one anyways.

Yes, their first two records (Up All Night and Take Me Home) were exactly what you'd expect from a boyband - this doesn't mean that they're bad records, because they're not, it's just not the music I usually enjoy. (You will never catch me not dramatically lip-syncing to Tell Me A Lie however, what a tune!) Then Midnight Memories rolled around and they started to do some songwriting themselves, and man did that change their sound. Between that album and last year's FOUR, I could never make up my mind which one I liked more. I still can't, so I won't. The thing is, Made in the A.M. might have just taken the crown anyways ...


Made in the A.M. - Track by Track 

1. Hey Angel
Harry has compared this song to FOUR's Clouds, and I suppose I get where he's coming from - though I think that Clouds is a tad more 'epic' than this one. Hey Angel is structured pretty simply, but that's ultimately what makes it a good opener. It's easy to listen to, it's a bit mellow and dreamy, and what more do you need than Harry Styles crooning "Hey Angel ..." into your ear? Right, nothing.

Oh I wish I could be more like you ... Do you wish you could be more like me?

2. Drag Me Down
The first single that dropped at the end of August. I was at a hostel in London with my best friends, and when we woke up in the morning the song was just there. To listen to this song for the first time definitely gave me an adrenaline rush - it. is. such. a. tune. This was also the first time that I thought to myself "Oh wow, they're really changed up their style and it's awesome!" Also, the way Harry is riffing towards the end of the song gives me chills every damn time.

I've got fire for a heart, I'm not scared of the dark ... 

3. Perfect
Funny story: While this (awesome) song is marketed as an answer to Taylor Swift's Style (oh please ...), I think it's actually throwing major shade at the industry and the way the boys have been marketed. It's literally a song about being trapped in hotels and being in fake relationships - take from that what you will. One more thing: While the song is great, the stripped version from the Perfect EP is much better; less autotune, more of the boys' beautiful voices.

And if you like midnight driving with the windows down ...

4. Infinity
Infinity was also released earlier as a pre-order goodie. It's an epic ballad that the boys are obviously proud of - to me, it's a pretty song but nothing outstanding. A bit too generic, even - especially compared to the other songs on the record. If it were up to me, I would have scrapped Infinity and put Home (which can be found on the Perfect EP) on the album instead. A girl can dream ...

How many nights does it take to count the stars?

5. End of the Day
Louis says that the hook of this song is "really simple, but it just sticks in your head" and I couldn't agree more. End of the Day is really interesting because the verses and the chorus are so different, but somehow it still makes up an organic whole. I have lots of love for this song, and I can definitely see where critics get their early Beatles comparison from. All of the boys' vocals are A+ in this one.

All I know at the end of the day is you want what you want, and you say what you say ...

6. If I Could Fly
I am usually not a super sappy person, nor do I cry easily. But with this song it took exactly 5 seconds for my eyes to go slightly misty - take from that what you will. If I Could Fly is a Harry song, and the fandom has come to agree that it must be the answer to Louis & Liam's Home. It is one of the most beautiful and vulnerable love songs I ever heard, and that piano? Perfect. Can you believe that they'd hide Harry's and Louis' relationship even though it obviously is the most epic lovestory ever? Yeah, me neither. 

For your eyes only, I'll show you my heart - For when you're lonely and forget who you are, I'm missing half of me when we're apart ... 

7. Long Way Down
Such a beautiful, simple, introspective song. It's a song about a failed relationship, whether that's love or friendship, who knows? It's a sad song, and it makes you think, and that's exactly what it should do. This is one of those songs you listen to while you sit on your bed looking out of the window, watching the rain falling down.

We've been in fire, went down in flames - We sailed the ocean, and drowned in the waves - Built a cathedral, but we never prayed ...

8. Never Enough
This is one of Niall's favourites, and I can see why. It's a bit dirty and definitely about having casual sex, and you hear it in their voices - and I love it. It's a totally different sound to what the listener is used to when it comes to One Direction, and that's what makes it interesting. Also, I kind of die every time I hear Louis sing "Lips so good I forget my name" - but maybe that's just me. 

Wanna drive in the night till the end of the earth and go over the edge ... 



9. Olivia
When I first heard there would be a song called Olivia, I just hoped it wouldn't be Diana 2.0. (so. fucking. generic.) ... Turns out this song is actually one of my favourites! This song is literally The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper meets Pure Imagination from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it's sooo good. Also, that high note by Louis at the end? Damn son, you levelled up so hard. 

The summertime, the butterflies, all belong to your creation ... 

