The quintet grows from fresh-faced, boys-next-door to tattooed, bearded 20-year-old lads in merely three years. Too fast a transformation? I mean, if they sport such change just to show their mature/manly side, well, they don’t have to. Especially when they’re still around 20 — is live while we’re young a bygone era? It’s a matter of preference though; for me, it doesn’t have to be sleek, sharply-dressed and whatnot, clean-cut is all i’m asking for.
With all these exterior changes, the overall sound of Midnight Memories isn’t a far departure from One Direction’s previous oeuvres — better than Up All Night, though not as catchy as Take Me Home. Which is too bad since i love the latter to bits, and at least half dozen tracks of which are still on my current favorites playlist (time to make rooms for new ones and kick several others out?) — their songs hold up pretty well throughout the months. How about the group’s third release?
Three albums in three years (since debut) is pretty impressive and productive, isn’t it? (Gotta make the best of the moment, yes?) Not so much of creativity since the songs weren’t composed or produced by them, although they were allegedly more involved in the making, from choosing the materials to helping co-write the lyrics. Some are eek’d by some of the lines, yet it’s something i won’t discuss; i pay more attention to melody and how i like it than anything else.
After looping the deluxe edition frequent enough, i dare say it contains skippable but no horrible track. This also means there aren’t many standouts, or lack thereof. The songs sound alike and somewhat derivative to the point that i can’t discern which is which before it hits the chorus.
Three singles were released ahead of Midnight Memories, and while I enjoy all of them, I look forward to more of One way or another and Best song ever than Story of my life… Which isn’t the case. The lead single, for example, isn’t as jolly as it sounds — the vocals, that is. So if you’re digging the jaunty Live while we’re young or Kiss you, there’s only a few corresponding tunes here: Diana, Happily, and Does he know?.
If you’re more into unplugged or heartfelt ballads, Story of my life*, You & I (love the falsetto toward the end!), and Half a heart got you covered. If you’re after songs with pounding drum beat and gruff bass riff, basically 1D’s rocker tunes… well, majority of the unmentioned tracks fits into this category, although Midnight memories, Little white lies, and Better than words are the groovier selections.
I would say there’s something for everyone, of course given that you appreciate 1D’s music or at least ‘open-minded’ enough to give theirs an ear or two. Despite the group’s average age, the record offers mature(r) tone thanks to arrangement and heavier rock elements. The title track (which also makes use of the prominent stomp-stomp-clap beat), Little black dress, Something great, and Alive feature retro sound — from the ’80s, it seems.
So, we’ve come down to Don’t forget where you belong with its grounded lyrics; Right now which reminds me of Coldplay (sweeping melody and falsetto-y chorus) and like Better than words features wolf-ish howl “Awooooo~”; Through the dark with its rousing strumming and folk-dance-esque beat; and Why don’t we go there, the album’s tightest and most upbeat track. Oh, and not to forget Strong which like almost any other song in the album is guitar/bass/drum-driven and progresses from croon verses into big, soaring, amplified chorus.
All in all, Midnight Memories is another solid album from the quintet whose vocals come off strained or thin at some parts yet ably carry pop-rock tunes, placing their feet firmer on that genre. I have no problem at all with the said direction, if it’s indeed the case.
I hope they will stick together long enough though…
*) Embedding the MV of Story of my life here because it is beautifully shot, full of hearts, and every bit sentimental.