“So here it is, for all you people who have been turning us off for the last four years, this next album is about to blow your minds!” Liam Payne of One Direction, the world-famous boy band from the UK, tweeted last May. And as of November 17, 2014, the release date of the band’s fourth album, nothing has been truer. Titled “FOUR,” their newest album makes One Direction the only group in history to debut at number one with each of their first four albums. Featuring rock-inspired tracks while still incorporating a modern touch of pop, “FOUR” is no doubt one of the boys’ best albums yet.
Since the band’s formation in 2010, they have continuously striven to create a more mature sound, and “FOUR” accomplishes just that. Tracks like “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “Stockholm Syndrome” bring to mind Rick Springfield and Bruce Springsteen; after all, the band has cited the ’80s as a major inspiration. The album’s second single, “Night Changes,” full of soft tones and storytelling lyrics, fills listeners’ minds with images of driving down an empty street on a starry night. And Liam Payne’s falsetto note during the bridge of the song is sure to make you bow your head in respect.
Songs like “Clouds” and “Spaces” seem to be written specifically for the band’s live performances. They consist of vocals that could be perfectly echoed throughout some of the biggest stadiums in the world, sure to be visited by One Direction on their 2015 tour. Their “On the Road Again Tour” will make stops in Australia, Japan, and South Africa, to name just a few. The good news is that the boys will also be performing in North America.
Although “FOUR” includes a lot of dance-ready songs that loyal fans and casual listeners alike can find themselves jamming out to, there are also more relaxed songs here. “18” (written by Ed Sheeran) and “Fool’s Gold” show off a simpler sound, while the captivating yet laid-back “Fireproof” will be stuck in your head for days.
The boys of 1D have made it clear that this album is the one they take the most pride in, and fans will agree. Whether it’s because of the maturing lyrics or the more distinct style, vocalists Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson have finally reached the sound the band has been working toward since its formation. Unlike many boy bands of the past, it seems One Direction will be sticking around for a while.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.