It's time to make some memories.
Do you hear that faint rumbling in the distance? That's the collective high-pitched shriek of Directioners worldwide combined with the thunderous roar of a million furious Tumblr reblogs and RTs for Brazil: That's right, the boys of One Direction have returned.
After formally launching their global takeover with 2011's Up All Night, followed by their 2012 follow-up Take Me Home, everyone's favorite reality TV finalists-turned-international superstars are back for a third year in a row with a new album: Midnight Memories. (Um, also, does anyone else notice the progressive spiciness of their album titles? I do not even WANT to know what the next one's called! LOL JK, I totally do.)
It's only been a year since their last studio effort, but the boys' sound has changed drastically.
For one thing, they're not really boys anymore. You might even say they've gone from Boyz II Men. (BOY BAND HUMO(U)R.) No, but really, it's not just the fact that most of them can now grow facial hair -- the music's matured a l'il bit, too!
For one thing, they've become more involved in the actual writing process -- nearly every song on the album features at least one of their names in the songwriting credits. And, as opposed to the crunchy Carl Falk & Rami-produced power-pop of radio smashes like "What Makes You Beautiful," "One Thing" and "Live While We're Young," the band's veered into slightly rockier, "edgier" territory, navigating through classic and modern rock influences like Mumford & Sons, Def Leppard, and The Police.
They've still got a bunch of familiar names on the record -- including Graffiti6 frontman Jamie Scott ("Story Of My Life," "Diana") and the boys of fellow U.K. boy-banders McFly ("Don't Forget Where You Belong") -- as well as a few new ones, like Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody ("Something Great"). The lyrics have gotten slightly more deeper and reflective -- sure, they've got their fair share of swoon-filled love ditties, but there's also some major tour exhaustion and pensiveness about their own legacy as artists.
Midnight Memories certainly seems like the boys' first attempt at getting serious as a band, and the results are varied. Did it all pan out? Well, words are useless, especially sentences, so let's dig through this triumph track-by-track the way the true music scholars and Beethoven/ Mozart types intended -- with 1D GIFs!
1.) "BEST SONG EVER"
And we're off! "Best Song Ever" kicks off the pop quintet's third set. Y'all love it. You know it. I know it. Harry Styles knows it. It's got the same reliable power-pop stomp that the boys have always served up to get us dancing all night, resulting in a pretty perfect intro before the album departs into their heavier (well, relatively speaking) output. Is "Best Song Ever" truly One Direction's best song ever? I'm not entirely sure, but it is good! Maybe something more like "A Very Good Song In The Grand Scheme Of Things."
2.) "STORY OF MY LIFE"
But wait, what's this? Yes, it's time for #SomethingMorePersonal! The album's second single "Story Of My Life" is the first time the boys are giving you a real taste of their new sound. Ready to dance? Too bad! Wait, what? Yes: Contemplative balladry along a Mumford-ish folk guitar strum is the flavor of today. And it's really good! The lyrics get pretty heavy in moments -- "seems to me that when I die these words will be written on my stone" (GULP!) -- and those harmonies certainly provide a chill or two. Best of all, the boys all worked on penning this one, so you know it comes from the heart and all that. BRB...crying forever.
Oh! Well, "Diana" is certainly an instant anthem, right? It's like The Police-era '80's rock with a bit of a modern pop gloss, sort of like what Bruno Mars did with "Locked Out Of Heaven" last year. "Diana, let me be the one to light a fire those eyes!" the boys croon. For every Directioner named Diana (or any Directioner who soon decides to legally change their name upon hearing this), this is truly your midnight memory for the rest of your life.
4.) "MIDNIGHT MEMORIES"
A-ha! Title track! This one's rowdy little YOLO anthem, giving some Kaiser Chiefs-lite "I Predict A Riot" realness. "Same ol' sh**, but a different day." Oop! Cover your ears, children -- the boys are finally coming hard and fast for that PG-13 rating. "Midnight Memories" pounds your speakers with a massive, Queen-like chant of chorus -- just like Take Me Home's "Rock Me." "Midnight memories (ooh!) Baby, you and me, stumbling in the street!" Oh, do behave, boys.
5.) "YOU AND I"
Well, this one's really lovely: "You and I" is a moderately sparse, us-against-the-world sort of guitar ballad, with the kind of power-pop chorus that makes you believe you can, like, move mountains or whatever: "You and I, we don't want to be like them / We can make it 'til the end," the boys achingly pledge. Also, that tender high note at the three-minute mark? All of the tears. Yes, this is a good one.
Check out more One Direction Midnight Memories GIFs after the jump!