The Progression of 1D to Midnight Memories

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Hello my field daisies!

This week One Direction released their third album, Midnight Memories, and like they promised, it is indeed a more mature sounding album. Gone are the synthesizers and teen pop melodies, replaced with a more rock and indie feel. I think this change was inevitable. I mean their concerts always had a live, rock driven band, and besides it was getting weird for guys with arm sleeve and chest tattoos to be singing happy-go-lucky pop tunes. From Liam’s beat boxing to Harry’s cat call yelps, to Niall’s awesome guitar riffs, the album shows more innovation and experimentation than their past two albums.

But that is not to say that their first two albums were bad. I liked Up All Night a lot. I remember when it wasn’t available in the U.S, so I had to illegally download it from some sketchy website. I listened to the album nonstop for months, and watched all of their live performances, auditions, interviews and stair video diaries thanks to the power of YouTube. I remember the Bring 1D to US campaign (super bummed that Dallas and not Atlanta won), and the excitement over the fact that they were opening for Big Time Rush (which is ironic because of how big 1D became).

Here is One Direction singing Up All Night at a baseball field in Dallas. Look how young they look, and Harry’s indiscreet hip thrusts at the lyrics ‘going all the way’ (at 0:20 and 1:25)

Oh and just for fun another hilarious montage of the boys hip thrusting. (they sure like that motion)

I felt like each song on Up All Night was beautifully written, with clever lyrics and a unique sound to each song. But I also think it was strictly constrained because the boys pretty much sang in the same order, with Liam leading, Harry and Zayn in the middle, and Louis and Niall only having minor one line solos usually accompanied by one of the other boys. I’m not surprised by this because this was typically the format they sung on the X-Factor. After the major success of Up All Night, the second album, Take Me Home,  mixed up the order in which the boys sang and gave Louis and Niall more predominant parts that were actually solos. I am really glad they did this because I love their voices. Their voices aren’t as strong as Liam, Zayn or Harry’s, but Louis’ high pitched singing is so beautifully emotional it sounds like he is tearing up, and Niall’s Irish twang gives the songs that European quality that the other band mates don’t have. But I wasn’t too obsessed with their second album. It came out kind of quick, and the songs didn’t seem as beautifully crafted.

Midnight Memories sounds like it comes from a whole different ballpark, classic like a little black dress and sure to stand the test of time among the greats like the Beatles and the Beach Boys. There is a bit of controversy over the melodies sounding very similar to other artists (not gonna lie singing ‘Midnight Memories’ feels a lot like singing ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’), but I am not too bothered by the resemblance. Isn’t imitation the highest form of flattery? And you can’t even say all their songs are stolen from other people because I swear the beginning of Half a Heart sounds just like More Than This. Even if the melodies sound vaguely reminiscent, the lyrics and the voices are distinctly a new One Direction. The boys have perfected harmonizing in this new album, testing the boundaries of their vocal ranges and showing the world the beauty of a band with not one but five lead singers. Each of their voices sound so different, yet they melt together  so well. One Direction has this unique sound when they sing a cappella that I absolutely adore.

Here is my breakdown of their new album:

Best Song Ever:

A bold title for the first track especially since the only lyrics they can remember of the ‘best song ever’ is oh oh oh and yeah yeah yeah. But no matter because girls definitely think this song is the best song ever. Take a look at their performance of the song at American Idol, where girls are jumping up and down and hysterically screaming.

I love Liam’s little beat boxing bits. Look at baby Liam beat boxing to ‘All I Want For Christmas!’

Story of My Life: 

The lyrics are baffling. What do they mean?! I don’t even care I still feel the emotion. Harry’s voice in particular sticks out for me. I like the way it sounds live. Look at their X-Factor Performance (start at 0:45)

Diana: 

Man she don’t even know them, and they can feel her crying. And what a heart clencher they want to save her life because it will save theirs… Double whammy. Oh and Justin Bieber approves.

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 3.35.19 PM

Midnight Memories: 

We all knew Niall could play the guitar as shown by baby Niall singing Bieber’s One Time at X-factor bootcamp.

And in Midnight Memories he’s rockin’ out on an electric guitar, with a more mature voice and straight teeth. Midnight Memories is by far the most rock and roll sounding track on the album, and at first I was a little hesitant, but it has really grown on me. Especially after hearing it live on the iHeart album release party:

You and I: 

Black and white, wrong and right, silence and sound, up and down, day and night,  you and I.

The saying ‘opposites attract’ is pretty self evident in this song. I personally don’t believe in the concept. I think soul mates should share common interests, though polar attractions are poetically passionate and a perfect theme for a ballad.

