What’s better than one Justin Bieber? Five of them packed into one group!
Overdone jokes aside, I’m here for reviewing the new One Direction album, which recently hit us. After half a week of contemplating on how to approach this album, I finally sat down with a glass of good wine and some cigarettes and pressed “play”. What I heard left me empty and feeling guilty. I don’t mean guilty as in “guilty pleasures” (for me that’s Lady Gaga’s Born This Way and Owl City’s Ocean Eyes for example), but guilty as in I wouldn’t be able to explain why I just listened to a good forty-five minutes of five boyish boys singing sappy love songs to me. I was quite happy I had some Behemoth to play afterwards, because this was something way out of my league to comprehend.
But then, after some time, I played the album again. This time I tried not snickering at the ridiculously cliche lyrics and the four-chords-a-song mentality; I listened to the album with the same ears I would normally listen with to my Protest the Hero or my Haken. Seriously, trying to understand what’s actually going on underneath the hood. Yet, like a four-year-old opening that big box from under the tree and finding out it’s another pair of warm socks for the winter, I was disappointed. Quite disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong: I consider myself quite open-minded when it comes to music. Hell, I even enjoy some of Bieber’s and Miley Cyrus’s songs. Yet, there is absolutely nothing worthwhile going on during this forty-eight minute listen. I can understand how catchy singles like ‘Best Song Ever‘ and ‘Story of my Life‘ are exactly what every twelve-year old girl is searching and yearning for. I can also understand how loving a group can unite: we metal-lovers can gush over how awesome bands are as well. So there’s no sin in loving this music, at least not to me. To each his (or her, in this case) own.
The songs that are rock-influenced are definitely catchy and somehow decent, when you neglect the group’s extreme lenience towards the sappiest of sappy lyrics with phrases like:
Midnight memories, oh oh oh
Baby you and me
Stumbling in the street
Singing, singing, singing, singing
Midnight memories, oh oh oh
Anywhere we go
Never saying no Just do it, do it, do it, do it
I’m not even sure the final phrase is a Nike ripoff or an actual product placement… Yet, for every semi-listenable rock song on the album, there’s a folk-pop song to counter it; as if the album needed even more sap. I really don’t get why bands like One Direction feel the need to ‘slow things down’ every once in a while and play a ballad. Their songs are by far some of the most syrupy I’ve heard in my life, and I’m even counting years upon years of Nickelback and Backstreet Boys filth.
I know I am coming off as an asshole with this bashfest of a review, but I just don’t feel this album deserves any praise from a serious standpoint. Sure, if you like your catchy radio-rock or your family needs some ambient background noise to orchestrate the giddy guffaws of uncle Johnny during Christmas-dinner this year, be my guest to put this on. Just don’t admit that you insisted that this was played tonight, even though you consciously decided to speak of your undying love for Liam and you put on your unwashed “I <33333333 HARRY” custom-knitted sweater.
Sure, it’s easy bashing a band like One Direction, but when you make it so extremely difficult for serious listeners to like your music, don’t expect people to give you a genuine shot. To be completely honest, I was hoping for a hidden random gravity-blastbeat hidden in this carton of sludge. Wouldn’t that be the perfect Easter Egg? Just a programmed The Berzerker blast with Louis screaming ‘YOU SUFFER!!’ in an incomprehensible mush of pure gore and hate? Yes. Yes, I think I’d like that. A lot. Boys, get to work!
I almost feel bad for posting this link, but hey, if you want to purchase this “carton of sludge”: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/midnight-memories-deluxe/id695318295
Written by: Job van Dongen – November 28th, 2013