Made in the A.M. is enjoyable enough, but the entire album is ultimately borrowed and unoriginal.
One Direction have released another fun album, throbbing heavily in the vein that Pop has created. Packed with thirteen tracks (seventeen if you check out the deluxe version) of catchy songs about loving, leaving and losing, it’s pretty easy to forget that they’re down one of their stronger singers.
The remaining guys’ voices are fine, and while the songs aren’t hard to listen to, there’s no real heart here. They’ve developed tracks which match the sound of bands as great as Fleetwood Mac, and their constant comparison, The Beatles, but there’s nothing behind the catchy tunes and constant harmonies. The filters of branding, marketing and gossip make it hard to see any messages or through line of the album. Ultimately, this album seems to be just another cog in the machine that is the One Direction money maker.
There’s nothing wrong with emulating good music, and the boys do it well. ‘Perfect’ is an obvious second single, especially when played alongside Taylor Swift’s ‘Style’ (allowable as a companion song, based on Styles’ and Swift’s previous relationship). ‘Temporary Fix’ is fun, and sounds a bit like Neon Trees’ ‘Everybody Talks.’ There’s even an interesting bridge in ‘Olivia’ which seems like a throwback to ‘Pure Imagination’ (from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie).
None of the songs are especially bad, but there is no real consistency in theme or sound. Listeners are not taken on any journey, nor offered any real insight into the minds of these four presumably intelligent human beings.
A reflection on the track ‘Wolves’ stands for the whole album: no bark and no bite, but it sure is fluffy.
Best Tracks: ‘Drag Me Down,’ ‘What a Feeling,’ ‘Temporary Fix*,’ and ‘Wolves*.’
*From the Deluxe edition.
ALBUM VERDICT: 7.5/10