One Direction
Four


3.5
great

Review

by Ben Thornburgh USER (151 Reviews)
November 17th, 2014 | 335 replies


Release Date: 11/17/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Join the Navy.

One Direction is the latest in a long line of acts that make the girls scream and, for a certain set of people looking to separate themselves from the unidentifiable masses, a target for unreasonable amounts of hatred. Cute white boys pack stadiums with screaming girls while the pretentious throngs take it upon themselves to inform them that they are stupid and should listen to real music. It’s a tradition dating back to The Beatles. Before One Direction it was Justin Bieber, before him it was the Jonas Brothers, before them it was N*SYNC or it was the Backstreet Boys or it was the New Kids on the Block. But this vehement hatred isn’t just predictable, it’s lazy.

For one, your superior music taste cannot be proven by disliking something. For another, this auto rejection is so predictable it’s exhausting. Hating something means you risk nothing. It’s the ones that decide to stand beside their favorite music, no matter how much they're told not to, that risk something, that have to defend their tastes to others. Miring yourself in hatred protects you, you put nothing on the line by hating something so popular and feel superior as you go against the grain, standing out in a crowd of mindless consumerist sheep when in reality, you’re just another type of sheep and your herd is twice as annoying and twice as dull as the other herd.

What must be particularly infuriating about One Direction is how consistent they’ve been so far. Boy bands have actually benefited from the crash of the physical CD and since 1D can’t sell the kind of copies boy bands used to be able to they’ll never have a No Strings Attached hanging over their head, leaving them free of the pressure of having to up an impossible ante. They’ve also been improving, their debut Up All Night stumbled over the weight of post-X Factor expectations but by Midnight Memories they were finding their footing, not an easy thing to do when you’re being counted on to move units in every country on Earth.

Despite Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson being the only members significant enough to get their own Wikipedia pages, there’s a refreshing lack of ego in One Direction and every member gets enough time in front of the microphone to shine. They hang together perfectly as a unit, their voices all have a unique grain and harmonize excellently. Niall Horan possesses a gorgeous lilt that receives it’s showcase during the first verse of the downright lovely “Fool’s Gold”. The unexpectedly moving “Night Changes” cops a gentle shuffle and some lovely “Ooo’s” laying down a lovely blanket for Styles to croon the chorus. Harry Styles passes album highlight “No Control” off to Louis Tomlinson for a rocketing chorus while Zayn Malik shows up for a stirring bridge that empties out for one more huge chorus.

The production, helmed by a team of no less than 9 people, ensure everything here is appropriately gleaming. You can practically see yourself in the spotless veneer of these tracks as the group cycles through the mega pop of “Steal My Girl” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”, the tender balladry of “18” and “Fool’s Gold”. Part of Four’s strength as a full length is the clear boundaries the group’s songwriters (a roster that includes shaggy it-boy of the moment Ed Sheeran) and producers draw for them. Throughout Four 1D never overstep their abilities, no ill advised trips into EDM or dubstep, they keep it in their wheelhouse and it makes for a tight 45 minutes or so. Still, it would be to their benefit to find their own sound. As consistently strong as Four is, it can occasionally comes across as too familiar for its own good. “No Control” bares more than a passing resemblance to Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” while “Ready to Run” closely resembles any number of neo-folk smashes, through 1D pull it off by being free of the pretensions that sink the Mumfords and Hoziers of the world.

Despite beginning life as a new yacht for Simon Cowell, One Direction have evolved into a dependably solid pop group (and a fleet of new yachts for Simon Cowell). Although Four is their strongest work to date, it doesn’t have the vitality that makes for truly memorable pop. Four is full of good songs but no great ones. For 1D to move beyond fun pop they need to step beyond their comfort zone and trust their audience to follow. Assuming they don’t implode over some ol’ bullsh*t or start reading the contracts Cowell chained them to, it’s not hard to imagine 1D moving a bit further as a unit before disintegrating into solo careers. For now, they’re one of the most consistant popular pop acts we got.



Recent reviews by this author
Rachel Stevens Come and Get ItThe Prodigy Music for the Jilted Generation
M People Elegant SlummingLadytron Witching Hour
Depeche Mode ViolatorRichard Hawley Coles Corner
user ratings (108)
Chart.
2.4
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Aftertheascension
November 17th 2014


3565 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

lmao no

undertakerpt
November 17th 2014


1560 Comments


Good idea - the last supper

Bad idea - the last game of sticky biscuit

Pangea
November 17th 2014


2697 Comments


Steal my girl is so good

ZackSh33
November 17th 2014


628 Comments


Four albums in four years

...

"One Thing" was my jam tho

Aftertheascension
November 17th 2014


3565 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

if these guys had any musical progression at all, that would be nice.

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2014


5280 Comments


Dammit, convinced me to try it. I was happy listening to this before the vocals came in.

SnakeDelilah
November 17th 2014


19751 Comments


sputnik's proverbial straight white boy has returned

Digging: END (NJ) - From the Unforgiving Arms of God

Aftertheascension
November 17th 2014


3565 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

yeah commenting on shitty music

forthefallencheese
November 17th 2014


91 Comments


"Despite beginning life as a new yacht for Simon Cowell"

LMAO

Also band was never bad, their material is pretty much the same as the Beatles early material, eventually 1D
will start expanding musically same as the Beatles did and then future generations of Sputnik / the world
will most likely view them as the British Boy Band revival (since that's what the Beatles were, a British
Boy Band)

SharkTooth
November 17th 2014


13751 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

it was Justin Bieber, before him it was N*SYNC

as a 2000s kid, I can tell you it was the Jonas Brothers

YakNips
November 17th 2014


18934 Comments


w0w s0 c0ntr0vers1al!

SharkTooth
November 17th 2014


13751 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sputn1k n33ds to g3t 1ts b0y b4nds r1ght, fuk1n pl3bs!

Tunaboy45
November 17th 2014


15496 Comments


Not sure how to feel about this.

Digging: The National - Sleep Well Beast

Aftertheascension
November 17th 2014


3565 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

"Also band was never bad, their material is pretty much the same as the Beatles early material,

eventually 1D

will start expanding musically same as the Beatles did and then future generations of Sputnik /

the world

will most likely view them as the British Boy Band revival (since that's what the Beatles were,

a British

Boy Band)"



Are you missing the fact that The Beatles could actually FUCKING SING?



One direction relies on autotune and the squeaky clean production to actually make music. The

only reason they have fans is because they're apparently attractive, nothing more, nothing less.

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2014


13591 Comments


he has this rated as high as Portishead's s/t...

idk man

Digging: Ariel Pink - Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

Judio!
November 17th 2014


8399 Comments


Not gonna take the time to listen to this, but this was a great read.

VaxXi
November 17th 2014


4037 Comments


1D is my jam.

"One Direction relies on autotune and squeaky clean production to actually make music."

I don't think you actually know what Autotune is, muchless actually listen to these guys live.

"Only reason they have fans is because they're apparently attractive, nothing more, nothing less."

As a straight male, I can ensure you I enjoy listening to 1D as they have legitimately catchy tunes. Just because you don't like them doesn't mean other people aren't allowed to. Also you need to cool your jets m8. Next think we know you're going to be preaching that all new music is bad and that you were born in the wrong generation.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
November 17th 2014


55228 Comments


why do they have so many albums already

Digging: Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore

Crawl
November 17th 2014


2302 Comments


what the fuck, comparing this to beatles

Wolfhorde
November 17th 2014


15369 Comments


Uuuh, pop discussions. I'm gonna get myself some popcorn and my most comfortable chair - anybody want in on that?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy