Gather round, children. Grab a chair, get comfortable. I'm going to talk about One Direction's new album, Midnight Memories
, officially out today.
First, can I just say, the boys co-wrote almost the entire thing? I am full to bursting with all the proud mother feels.
The album: Is pretty damn good. It has a much more contemporary, adult sound, alternately indie pop/rock and '80s-influenced rock. There are a few missteps that run a little too saccharine or boisterous for my tastes (but as I came out of the womb fully formed as a crotchety old woman, I am heavily biased against any song about being young and doing whatever the hell you want, because I always feel like those things should come with a caveat of as long as you don't hurt, disrespect or otherwise inconvenience someone else in the process
. Yeah, that would make an excellent pop song; somebody get on it), but overall, it's a pretty brilliant showcase for what they're capable of: solid songwriting, rich harmonies, emotional gravity. Story of My Life
remains the best track I've ever heard from them, but I've expounded on that one endlessly, so here are three of my other favourites from the album:Happily
. Co-written by Harry, this (or perhaps Through the Dark
) should have been their third single instead of the lacklustre, cloying Diana
. It starts off with a quick, folksy vibe and builds to a wonderfully, rousingly anthemic chorus, the kind that makes you want to stomp your feet to the beat and sing at the top of your lungs with your friends in the car with the top down and every other cliche of joyous abandon. Something Great
. Also co-written by Harry (I sense a theme forming*). This one's almost purely visceral for me. I have a hard time articulating what it is about this song that just gets
me. The first time I heard it, it made my insides twist hopeful and melancholy at the same time, and any song that can elicit that kind of reaction gets a thumbs up from me. Half a Heart
. Sometimes songs can make me fall in love with or loathe their entirety because of a single line, and Half a Heart
happily lands smack in the former camp. It's this: Being here without you is like I'm waking up to only half a blue sky, kinda there but not quite
, which perfectly encapsulates the feeling of missing someone when you're all cried out, and all that's left is so dulled that, just like you, nothing else in the world seems whole. *And if you enjoyed the songs Harry wrote, you might also like his Don't Let Me Go, which leaked as a demo some months back, but didn't make the album for reasons that elude me.