To fairly assess Midnight Memories, you have to understand that this third album was released in a hectic 2 years from the beginning of One Direction’s meteoric success. All 3 snagged top spot on Billboard Top 200 when released, making them the only pop group to achieve this. And in that compressed time, they also completed 2 tours across the globe (except Asia). Which other pop group can claim such a feat?
Too bad there aren’t many significant differences in this record to make their third attempt stand out from its predecessors, though it’s commendable that the English-Irish band managed to write the lyrics of 12 out of the 14 songs on the track list – more than their contribution in their 2 previous albums put together.
What this means is that Midnight Memories still features astonishingly PG-rated material – breaking curfews, puppy love, and the heartbreak that comes with that – basically things we experienced back in high school. We really shouldn’t expect otherwise, since the 5 lads are aged between 19 and 21, and the vast majority of their legion of fans are girls barely in their training bras.
Ironically, despite Harry Styles’ scandals with the industry’s female hotshots (think Kendall Jenner, and supermodel Cara Delevigne), Zayn Maliks penchant for inking ridiculous tattoos and Louis Tomlinson’s habit of getting into spats with everyone, your daughters are safe with One Direction, dear parents.
Though Midnight Memories is disappointingly safe, “Diana” probably is one of the album’s braver tracks, featuring the boys’ efforts in trading up their bubblegum pop for a manlier, more rock-influenced sound. It’s still relatively tame, though, probably something All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth would’ve written during his short stint as Demi Lovato’s supposed date.
While props should be given to Tomlinson and Liam Payne for contributing to the title track, it’s tough appreciating material that doesn’t sound entirely original. The overused classic “stomp-clap-stomp” beat, featured in every band who took a page out of the classic rock era, along with the boys’ attempts at making their voices sound husky and you get a cross between Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and Joan Jetts’ “I Love Rock N Roll”.
The band’s go-to guy, Savan Kotecha makes a re-appearance on this album in “Happily”. The lyrics might prove otherwise, but this song radiates good vibes, just like something you’d associate with impromptu karaoke sessions with your half-drunk friends or family. Be warned, though, that it might be a little awkward to belt out Tomlinson’s cringe-worthy line “he feels my traces in your hair” with your mother around. Traces of er… what exactly, Louis?
The album hits a high note (figuratively and literally) in “Right Now”. OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder takes the wheel on the writing for this number. Coincidentally, this is evidence that it’s possible to produce a pop song about love that isn’t constructed by ridiculously romantic phrases and cheesy sentiments in this day and Add age. that with Malik’s goosebumps-inducing high notes in the chorus, there’s nothing to hate about “Right Now”.
While Midnight Memories may not be a new milestone in their career, it’ll be remembered as a trophy for the band’s efforts at breaking away from the stereotypical short lifespan of a boyband and a reward to their mentor Simon Cowell for his faith in this project.
Artist: One Direction
Album Title: Midnight Memories
Record Label: Colombia, Syco Music, Sony Music
Release Date: Nov 25, 2013
1. Best Song Ever
2. Story Of My Life
4. Midnight Memories
5. You and I
6. Don’t Forget Where You Belong
9. Right Now
10. Little Black Dress
11. Through The Dark
12. Something Great
13. Little White Lies
14. Better Than Words