One Direction’s ‘Four’: Album Review

1D, Sam Smith, Rita Ora & others cover the classic for charity.

When One Direction’s Four (out today, ) leaked ten days before its official release date, the Internet went bonkers. The flood of tearful Tumblr posts attesting to its brilliance were pretty touching. (And not just in a click-this-Larry-Stylinson-gif-until-your-mouse-explodes kind of way, either.)

In this era of music industry ennui, it was touching to see that, despite all that’s changed in the past three years since their debut, global 1D-ementia remains strong. After all, though they’re each in their early twenties, Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis are the old-guard now.

Knowing that they — and their fans — are growing up might be why Four is so melancholy. Although they still like dirty pop (the TRL-tastic “Girl Almighty,” “Stockholm Syndrome” and “No Control”), the lads seem less interested in makin’ ‘em squeal than in selling soaring choruses (“Ready to Run” and “Steal My Girl”) and brokenhearted-boy ballads (“Spaces” or the unmistakably Ed Sheeran-y “18”).

As they age, 1D are reaching harder for the adult romantic longing of The Killers and get pretty close, especially on the misty “Night Changes,” which is going to wreck you when they sing it on the inevitable 2034 reunion tour.

Best Song That Wasn’t the Single: The everybody-shout-along “Clouds” sums it all up: “Here we go again / another go-round for all my friends / another non-stop / will it ever end?”

Best Listened To: On one last, all-night road trip with your best friends before everything changes.

Idolator Score: 4/5

Jonathan Riggs

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