One Direction’s ‘Four’ builds on band’s previous success

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Photo via Facebook.

Photo via Facebook.

Maturity is right around the corner for Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Harry Styles, but before that, they still must deal with their awkward stage. While this fourth effort reaches new heights for the guys, the album doesn’t break the stereotype of the group awkwardly dancing on a beach with mop tops and non-inked skin in their first ever music video, “What Makes You Beautiful.”

One Direction’s new album ‘Four’ is a departure from their three previous albums and takes on an indie rock/pop fusion sound.  Their trademark boy band lyrics are not lacking, but have taken a darker, more adult spin.

The guys unveiled one song every day during the five days leading up to the Nov. 17 release for those who preordered the album.  “Ready to Run” was released first followed by “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”, “18”, “Girl Almighty” and “Fool’s Gold”.  “Steal My Girl,” the upbeat single that most have probably heard over their radio by now, was the first track released and was downloaded 1.1 million times. By comparison “What Makes You Beautiful,” the first single the group released after appearing on The UK’s X- Factor, was downloaded 153,965 times within its first week.

The album shows the growth in every member’s voice, the band’s overall sound and the writing abilities of each member. Rather than one mashup of five teeny boppers, there are four distinct male voices in every song (with the exception of Tomlinson who still has yet to hit his vocal stride).

Accompanying their lower, puberty-stricken, voices, are lyrics of more adult relationships. This particular set of heart fluttering, blush-inducing lyrics from the song “Change Your Ticket”, properly displays Styles’ experience with the ladies.

“Watching you get dressed, messes with my head. Take that bag off your shoulder. Come get back in bed, we still got time left. This don’t have to be over.”

Upon hearing these words, I vocally announced “Yes, Harry. Yes.” to a room full of now disturbed students. After my heart settled a bit, the lyrics fully set in. The group enlisted the help of English alternative band The 1975, whose sensual lyrical style is evident in the song, along with “Girl Almighty” where Irishman Horan sings about his ability to get down on his knees for his gal.

The lone ballad, and arguably the best song on the album following “Steal My Girl”, is “18” which was written by friend of the band Ed Sheeran. Sheeran also wrote the ballads “Little Things” and “Moments” for the group. Singing about a grown up love that is “a long way from the playground”, also aids to the theme of growth and maturity.

If you had to describe the album in one word, it would have to be “unexpected.” Because the band wrote or co-wrote all but one of the songs on the record, the lyrics are much more adult and explore more mature themes than most fans would expect. However, this is a welcome change and perhaps non “Directioners” will find themselves bobbing their head along to the tunes, if not downloading a couple songs to listen to.

Listen to One Direction’s “Four” here:

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