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One Direction – ‘Midnight Memories’

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An album that chronicles this decade’s biggest boy band at the peak of their creativity

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Boy bands are like shooting stars. They don’t stick around for very long, but they are beautiful to look at.

The most notable boy band of this generation is none other than the United Kingdom’s own, One Direction.

Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik formed One Direction and catapulted to sell-out-stadium status on account of pre-teen friendly songs like, “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Live While We’re Young.” Oh, and the fact that they weren’t half bad to look at probably helped in the merchandising department as well.

After performing to millions of parent-accompanied teenage girls, selling more merchandise than Duck Dynasty ever did at Wal-Mart and achieving unheard of chart success around the globe, the group decided to wrap things up just six years after forming on the hit television show The X Factor.

Now that this decade’s biggest boy band has gone on what seems to be a permanent hiatus, we are left contemplate their impact on music as a whole. And most importantly, debate on which of their five studio records is the best (no, I’m not going to give into the urge to talk about Harry Styles’ and Louis Tomlinson’s forever blossoming bromance).

The third studio album by One Direction is entitled, “Midnight Memories” was released in 2013 and it features what at the time was the most mature sound the band had ever produced. Up until then the band had been synonymous with teen bubble-gum pop music, but this album departed into more mature themes.  

The album opens up with the tracks “Best Song Ever” and “Story of My Life.” You’ve got to give the marketing team for the band an A+, because these two tracks ended up being the biggest hits on the entire record. If you live in a moderately populated area anywhere between Los Angeles, California and Tokyo, Japan, I’m sure you’ve heard these tracks so there is no need to dive into them.

The next two tracks on the album “Diana” and “Midnight Memories” are the weakest on the record. They are solid fun filled songs, but they are about as deep as the average puddle. The next song however features some of the strongest vocal work in One Direction’s entire discography.

“You & I” is the centerpiece of the entire album. It features a mature ballad equipped with sweeping guitars, multiple verses each sung by a different vocalist, and a chorus that will have any person with any kind of relationship experience tearing up.

However, the best aspect of this track is the high note hit by vocalist Zayn Malik near the latter end of the track. It is so high and soaring that when Zayn departed the band in 2015, no other band member could hit the note. In many instances the band instead opted to have the crowd sing the note in an attempt to fill the Zayn sized hole in their live sound.

Other standout tracks from the record include “Strong,” “Right Now,” “Little White Lies” and “Don’t Forget Where You Belong.” All of these tracks showcase increased songwriting ability and solid attempts to bring a more mature sound to commercial radio airwaves.

“Midnight Memories” remains One Direction’s best record. It is more infinity greater than “Up All Night,” it is a more consistent record than “Take Me Home,” it has better singles than “Four” and it showcases the band at their peak, unlike “Made in the A.M.”

If you’re looking for a record that will have you dancing on your chair while simultaneously making you look through old Facebook pictures of you and your ex, look no further. There is something on “Midnight Memories” for everyone.

I had a One Direction poster on my dorm wall my sophomore year of college. I’m not ashamed to love One Direction, and you shouldn’t be either.

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The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
One Direction – ‘Midnight Memories’