Don’t Forget Where You Belong: 

One Direction has had over 100 concerts and been to numerous countries (New Zealand, Australia, America, Canada, Ireland, England, Germany, France, and Japan to name a few), so it seems natural for them to have a song about living out of suitcases. It kind of reminds me of Back For You from Take Me Home, where they talk about missing their loved ones on tour and how they’ll be coming back to them.

Strong: 

The members of One Direction are definitely not scared of love. Practically all their songs are about confessing their adoration. In this song, the boys are saying the world is kryptonite and you make them Supermen. I mean with a confession like that how can you say no?

Happily: 

This is my favorite song on the album. Mostly because I am an indie kind of girl and this song reminds me of Edward Sharpie and the Magnetic Zeros with the handclaps and the hey shoutings. I know you wanna leave so come on baby be with me so happily? *Swoon* I think Caspar Lee pretty much sums up the feels of this song:

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 4.18.58 PM

Right Now: 

This is the most epic “I miss you” song that I’ve ever heard. Zayn can go into falsetto effortlessly, and he makes this chorus sound so beautifully sad. If boys ever went solo (which is unlikely since in every interview they say they won’t) I would want to hear a Zayn Malik album. I think he could sing some good R&B.

Baby Zayn singing Let Me Love You.

Little Black Dress: 

Who doesn’t like a little black dress? A LBD is simple and classic just like this song. With repetitive lyrics and a heavy electric guitar and steady drum beat, this song reminds me of a Journey song.

Through the Dark: 

One of the more folky songs on the album, Through the Dark is full of constant acoustic guitar strumming, minimal drum beats, and a little tambourine shaking. I like this song because the lyrics remind of me of the wedding vows, “for better or for worse.” It’s comforting to know that someone will be there for your through the dark.

Something Great: 

Something Great uses a little bit of violin, which is a nice surprise and really adds to the ‘something great’ aura, like a little symphony dedicated to a guy wanting a girl to jump out of his imagination just like he pictured it. The ending of this song stuns me. All the instruments die down until it’s just Louis’ voice and and a few stray chords. Perfection.

Little White Lies:

This song cracks me up because all I can think of is a burning room with people screaming and 1D standing in the middle of it singing about some girl’s little white lies. Someone should make a parody of this song; it would be hilarious. This song is on more on the pop side with a little surprise dub step mixed in (kind of like Taylor Swift and her random dub step moment in I Knew You Were Trouble).

Better Than Words: 

This album has this way of cursing without actually saying the word. I guess it’s to keep it G-rated for all their tween fans, or maybe the love really is just better than words, but I want an explicit version. I’m thinking as their tween fans start getting of legal age, 1D is just going to get dirtier.  I mean this album is way more sexual than Harry’s innocent thrusts in Up All Night. Their tween fans are already pretty dirty anyway; have you read some of the fan fiction that’s out there?

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 7.34.58 PM

That breath should be replaced by ‘fuck’ Niall Horan, just saying. It’s definitely implied.

Why Don’t We Go There: 

Where is it you want to go boys? Because it sure sounds like bedroom talk to me. You’re not fooling me with all these skydiving through cold air metaphors. I mean the secret’s out, and it looks like we’re going to be doing it anyway.

Niall’s solo reminds me of Pusher Love Girl by Justin Timberlake. They both wanna get high off of girls.

Does He Know?: 

I feel like the counterpart to this song is Boris by Boy, the song from the girl’s perspective. Her boyfriend is out of town and here is this guy hitting on her, who should get out of town too.

The reality is that cheating is wrong, but the boys sure make it sound alright. It’s amazing how melodies set the emotional tone more than the lyrics. If you don’t think too hard about it, Does he know that I want you so bad? doesn’t seem so criminal.

Alive: 

I love this song. The little upward inflections on some of the lines are so fun. The whole song is a fun little narrative. I like how the chorus about feeling alive goes from the doctor telling the boy to the boy telling the girl. It goes along with the whole live fast die young mantra that it is all the rage these days.

Half a Heart:

Like I said the first few chords of this song reminds me of More Than This, one of the rare songs on their first album when all the boys have a solo. Apart from the chords though, these two songs are radically different.

They are both about heartbreak and the guy missing the girl. But More Than This talks about the girl ending up with the other guy, and Half a Heart is more about two lovers who still miss each other. I think that kind of speaks for the whole album. Overall the boys seem way more confident in this album than their other two. Gone are the songs about girls choosing other guys over 1D, guys with 27 tattoos that they can’t compete with. One Direction seem to know their power over women, and they are singing about it.

That’s it for today! Here is my extensive and slightly long winded review of Midnight Memories.

Love ya’ll and thanks for reading!

Hope you have a daisyish day!

(And if you want to see some more random 1D fan art that I do like the one in the cover photo, check out my tumblr:

1d-aisy.tumblr.com)

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