One week of One Direction: …and now we’re on the road again

“Night Changes” by One Direction | “I don’t think I can do that,” Rainy told me when I started listening to all four One Direction albums for this week of entries. Well, hun, I did it. And yet I get why you thought that way. Four is the group’s latest record: 1D now has the honor of being the first group to have their first four records debut on top of the Billboard charts. Yet, despite this underlying narrative of the boys growing up and maturing and even gaining some creative control over their songs – for instance, all five had a hand in writing “Night Changes” –  it all feels samey, right down to the opening track aping a classic rock track’s riff (this time, Journey’s “Faithfully”). To their credit, Four sounds a wee bit more forceful than Midnight Memories – it feels more anthemic now, particularly in “Clouds”, which I actually like – but, again, it’s a pattern I spotted in their two albums prior, particularly. This is weird. I swear I expected some more obvious maturation, but instead, this. Could it be the expectations? Two friends, who happen to be 1D fans, were curious about what I thought of their last two releases; that strikes me as “it’s quite good”. This is merely serviceable, and it’s frustrating because Directioners – the very people who’ll flood the MOA Concert Grounds this weekend – grow up, too. Or, or, or maybe I’m thinking this way because fatigue is setting in. Four One Direction records in a week, for a guy who isn’t a fan, and isn’t even predisposed to teen pop. Maybe I myself couldn’t do it. Maybe Rainy is right after all. [NB]

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