In one of her final articles for Impact Magazine, Amrit Virdi takes the opportunity to take a step back in time to her teenage years, and reviews the discography of one of the world’s biggest boybands, One Direction.
To say my teenage years, and my music taste, were defined by One Direction is an understatement. Yes, I was one of the adoring fangirls who bought tickets the minute they went on sale, anxiously waiting by my laptop to get front row. The band fostered my love of music, becoming a gateway to the likes of 5 Seconds Of Summer, who led me to blink-182 etc etc. Therefore, I thought it was only fitting for me to rank their albums from worst to best!
5- ‘Up All Night’
The first studio album from the band as a five-piece. Looking back on it, ‘Up All Night’ is cheesy pop at its finest, but perhaps the most ‘surface’ record from the band. Clearly designed for teen-pop success, churning out hits including What Makes You Beautiful, the album set the precedent for their boyband heartthrob status. While there are some songs my 21-year-old-self listens to, to remind me of the songs that defined my childhood, including I Should Have Kissed You and Stole My Heart, others such as Na Na Na and I Want, are better left in the past.
4- ‘Made In The A.M.’
The last album before their hiatus (aka. break up), ‘Made In The A.M.’ is an undeniably good album, yet it is fourth for me personally, potentially due to the nostalgia I have attached to their other albums. The only album without former band member Zayn Malik, this is a great attempt at music as a four-piece, however, Malik’s vocals are missed as a defining feature of their previous records.
A solid mix of their boyband roots, with a more mature sound
This album feels more mature and a step away from their poppy synth of 2011, as the band focus more on lyrics and instrumentals, rather than pure pop to be sold. What A Feeling is a timeless track for me, and singles Perfect, History and Drag Me Down create a solid mix of their boyband roots, with a more mature sound on this record. Not a bad album at all, but missing the nostalgia associated with the band for so many fans.
3- ‘Take Me Home’
While not as lyrically mature as ‘Made In The A.M.’, ‘Take Me Home’ comes third on my list, as it is arguably the record from the band which solidifies them the most as a chart-topping boyband. Whilst I agree it musically isn’t their best album, I would say it is the one that fits their genre the best. From ballads such as Little Things and Change My Mind to party anthems including Kiss You and Live While We’re Young, it is an extremely cohesive pop record, with its 2012 release fittingly coinciding with the band’s peak.
They attempted to break away from traditional pop tropes
Although it is ill-named, with it being the last album consisting of all five members, ‘FOUR’ is one of the best albums to come from One Direction. It is the first album where they attempted to break away from traditional pop tropes, and they sound vocally more mature than their previous releases. Act My Age is one of the tracks which plays into cheesier tones, yet Ready to Run, Where Do Broken Hearts Go and the majority of the album, is lyrically developed, whilst still fitting into the genre of pop.
1- ‘Midnight Memories’
Probably one of the defining albums of my teenage years, ‘Midnight Memories’ is an album I still find myself going back to. With the deluxe edition 18 tracks in length, the rockier influences show through, particularly in Little Black Dress, yet it is balanced out with the likes of Story of My Life, which is a sound more familiar to fans. With the sonic range of the album paired with its memorable nature as it coincided with the band’s first headline stadium tour, this is the defining ‘One Direction’ album for me.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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