On 17th November, pop sensations One Direction are due to release their latest album, FOUR. It’s a highly anticipated release from both the fans and the media as it is the ultimate test to see how resistant the five piece are in the music industry as there is fierce competition surrounding them – and the test has been passed. The sound of FOUR has been manufactured to fit a stadium crowd with the anthemic choruses and the two different meanings from the songs: the proclaiming of love, or the heartbreak of it – it’s that simple with this album. Quite frankly, FOUR is an exciting new project from the five piece and one that has to be recognised far and wide.
Steal My Girl
The first single released from the boys’ new album was ‘Steal My Girl’. It was a reasonable introduction to the brand new sound of the boys and set the record straight on what kind of music to expect from their latest project – something that excited everyone in all corners of the globe. Sadly, though, it is not even close to the best songs on this album, but still a very good effort. Musically, it is strong, but lyrically, it could definitely be stronger – still, a very good choice for the first single from the album as it eases all into the new sound.
Ready to Run
Released as the first of five songs to be given before the official album release date, ‘Ready to Run’ is certainly a huge improvement from where the boys were musically just last year. It showcases the true talent of Zayn Malik in particular, giving him the opportunity to boast his extremely impressive vocal range. ‘Ready to Run’ is also the sign of change for One Direction in their music, with a heavy influence of drums and electric guitars after a very soft opening relying just on harmonies and the strums of a guitar.
Where Do Broken Hearts Go
One of the best songs we have heard in the history of One Direction’s four albums. It is a very soft song, despite the continuing influence of drums and electric guitars. It is lyrically and musically diverse, climatic and dramatic – a great track to contribute to FOUR. ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go’ is one of the most thoughtful tracks that really allows the boys’ passion for their job to come across to audiences of all ages and genders. It is an unusual tune, though, sounding similar to a Christmas song… except there’s an edge to this one. It’s one hundred percent one of the best songs on the album and a fan favourite too.
Written especially by Ed Sheeran and Passenger for the One Direction boys, ’18’ is perhaps one of the most beautiful songs on the album – simply an acoustic guitar and their voices. A song like ’18 is for the boys who dropped out of school to conquer the world and it is so unique that it can only be compared on a level of emotion and meaning to ‘Moments’ – a song that Sheeran penned for their first album Up All Night. It’s packed full of empathy and emotion – a declaration of love and , not surprisingly, 18′ is one of the songs that has prompted the most discussion and hysteria over Twitter. As it seems to have touched many hearts of the One Direction fans, most of them talking about the lyrical beauty and the maturity of the vocals, it’s very difficult to dislike this track.
This track is very different for the band and has an almost folk-sound to it. The tune is built for a stadium crowd, just like many of the others, except ‘Girl Almighty’ is stripped-back to basics and relies mostly on an acoustic guitar in each verse that leads up to the mixture of both guitar and drums on the chorus. ‘Girl Almighty’ is unusual and very, very catchy.
Lyrically perfect. If you weren’t already head-over-heels for One Direction, you will be after listening to this. ‘Fool’s Gold’ is one of my personal favourites on the album and comes in at around sixth of my favourite songs the boys have worked on. It is one of the slowest tracks and relies heavily on the heartbreak of betrayal and being used – something that band member Liam Payne discussed in their ‘This is Us’ film back in August last year. The song discusses how they ‘know your love’s not real’, adding fuel to the fire of Payne’s heartache of struggling to find someone who loves him for who he is, and not what he has.
Confirmed as the second single to be released on FOUR, ‘Night Changes’ is one of the most beautiful One Direction tracks ever. It breaks your heart as the intense, one-on-one sounding music fits perfectly with the extremely thoughtful and flawless lyrics. I have visions of standing in a stadium hearing the words to this song in particular being recited back to the five boys on the stage – especially this line in particular: ‘does it ever drive you crazy just how fast the night changes?’ It’s a perfect track from the boys and clearly shows the direction they are heading for musically.
‘No Control’ is one of seven songs (seven of the twelve on the standard version) that Louis Tomlinson has his name on in this album. The thrusts of the power chords and epic drums extends the anthemic feel running through the whole of FOUR, but this particular track is something special. Even just listening to it for the first time, you can tell it was built for the 80,000 strong crowds this album will be played to and it’s a credit to their very own Tomlinson lyrically as he cleverly talks about ‘waking up beside you I’m a loaded gun’ – proving his ability in the industry yet again.
‘Fireproof’ was the first ever song we heard from FOUR and became the most downloaded free song of all time after it was given exclusively to fans on the boys’ website for just 24 hours. Although it is not the best song the boys have ever worked on before, it certainly captures the sound that this album is focused around and has a strong drum beat throughout the whole track and the band’s renowned harmonies.
‘Spaces’ is a lyrically advanced track and it begins with the soft voice of Niall Horan accompanied by the beat of a drum faint in the background. As the track progresses, so does the electrifying intensity of the song and it becomes a whole four-minute saga of pensiveness.
Absolutely brilliant. Penned by the band’s very own Harry Styles, it is lyrically and musically on point – electric guitars and drums giving it the edge to ensure it fits with the theme of the track. When the track-list for FOUR was first released, this was the song that caused the most controversy and hype among Twitter fans, but it has exceeded every expectation – showcasing truly how talented One Direction really are as artists. For those who don’t know, Stockholm Syndrome is described as ‘feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor’ – an alien concept for the band to sing about. This track is definitely one of my favourite songs by the five piece ever – lyrically and musically flawless, it’s unique and fresh.
One of the most upbeat tracks on the album is ‘Clouds’ and it may not be as impressive as the likes of ’18’, ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ and ‘Fool’s Gold’, but it’s catchy, uplifting and good fun. ‘Clouds’ is host to a very memorable chorus and a heavy drum beat – adding to the anthem-like feel and is perfect for a stadium crowd.
All in all, FOUR is the best album One Direction have produced so far in their career and I think that is truly down to the fact they have now found where they want to be musically. The album is packed full of harmonies and hooks as well as their focus finally being on developing the songwriting into some of the most thoughtful lyrics we have ever heard from the five piece. I genuinely believe this album is the best one of 2014 and deserves to be taken seriously as a project from five legitimate artists.