One Direction‘s third studio album Midnight Memories hits retailers today, and the reviews are in — and not only are they in, but they’re pretty good! In our writer Sam Lansky’s review, he wrote that the album will satisfy their ardent fanbase while offering surprisingly pleasing pop-rock confections: “People are fond of calling boy band tunes manufactured, but when the quality is this premium, it hardly matters.”
By and large, the critics agreed that it’s a solid offering from the biggest boy band in the world that nudges them a little further into adulthood, with hooks that continue to satisfy.
Head below to read what the critics had to say.
:: SPIN gave the album an unexpectedly positive review (even if the final score was just 6 out of 10, hmph): “As long as Midnight Memories offers chorus after chorus of Gary Glitter-style fodderstompf, it sounds like the best boy-band album since No Strings Attached. With inspired juxtapositions like early-’60s twang guitar and parade-ground beats — and oh-oh-ohs set to a Killers hook on ‘Happily’ — it even suggests a way out of the EDM cul-de-sac in which pop finds itself. As long as they’re on, these are the Best Songs Ever.”
:: Entertainment Weekly noted the ’80s influences on the album: “Bizarrely, for an album by guys born in the early ’90s, it’s ’80s hard rock that Midnight celebrates. The title track sounds like Def Leppard‘s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me,’ criminally de-boogied; pounding sports-arena beats and guitar riffs a centerfold short of raunchy dominate. Harry, Niall, Liam, Zayn, and Louis yearn and vamp yet mainly project self-satisfaction.”
:: The Daily Beast made far too much hay of the fact that they were reviewing the album in the first place, but conceded, “It’s not a great album. Then again—in the finest pop tradition—it’s not really supposed to be. Instead, Midnight Memories is really a bunch of aspiring singles jumbled together, jostling for attention.”
:: The Guardian noted that the album succeeded in taking them in a more grown-up direction: “Admitting the existence of sex is not the only overt sign of looming maturity on One Direction’s third album in three heady years, one that looks certain to cement them as a global phenomenon.
:: Slant felt that the boys were, well, difficult to dislike: “The scalawaggish quintet is impossible to dislike unless you involuntarily hate everything young women love, and no matter how furtive 1D’s evolution may end up seeming in retrospect, we’re still at the stage where everyone’s just happy whenever they come around.”
:: USA Today thought that Midnight Memories bodes well for One Direction’s future: “Many boy bands, by their third albums, have started to show the cracks in their artifice. Yet One Direction still appears to be developing, with some members — notably, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne — emerging as solid songwriters. The best songs here, such as current single Story of My Life, suggest the group’s finest memories may still lie ahead.”
:: The Telegraph agreed that the commercial aims landed exactly where they should: “Essentially, Midnight Memories is all a little lustier and more tub-thumping than before, and aimed so squarely at the biggest music market in the world that Britain’s proudest pop exports sometimes lapse into fake American accents, yelp in the background and sing ‘awoooo’ like they’re dreaming of Bon Jovi.”
Let us know your own thoughts on Midnight Memories below, and get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.