Welcome to TRASH TALK, a new feature that weaves seemingly incongruous thoughts together by means of my trails of thought. The savvy reader’s Top Ten, if you will.
First up, a mind-wander through One Direction’s ‘Midnight Memories’
One Direction, those boys to men from London town, have unveiled their latest album ‘Midnight Memories’ to much pre-Chrimo hype. It’s the same excellent smush-pop as ever – just this time the adult themes – both naughty and nice – peek out from between the melodic seems with less implication and more, well, matter-of-factness. Here are some of the things I noticed about the album:
It seems they’ve borrowed from Mumford & Sons, and Gary Barlow, and everyone else, and gone a tad folky
‘Through The Dark’ is a solid example of this third album pattern. It’s folklorean like a round-the-fire sing along: ‘I would carry you home/ Hold you close/Hope your heart is strong enough’ they yelp, before promising to get their girl back through the dark when the night is falling down. All set to loads of uplifting strumming of the guitttaaahh.
There’s Shakespearean verse hiding within Styles, but there’s also naughtier, more grown up things …
‘Something Great’ is practically a ‘how to’ guide for sexual awakening. Lyrics to the side, there’s Noah and the Whale style flourishes and big-boy choral drops which, to be fair, are solidly euphoric – just like the ‘something great’ they mention in the song – whatever the hell that might be. Hmmph.
‘Little White Lies’ is even naughtier, as hormones leave the club and head to the bedroom: ‘You say you’re a good girl/ But I know you would girl’ they scoff in unison.
Their newfound manhood extends to the music: it’s more soft and glam rock than loud pop. ‘Little Black Dress” grown up exposed chords and whiney strung guitar suits the bands increasingly adult vibe: they have a knack for taking off little black dresses as opposed to just staring at them these days.
As well as sounding more earnest and rocky in equal parts, they’re wearing a LOT more black to illustrate how they don’t shop in Topman anymore
There is oodles of classic rock propulsion across Midnight Memories which will lead teen fans to listen to their dad’s music collection before sneaking into over18’s venues to listen to music like this. More classic stadium rock defines ‘Don’t Forget Where You Belong’, which aligns 1D’s power-pop past with the slick operations of bands like Bon Jovi.
Despite these wide-spanning flourishes, there are some weak links.
‘Better than words’ is little more than a common fib. Being far less than even the slackest of words, the track is a slow, weezy, droner that this week served only to remind me how bad my cold is, and no 1D album needs a reality-check-track.
‘Happily’ is another mid-tempo flounderer which can be neatly categorised as mid-album bulk, but with fourteen sprightly tracks to listen to (‘Story Of My Life’ is the longest at 4:05) Midnight Memories-the album is more often cheeky man-pop than limp teen filler.
Much like the defining ‘Midnight Memories’ the boys sing about having experienced, the album’s pent-up energy keeps flaccid moments at bay – admittedly this is not the perfect solution for any joy ride – but at least it’s progress.