Midnight Memories may have been more upbeat but the rewards were slimmer, it was both faster and slower than Four, boy band uber alles One Directions fourth album in as many years, released yesterday. Four may be the bands best album to date, an hour of non stop bugglegum and guitar and harmonies and hooks with some self awareness round the edges.
The six songs we’ve already heard heralding the way to this have all been very good, opening track “Steal Your Girl” was the first single and it was a goodie, earlier there was the surprise free download “Fireproof” and that was a good one as well. The songs kept dropping and the hooks kept hooking and now it is clear it wasn’t a fluke.
Four is filled to overflowing with love ballads, sad sweet songs, hooks and melodies, like a machine, it rolls right through you in a dizzying sweetness, like a teen girl with too much perfume. It is cloying and a little stomach turning, but it does the job.
Around the halfway mark the album is a little too much, there is nothing wrong with it mind, quite the contrary, but there is too much of it and it is of such consistently high quality you are begging for a miss. “Secrets” is between “Fireproof” and maybe the best song on the album “Stockholm Syndrome” –a wry wink at their girl fans, and “Secrets” is a fine song but it is just more of the same. And too often, you admire these pop tracks without feeling a great deal of affection for them. Part of this is their collaborators, members of Good Charlotte and McFly meaning no credibility pop punkers, and the songs sound like that, not quite lousy but not quite special either. A little on the bland side.
My nephew recently caught 1D on the MTV Europe Music Awards and said they loked like drug addicted pimps and that’s the next question, though barely in their 20s have they outgrown their audience? Has 5 Seconds Of sumemr stole their thunder? How can they grow up and what if they have? What I mean is, will it sell? Will it continue the world domination? It sure should, and if it hits 300K units in the States, consider it a hit. But if it doesn’t, I don’t know how One Direction can improve upon it or turn left or sideways or anything but force Styles to get a haircut.
If It Sells: B+
If It Doesn’t: B-
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