The boys are back in town! Yep, the long awaited – well, since last November anyway – new album by One Direction is finally within reach and we’re already having a dance party about it in the MP! office. After trying hair metal-esque rock riffs on for size on last year’s ‘Midnight Memories’, the lads have returned with ‘Four’ – another collection of stadium filling pop rock anthems to keep us going until next year. But are they any good? Pull up a chair, gentle readers, as we guide you through the whole album, track by track…
Steal My Girl
The boys kick things off with the undeniable ear worm and first official single ‘Steal My Girl’. The stadium sized anthem sounds instantly familiar with those rollicking, reverb-soaked pianos and infectious ‘NAAAA NAAAA NAAAA NAAAA’ bits which are definitely high up in the Top 5 1D ‘na na’ hooks of all time. The accompanying video also remains an exercise in bonkers amazing-ness.
Ready To Run
This track is basically ‘Story Of My Life’ Part 2, but that’s no bad thing at all. It takes all the best bits of that song and mixes it with some pounding drums and a Mumford & Son’s style build up to the chorus. There’s also a hint of Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ in the verses, which only adds to the overwhelming feeling of wanting to break free and escape. In fact we’d love to see this as part an inspirational training montage in a film. *calls the producers of the ‘Step Up’ movies*
Where Do Broken Hearts Go
Oh my, this is a song and a half right here. With its throbbing, 80s inspired pop rock guitars and utterly euphoric chorus, this is the perfect soundtrack to cruising down the highway with your friends, the wind in your hair and your cares far behind you. Y’know, if we actually had a car. And the ability to drive. LOOK, YOU GET THE IDEA.
One the earliest tracks mooted for the album, and endlessly teased by the evil Simon Cowell, ’18’ is Ed Sheeran’s sequel to 2012’s ‘Little Things, which he also penned for the lads. Its got that unmistakeable Sheeran guitar strumming throughout, but the band make Ed’s lyrics their own, declaring “I have loved you since we were 18 / Long before we both thought the same thing” and meaning every word. Is it too much to imagine they might sing these words to us one day? IS IT?!
If you’ve ever dreamt of all five members of 1D falling at your feet and worshipping the very ground you walk on, then this is the song for you. “Am I the only, only believer?” the guys cheekily ask over sprightly handclaps and bouncy beats. If ever there was an official song for the ‘praise hands emoji’, then this is it.
We’re into our first Proper Ballad on the track listing and its a weepy one, led by Zayn’s muscular pipes and boasting some epically Sad Face lyrics about falling for someone who’s falling for everyone else but you’ll take them anyway cos its better than being alone. Excuse us while we stare plaintively out of the window, listening to this and bawling our eyes out. *sob*
Recently announced as the second single to be taken from the album, ‘Night Changes’ is a gorgeous mid tempo number with some of the most romantic and bittersweet lyrics the boys have ever written. “Does it ever drive you crazy / Just how fast the night changes / Everything that you’ve ever dreamed of /Disappearing when you wake up”. *melts* Oh, and theres an incredible key change which immediately makes us want grab some stools and dig our old Westlife albums.
One of the better up tempo tracks on offer, ‘No Control’ will get you bopping away in no time with fizzy guitars and a chorus filled with the most glorious ‘WOOOAAAHS’ we’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. SINGLE CONTENDER ALERT.
Released as a free download in September (much to our excitement!), ‘Fireproof’ remains one of 1D’s most mature songs to date and the boys have never sounded better. Country-esque guitars and those impeccable harmonies combine to make one hell of an ear-gasm. This one still makes us swoon.
This is a real ‘lighters in the air’ moment and we can totally imagine bellowing that chorus alongside thousands of other fans during the next world tour. ‘Where We Are – The Sequel’, anyone?
Ooh er. The boys get a little naughty on this slick, throbbing ode to obsession, and they LIKE it. “Baby look what you’ve done to me / Baby look what you’ve done now / Baby I’ll never leave you if you keep holding me this way”. YES THAT’S FINE BOYS WE’LL DO THAT NO BOTHER.
The boys end on a massive high with ‘Clouds’, building from pulsating synths and punky guitars in the verse before exploding into another sing-a-long chorus that sounds something that would be played at the end of a particularly epic party. And considering this whole album feels like the best bits of a particularly epic party, we can’t think of a more fitting closing track.
We had an inkling this album would be the usual standard of 1D brilliance, but the boys really have upped their game on album number four. The melodies soar, the choruses blare out of your speakers practically begging to be sung along to, and the production is nothing short of perfection. Not only that, but the band have seriously honed their vocal chops in recent months and Louis and Liam get the chance to showcase their impressive songwriting prowess too, leading the writing credits on an incredible six tracks. Talented AND beautiful. But then, were we expecting anything less?
MP! Rating: 5/5