One Direction’s new album is ‘Made in the A.M.’ and it’s the last new release from the wildly popular boy band before their hiatus. Now the critics are weighing in on what fans hope is not their final musical chapter. Here’s a roundup of what’s being said.
It’s One Direction’s fifth album in five years, a frenetic pace, for sure, but the demand more than matches it. From their rise to fame on The X Factor UK up to the present moment, the band has made a mark on the pop music landscape.
As for the future, there’s one thing we know for sure. There will be no ‘Made in the A.M’ tour. There won’t be a headlining tour of any title, as the ‘On the Road Again’ world tour just wrapped in the UK. And so already it’s an unusual album. We’ve got the world’s most famous boy band — this year at least, now that their closest competitors, The Wanted have disbanded, and we don’t as of yet have any competitors edging their way into teen consciousness.
And it’s the first album released with the band as a quartet, now that Zayn Malik has left, quite suddenly, months ago, and pursuing a solo career. Now the remaining members -– Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson — whose voices are heard on the album, are going their separate ways…for now at least.
Lead single ‘Drag Me Down’ and the second single,’Perfect’ have generated huge buzz and massive sales collectively thanks to the eager Directioners, i.e. the ever-loyal fans for those unfamiliar with the parlance. ‘Drag Me Down,’ as the first song from the band as a quartet not only debuted at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart but it set a streaming record on Spotify. And, to boot, the first-ever music video shot at NASA headquarters in Houston, which saw the band members all suited up as astronauts. Yes, all this from a band that’s about to go on a hiatus. An album of swan songs perhaps?
Now the critics are weighing in on the album as a whole, presumably, without the angst of fans. Here’s a roundup of reviews.
“….It’s not even the type of top 40 album that poptimist tastemakers will deem secretly cool and dare indie kids to like. It does, however, highlight 1D’s many charms — tight harmonies, Ginsu-sharp hooks, a mix of boyish playfulness and melodramatic lover-man anguish — and points a way forward for four talented guys looking to transcend pop-rock frivolities like 2011’s “What Makes You Beautiful” and 2013’s “Best Song Ever.”….” — Billboard
“….If it’s their last ever album, then they go out on a high. But at the same time, if this is just a goodbye until a few years’ time, then Made In The AM is a mature record that leaves them in a place they can revisit when the moment feels right. For a group limited by the perception that they are just “boyband pop”, their music has become as accomplished as their shining achievements. ….”– Digital Spy
“….Everything about “Made in the A.M.” is impeccably crafted, as only artists pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars can manage. There is no sign of panic here, no evidence of a group coming apart at the seams. Malik’s exit may have left the group a little less soulful, but they have been heading toward rock stardom for years…..”– Newsday
“… A slight tone of weariness may have crept into 1D’s lyrics with songs about break-ups and yearning for home but musically it remains anthemic, up-tempo, superior pop, with elegant song structure, ear worm hooks and radio busting choruses…..” — The Telegraph
With all the fanfare of the last tour and the hiatus, this album is a shoe-in for international chart-topping sales, even in the U.S. where it must do battle with Justin Bieber’s ‘Purpose.’ Time will tell as to how it all shakes out, as one artist returns to the scene that ‘One Direction’ exits with “Made in the A.M.”…at least for now.
Pictures: PR Photos