One Direction sign off in style with ‘History’ album
LONDON: They have trotted relentlessly around the globe, recorded five albums in as many years and made the awkward transition from youth to manhood in the goldfish bowl of celebrity.
As they finally ride off into the sunset, it’s no wonder One Direction sound exhausted.
A sense of tiredness is most palpable on History, the final track on the boy band’s last album before they take an open-ended break. Co-written by Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, it is a world-weary portrayal of life in their gilded cage.
“Mini-bars, expensive cars, hotel rooms, some new tattoos,” they sing. “Good Champagne and private planes – they don’t mean anything.”
If the sense of ennui is somewhat relieved by an insanely catchy chorus, the underlying message is that the group are probably right to call it a day.
On the evidence of Made In The A. M., they are at least going out on a musical high. The band’s fifth album – and their first since founder member Zayn Malik walked out – builds on the more mature rock influences that were introduced on 2013’s Midnight Memories and last year’s Four to move the foursome even further away from the blazers and choreographed routines that were the hallmarks of boy bands not so long ago.
There are yearning ballads, radio-friendly choruses and a fondness for a hybrid of pop and rock that lies somewhere between Take That and Coldplay.
The quartet, aged between 21 and 23, begin by staking a claim on the man-band terrain of Take That: Hey Angel is an expansive ballad underpinned by a drum loop, and Infinity a smooth love song. End Of The Day, a gently ebbing pop number, embraces the one-size-fitsall emotions of a typical Coldplay track.
Things take a more intriguing twist on the single Perfect, which plays on the band’s transition from squeaky-clean reality TV idols to wannabe bad boys.
Further clues to how a future Styles solo project might sound arrive on If I Could Fly, an Angels-like piano ballad that finds him singing forlornly if impressively: “If I could fly, I’d come right back home to you.”
The boy clearly needs a break, but the bright, unpretentious pop stomp of Olivia, co- written by Harry, suggests the pin-up is not going to take himself too seriously once that solo career gets going.
One Direction address their impending sabbatical on Long Way Down, a country-pop ballad on which they sing of “having it all and walking away”.
Never Enough, co-written by Niall Horan, is all barbershop vocals and clicking fingers, while the close harmonies of What A Feeling sail closer to Crosby, Stills & Nash than they do to Boyzone or Westlife.
Considering their first two albums stuck to a polished, bubblegum script, One Direction’s progress over the final two years of an astonishingly successful career has been remarkable. In the here today, gone tomorrow world of boy bands, it will be a while before we see their like again. – Daily Mail
MEGASTARS: One Direction are taking an open-ended break after a hugely succesful career.