Just one listen of ‘Midnight Memories’ suggests that One Direction’s previously pure form of tween pop has been exposed to one too many guitar riffs and ripped pairs of Levi’s. It’s transformed them into a teen-rock compound solid enough to bruise ticket sales for the McBusted tour.
Taking a turn from the manicured beats and bop-a-long choruses of debut ‘Up All Night’, this time round One Direction are getting serious. Delivering a ‘maturer’ sound, ‘Midnight Memories’ sees the boys rope in big drums and heavy handclaps to discuss the perils of heartache, jealousy and regret: ‘I’m sorry if I say I need you – when I’m not with you, I’m weaker,’ they protest in ‘Strong’. And there was us thinking that Louis’s Twitter account being hacked was a downer.
Cracking a cheeky grin through the emotional stuff is lead single ‘Best Song Ever’, which showcases enough anthemic production to soundtrack an Olympics highlights montage. There’s also the zippy, ’80s-inspired ‘Diana’ – a dead ringer for Don Henley’s ‘The Boys of Summer’. Credit to the lads for not resting on their cringe-pop laurels (we’re looking at you, The Wanted), but it has to be said: One Direction haven’t gone totally off-piste, it’s just that they’re heading that tiny bit closer to adulthood – and that’s no fun at all.