@OneDirection show growth and maturity on #FOUR #AlbumReview #AlbumLeak

Is this the same One Direction that brought us hits like “One Thing” and “Live While We’re Young?” Definitely not.

Though Midnight Memories may have been a narrower interpretation of the sound that made them famous, FOUR is anything but that. With FOUR, 1D shows audiences everywhere that they can indeed go in multiple musical directions, if you will ;). From the Journey-inspired “Steal My Girl,” to the Ed Sheeran-penned “18,” to even the epic finish “Cloud,” 1D flips the listener’s world upside down and makes him or her contemplate a reality where 1D could be a band that could be taken relatively seriously. And with that, 1D shed their boyband image and blossomed into a mature five-piece that can now hold their own with other rock bands.

Taking hints from the greats, like the aforementioned Journey, Beatles and even Tears for Fears (“Stockholm Syndrome” is reminiscent of their hit “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – side note: Lorde did an amazing cover of it for the Hunger Games Soundtrack, 1D strays more from their recognizable sound to delve into classic rock anthems and better songwriting. The songwriting this time around is much more strong, almost as if all that time Harry Styles and Taylor Swift spent together finally paid off for the band (as it did for TSwift)… But really, though, their writing this time around is on-point. While they do dabble in their kiddie pool, with nods to the type of music that did make them famous on songs like “Girl Almighty” and “No Control,” the group expands their musical talents (the most they’ve tried to do in their four years of existence). Standouts include the hit singles/releases/deep cuts “18” (above), “Steal My Girl” (below), “Fools Gold,” “Night Changes,” “Stockholm Syndrome,” “Fireproof” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.”

Overall, between this release and seeing them live back in September, I am thoroughly impressed with this group. They’ve become full-fledged artists who truly enjoy their craft. Their live performances are out of this world in terms of the energy they bring. The best part about this release is that I feel like 1D has finally removed itself from the guilty pleasure genre and mostly permanently affixed itself in the genuine Pop/Rock genre. They’re a band I can actually admit to listening and enjoying. So, 1D, I want to thank you for finally taking your music to the next level and making it okay to claim you in my iTunes library.

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GRADE: ★★★★¼

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