To the delight of many teenage girls across the globe, popular boy band One Direction released its fourth studio album on Monday Nov. 17. Titled Four, the album features collaborations with guest artists such as Ed Sheeran for what is promised to be an edgier, more rock-inspired album. Four will most likely be another huge success for the group. With a signature, catchy and upbeat style, One Direction delivered exactly what fans are looking for. Punctuated with a few rock songs and acoustic pieces, Four is slightly less bubblegum-pop than previous 1-D offerings. That being said, the album does lack interest and originality, and may have faltered a bit by trying break away from their typical sound.
The album starts off with “Steal My Girl,” the first single off of Four. It begins with pounding drums, a clapping beat and a repetitive piano riff—the song is definitely catchy. Due to the group’s huge following, it’s likely you’ve heard this song playing on almost every radio station. As it’s a bit lackluster and quite repetitive, “Steal My Girl” may not have been the best choice for the first single––though it remains popular.
The second song “Ready to Run” shows where the boys tried to switch up their style. This track features a Mumford and Sons-inspired folksy feeling, but was ultimately unsuccessful. What makes that genre of music so interesting are beautiful melodies and raw sound, which this song completely lacks. The chorus is unexciting and the boys’ overly polished-voices are just not fit for the genre.
One track that stood out to me was “Stockholm Syndrome,” which has a bit of a 1980s feel. It’s extremely buoyant and has a beat that sounds a lot like Haim’s 2013 hit “The Wire.” It sticks to One Direction’s signature pop sound, but is a bit less vanilla. I think this song will definitely be a guilty pleasure for many people and was certainly the highlight of Four for me.
Although typical of most boy bands/male pop vocalists, it is hard to ignore the sexist undertones that play a role in nearly every song. Every single song on the album is a love song, but usually one in which the girl is described as an object. The most obvious example of this is from “Steal My Girl,” which features absolutely absurd lyrics such as, “She belongs to me” and, “Every jaw drops when she’s in those jeans.”
With Four, One Direction definitely tried to break away from their typical boy-band sound and style, but missed the mark just a bit. Although they may not have been successful in their goal, I think fans will certainly be satisfied. Four also gives us non-“Directioners” a few catchy songs to deny enjoying.