10. What A Feeling
I love how you can clearly detect what influenced their new sound - because this one screams Fleetwood Mac to me. It has a very similar baseline to Dreams, and it sounds so, so great. What A Feeling is great because it sounds so mature and really shows how far they've come - amazing.

What a feeling to be a king beside you, somehow - I wish I could be there now 

11. Love You Goodbye
Everytime I listen to this song my heart bursts with pride for Louis Tomlinson. Because this is the song he's had the most involvement with, and damn - it's perfect. The song is dominated by the other three boys' voices (and beautifully so), but it's Louis' high note at the end of the bridge that has the potential to raise me from my grave. Definitely one of my favourites!

One more taste of your lips just to bring me back, to the places we've been and the nights we've had ...

12. I Want To Write You A Song
This song is so, so sweet. It's basically the first day of Spring after long and cold Winter, there's no other way I can describe it. This song has everything, Louis' raspy voice in the chorus - I love it when his voice shows these little cracks, it's what adds that bittersweet layer of pain - boat metaphors (where my fellow Larries at?), and the light strumming of a guitar in the background. 

I want to build you a boat, one that's strong as you are free - so anytime you think that your heart is gonna sink you know it won't ...

13. History
History is the song you want to sing along to at the top of your lungs while you're with your best friends. I have such a soft spot for this song because it just hits close to home - I love my squad. At the same time, it's just an anthem for the boys and the relationship they have with each other and their fans, and that's beautiful. It's also a promise that they'll be back after the hiatus - "This is not the end, this is not the end ..." - so the fans can be at ease, and the doubters can take a seat.

You and me got a whole lot of history - We could be the greatest team that the world has ever seen ... 

14. Temporary Fix
Well, if this isn't Niall's answer to Louis' & Liam's No Control from the previous record, I don't know what is. This song gets me pumped, it's such a jam. It's so catchy - it makes me want to jump up and dance. I'm a big fan of No Control, and this song is a truly worthy successor! I love it when One Direction to uptempo songs about sex, they always rock.

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 - you control me, even if it's just tonight ... 

15. Walking in the Wind
Another Harry song, influenced by Paul Simon's Graceland - and I'm feelin' it. I'm a big fan of Simon & Garfunkel and you can definitely see the where Harry comes from. The lyrics of this song are so special and ambiguous and not easy to pin down at times, and that's what I love about it the most. I dig songs that make me think, and this one does it in the best way possible.

You will find me in places that we've never been, for reasons we don't understand, walking in the wind ...

16. Wolves
I'm a bit on the fence about Wolves, because when I heard the title I expected it to be totally different to what it is. Then again, it's different in a great way - it sounds super retro, 50s or 60s, I'm thinking Jersey Boys, but maybe that's just me. It's arguably the most hetero song on the album - still gender neutral though. Gotta love that about One Direction. ;)

In the middle of the night when the wolves come out, they head straight for your heart like a bullet in the dark ...

17. A.M.
Finally, the song that inspired the album title and another one of my favourites. Niall describes it as a simple song, 4 chords, something "anyone could play". It captures the feeling of being a bit too drunk and staying up all night with your best friends and just talking and having a good time. Definitely a situation that is familiar to most, it certainly is to me. Kudos to the boys for including one of the most epic lines ever into this song: "We're just swimming around in our glasses, talking out of our asses ..."

Won't you stay till the A.M.? All my favourite conversations always made int he A.M., 'cause we don't know what we're saying ...


Overall ... 


Some fans were a bit worried that this last album before the big hiatus would be just a "contract fulfiller" and nothing special, and I'm so glad that the boys proved them wrong. Made in the A.M. shows how One Direction have redefined the term boyband - this is not a collective of young men singing songs written by other people while dancing to a 90's choreography on stage. They're four artists who all bring something different to the table, and once it's combined the outcome is magic. I love how they collaborate with other songwriters and are able to create a variety of songs that creates an organic record at the end. 

There is this tumblr post along the lines of "I'm not sure if One Direction are bending their music to fit my taste or if it's the other way round" - considering all the retro influences and the matured songwriting and the top-notch vocals, Made in the A.M. is a record that fits in really well with a lot of the other stuff I enjoy listening to. I really think this is the record that features a lot of songs that will surprise people - those who still think that it's 2010 and everything One Direction do is bubblegum pop. This record could be a game changer for them, and I hope it is.

That being said, Made in the A.M. gets a straight A from me. When all the promo is done, I hope the boys enjoy their break - god knows they deserve to be left in peace for a while. And to be freed from their imcompetent management team. But that's a different story ...

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...