The UK Sun was the first to review Midnight Memories giving it rave reviews and even calling it one of the best boyband albums. This is the ONLY review as he was the only journalist trusted to make this review, the jouranlist was asked via Louis, Zayn, Liam, Harry & Niall personally to listen to it and went through a very secretive process with the label just to review it (full story below).
The UK Sun Journalist continues, “it’s one of the best boyband albums ever. WITHOUT any doubt, Midnight Memories marks 1D’s maturing as a band — taking them in a new direction away from straightforward teen pop. Overall, the album is much more guitar influenced than their previous two releases. A Seventies glam rock vibe reminiscent of QUEEN or THE DARKNESS is evident on a number of anthemic tracks, clearly written with the band’s first stadium tour next year in mind. Two songs co-written by Harry are heavily influenced by Mumford & Sons, in a sign the band are keen to up their musical credibility.
Solo vocals from all five guys are also showcased more than on their previous albums, with Louis and Zayn in particular being given more time at the microphone. Interestingly, the lads also spent time apart to write the album, with Louis and Liam working as a pair, and Niall teaming up with his McFLY pals. The lyrical themes take in the huge changes to the guys’ personal lives over the past two years. But, as you would expect, the songs are dominated by themes of young love and heartbreak. They are teen idols, after all. Track by Track REVIEW UNDER!
Track by track
Best Song Ever: The first single — released to promote their film This Is Us — is the most light-hearted and poppy track by a long way. It’s a good bridge from the first two collections.
Story Of My Life: The only song that all five members wrote together. The stripped-back, sentimental guitar ballad was chosen for the second single as an introduction to the band’s more mature new sound.
Diana: One of the most fun boyband odes to a girl I’ve heard, with lyrics including: “I speak a different language but still hear your call.” It has a soaring opening and the chorus is instantly catchy. Louis and Liam — the two members of the group who have contributed the most songs on the album — co-wrote it. And don’t worry, I’m assured it’s not an ill-judged reference to the late Princess Di.
Midnight Memories: The title track kicks off the album’s rock feel, with a LENNY KRAVITZ-style guitar opening. The chorus has the same anthemic feel as Queen’s We Will Rock You. It’s also the closest 1D have come to swearing on a song, with the lyric: “Same old shh but a different day.”
You & I: A more traditional ballad that will satisfy the millions of mums who support 1D. It will make cougars go weak at the knees when the lads sing romantic lyrics including: “Not even the gods above would separate us — nothing would come between you and I.”
Don’t Forget Where You Belong: One of my favourite songs on the album came out of a writing session between Niall and McFly lads TOM FLETCHER, DANNY JONES and DOUGIE POYNTER, who ended up producing the song too. It focuses on beautiful harmonies — a McFly trademark — and has a brilliant slow build to the chorus. The theme of the reflective song is the importance of home for an international pop star. The opening verse includes the line: “Make a lot of changes but not forgetting who I was.”
Strong: One of the album’s darker songs is a chance for Zayn to show off how deep his voice can go. The ballad also features great KILLERS-style instrumentation. Louis co-wrote the track so girlfriend Eleanor Calder will take heart with lines like: “I’m sorry if I say I need ya. When I’m not with you I’m weaker. Is that so wrong?”
Happily: Harry’s first co-write on the album is one of the obvious standouts. It’s a completely new sound for the band, with Mumford & Sons-style verses growing to a rousing chorus. Harry’s lead vocals are very strong. And the lyrics could be a reference to his high-profile romance withTAYLOR SWIFT when he sings: “I don’t care what people say when we’re together.”
Right Now: Harry teamed up with Louis, Liam and RYAN TEDDER (the ONEREPUBLIC singer who wrote Bleeding Love for LEONA LEWIS) for this ballad expressing the lads’ desire to be with their girlfriends on the road. It’s a grown-up pop song with Louis starring on lead vocals.
Little Black Dress: The lads get to be a little bit naughty on this Darkness-style rock song that’s likely to shock younger fans with a clear change of pace. The (slightly) raunchy lyrics — co-written by Liam and Louis — include: “I want to see the way you move with me baby.” Much of the album was recorded during the band’s world tour, and this song has an on-the-road feel.
Through The Dark: Anyone doubting 1D’s musical abilities should listen to this song, which has clear folk influences. It would sound at home on an ED SHEERAN album. I can’t wait to hear them perform it live.
Something Great: SNOW PATROL meets 1D on this soaring tune, with Harry’s voice sounding the best I’ve heard it. He wrote the song with Snow Patrol’s lead singer GARY LIGHTBODY and his influence is clear. It’s also co-written by Irish rock producer JACKNIFE LEE, who is more used to working with the likes of U2 and WEEZER than boybands. A real triumph.
Little White Lies: We’re back to pure pop, but with a harder edge thanks to an epic chorus featuring serious electric guitar. The lads show their cheeky side too, with lyrics including: “You’re a good girl but I know you would girl.”
Better Than Words: The album closer is the most advanced in terms of production, with a mix of electronic beats and electric guitar. It’s slightly more chilled-out than some of the other upbeat pop tracks — it would be a good way to end a night out.
Behind the story
ONE DIRECTION’s record company has taken unprecedented steps to stop Midnight Memories leaking online. That’s why I was the only journalist in the WORLD to review the album before its release. Listening to the most in-demand album of the year more than ten days before anyone else was quite a process.
Only one physical CD copy of the new songs exists – so I had to travel to a secret location in central London in order to hear it. A representative for the band was with me at all times as I made my notes. The CD is watermarked so it would be possible to track if it was stolen.