8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Even better than expected!, 7 Dec. 2013
Being a 1D fan from the start, I preordered this asap (about two months before it was released) and chose same-day delivery, meaning it would arrive the day it was released. Happily, it did, and although I'd already heard a couple of ones that had been leaked, I couldn't be more excited when I opened the parcel.
The hard-cover booklet it comes in is beautifully made, with lots of great pictures of the boys and cool graphics, and even a letter from each of them to the fans! The credits at the end are very detailed and help you get an idea of how much each boy contributed. My only complaint is the absence of the song lyrics, it would have been great to have them!
The album itself blew me away. I can't describe how good it is for the boys' music to finally match what I'd expected when they announced their first album. It really is edgier, rockier and more mature than their previous ones. There's a greater attention to detail, and the songs sound less like prefab pop (don't get me wrong, I absolutely love their previous stuff and nothing makes me happier than listening to UAN and TMH) and more like music from a real band. This album focuses on their voices and the different ways they combine them, achieving amazing harmonies and including a lot more solos from Niall, Zayn and Louis (at last)! Some songs are loud and catchy and perfect to dance to, real pop with a definite rock edge though; some are folk-y and heartfelt ballads; others are just a pleasure to listen to and perfect to sing along with dramatically like you're in a music video. It is an incredible relief to hear lyrics about other things than girls and how much they love them, and instead having songs about missing home and travelling and fans and love (without saying 'girl' every few lines); and the songs (co-)written by Louis, Liam and Harry have a greater depth and romance than their usual lyrics. It's very hard to say which song is the best, but some of my personal favourites include Story of My Life, Strong, Happily, Little Black Dress, Midnight Memories, Through the Dark and Better than Words.
All in all, it's a solid hour of brilliant pop (although it doesn't always sound like pop) that showcases their talent, and I've been recommending it to many of my friends, including people who don't like One Direction. Really worth a listen, especially if you don't like 1D, because I think you'd be surprised.