Edgier sound for One Direction | Inquirer Entertainment

Edgier sound for One Direction

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 09:09 PM December 06, 2013

NEW DIRECTION. Sturdy pipes and talent search-honed musicality in third No. 1 album.

It feels like it’s been ages since guest judge Nicole Scherzinger came up with the wild idea of forming a boy band out of some of “The X Factor UK’s” male solo contenders, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik—who, as a group called One Direction, ended up placing third in the finals of the popular talent search in 2010.

Fast-forward three years later: The boys are now global superstars, and Harry has just become Taylor Swift’s latest ex—and, reportedly, next object of musical inspiration (and derision)!


Musically, however, they’re taking another step in the right direction: “Midnight Memories,” the pop quintet’s third album, debuts on top of the Billboard 200 this week—making 1D the first group since The Monkees (in the late ’60s) to reach No. 1 with its first three albums!


Pop-rock coating

The repertoire’s pop-rock coating—from the relentlessly catchy carrier track, “Best Song Ever,” and the rousing arena dazzler, “Midnight Memories,” to the grungy number, “Little Black Dress”—makes the boys seem older, edgier and more in-charge (they cowrote a good number of the tracks).

You’ll get a kick out of spotting “Diana’s” melodic parallels to The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close To Me,” the subtle harmonies of “Story of My Life,” and Zayn’s sublime high notes in “Right Now” and “You & I.”

Unlike many young acts these days, One Direction is in no hurry to sound more mature than they are. For the most part, the lyrics are alternately simple, insubstantial, straightforward or arbitrary—but, there are tunes (“Half A Heart”) that will make you sit up and go hmm!

But, the boys aren’t ready to alienate their young fans—so, part of their hefty lineup includes tunes with a tweener-hooking sensibility.

They’re served well by their sturdy pipes and talent-search-honed musicality: It’s hard to resist the accessible rock sheen of “Better Than Words,” the folk-pop smolder of “Through The Dark” and “Happily,” and the thematically wistful “Something Great”—then, judge for yourself if it was indeed written by Harry for Taylor Swift!

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TAGS: Midnight Memories, Music, One Direction, The X Factor UK

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