One Direction acts their age
MOVE reviews “Four”
One Direction is back with a brand-new album, and it’s worth a listen. “Four” makes it clear that the British-Irish boyband has come a long way since their “X Factor” days. Gone are the sounds of fluffy, bubblegum pop songs. This time around, the band shows the range and depth of its vocal and songwriting abilities.
The boys played a major role in the songwriting process of the latest album, specifically Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne, who are both credited on nine out of the deluxe album’s sixteen songs. Both in long-term relationships, Tomlinson and Payne contribute emotional, heartfelt lyrics to the album, making it the band’s most sincere yet. However, One Direction certainly doesn’t shy away from more risqué themes. The band seems very deliberate about their word choice, showing that they, along with their fanbase, have matured.
When it comes to energy, “Four” doesn’t hold back. The songs are laden with heavy guitar and powerful, soul-shaking vocals. “Clouds,” one of the standouts of the album, has a chorus so mighty it makes you want to shout it from the rooftops. Numerous other songs have the same ‘80s anthem-inspired tone, including “Steal My Girl,” which features a piano intro similar to Journey’s “Faithfully.”
Though most of the album follows the hard rock sound, “Four” builds on the acoustic tone of their previous album “Midnight Memories” with songs like “Fool’s Gold” and “18,” the latter of which was written by Ed Sheeran and Passenger.
The only major disappointment of the album is the song “Change Your Ticket.” Like most One Direction songs, it’s undeniable catchy, but the guitar melody is almost identical to “Girls” by The 1975. The song is only available on the deluxe version, but the similarity to “Girls” is so blatantly obvious that it is surprising they released the song at all. Matty Healy, the lead singer of The 1975, even admitted that he felt ripped off by One Direction with the song.
“Four” is by far One Direction’s most mature album to date. The band’s original bubblegum pop has been replaced with a mix of forceful, energetic rock and indie-folk. Although their sound still needs to be honed, the lyrics are deeper and their vocals are more confident than ever before. The boys really are all grown up.
MOVE gives “Four” 4 out of 5 stars.