Released: Nov 25, 2013
Genre: Pop, Pop Rock
Label: Columbia, Syco
Number Of Tracks: 14
The British boy band's third album brings nothing new to the table in terms of creativeness, but is still more respectable than one might expect.
Midnight MemoriesFeatured review by: UG Team, on december 03, 2013 5 of 10 people found this review helpful
Sound: One Direction and their fans usually meet universal disdain from others (especially on this website per a survey conducted a week ago). Before listening to this album, their third, I never really gave the band a serious thought. I mean, they are a product of reality television, a boy band hastily thrown together to appeal to tween girls and make boatloads of money for their record company.
After listening to this album, and conducting a slight amount of research, I realized that maybe the band's fans deserve the world's hate more than the band itself. In reality, this band, at least based on this album, is more rock oriented and guitar based than much of the pop world (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, etc.). And, much to my surprise, One Direction band members wrote all but one of the songs on the album, at least in part. Sure, there are these two co-writers who appears on every song, but most of the songs give writing credits to two or more of the band members, so I'll hope they're not lying. Even more surprising is the lax production of the album, at least by pop standards. Again, sure, there's some amount of autotune or other corrective measure used. But other than that, there's no bleeding amount of overproduction like one would usually see and what I expected.
In terms of music, the songs are respectable. Of course, they follow the overdone, same three chord structures we all know and even in some cases, blatantly steals from others ("Best Song Ever" from The Who's "Baba O' Riley" and "Why We Don't Go There" from Neon Trees' "Everybody Talks," to name a few). This album presents absolutely nothing new in terms of musical thought, but it's still catchy (what the record company should care about) and respectable as a piece of music (what we should care about). And for all those readers who protest the reviews of pop artists' albums on the basis that the albums lack guitars, this album has plenty at all times.
Moving on to the guitar work, it is like the songs in general; uncreative but certainly respectable. In fact, the song "Midnight Memories" actually has some pretty serious riffage (and some double stops too, OMG). Following my expectations, there are almost no guitar solos to be found, but I guess that would really be breaking pop boundaries and One Direction is certainly not out to change the status quo whatsoever. There are acoustic guitars, clean electric guitars, and distorted electric guitars but the rawest of sounds can usually only be heard during the song introductions; the main parts/choruses rely on heavily produced guitars.
As to the rest of the instrumentation, the drums are real enough (un-effected for the most part) to earn some respect and the bass is not prominent at all, which I guess is also to be expected with this type of album. In total, this album is a predictable boy band album, so it should earn the marginal respect of one, and not the untouchable (even worse than Justin Bieber) respect that the One Direction opposition automatically give it. // 6
Lyrics: The vocals on this album are typical boy band fodder, easily eaten up by the targeted tween girl demographic. Honestly, I, and probably you, have heard voices like theirs before; they're nothing special. Lyrically, the album is all about girls (what a surprise) and because of the target demographic, there is no suggestive or otherwise vulgar language. Again, nothing special there. // 4
Overall Impression: This album is by no means special; I can't even think of a song that could have long-term popularity except "Best Song Ever." And even then, my The Who bias is probably playing a role in that judgment to begin with. This album is just another average, typical, guided, sales-driven release from a put-together boy band that is purported to have the kind of popularity that the Beatles once had in the '60s. Still, and I must come back to this, it is above all a respectable effort. The songs are mostly written by the band, they're fairly catchy, and they don't ooze overproduction to the extent that most pop albums do.
So, before you shun this album without giving it a chance, ask yourself who you really hate; One Direction, or their fans.
And then you'll probably come back hating the album anyway, but at least you'll give the band more credibility than you did before listening. // 5