Today, Friday, Nov. 13, is a big day for Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, better known collectively as One Direction. Today marks the release of their fifth studio album Made In The A.M., which is a big deal in more ways than one.
Personally I have been a fan since all five lads (Yes, including Zayn Malik) auditioned for The X Factor back in 2010 as solo acts prior to them getting put together into the boy band they are today. And while it is still sad to think about Malik's departure earlier this year, the band has continued on with such strength, passion and genuine love for its fan base.
This boy band broke barriers in its career. Styles, Horan, Payne, Malik and Tomlinson came onto the scene, exploding with their very first sugary sweet single "What Makes You Beautiful," which is a brilliant pop song with its irresistible melodies and lines.
And while they never wore identical matching outfits or had choreographed numbers for their songs, they have been on top of the music scene worldwide. Not a single boy band before them can really claim the magnitude they have.
Plus, throughout these last five years, the band's sound has evolved from the super sweet pop of their first album Up All Night (2011) to a rockier sound through the course of releasing an album per year; Take Me Home (2012), Midnight Memories (2013), FOUR (2014) and now Made In The A.M.
Take Me Home was definitely a stepping-stone for the lads, showing they were maturing with much more naughty lyrics, but still keeping that fluid pop/rock sound that was heard on Up All Night.
Midnight Memories is more along the lines of the rock genre with its clear influence from the '80s as heard through "Little Black Dress" and other tracks. That paved the way for FOUR, which definitely continued to embrace the rich rockier sound.
That leads to Made In The A.M., which obviously like their previous albums has that pop element, but they have taken on more than that. Plus, Styles, Horan, Payne and Tomlinson have managed to make their vocals work without Malik.
When "Drag Me Down" dropped this summer a lot of emotions and thoughts ran through me prior to listening to it, including, "Will I notice the absence of Zayn?" To be honest I didn't.
Styles, Horan, Payne and Tomlinson made the effort to continue on smoothly and this fifth album delivers with fantastic lyricism, great melodies and everything else you could possibly want from them before they take their much talked about hiatus that is also well deserved.
The band is ending on a high note prior to taking its break and while they have promised they will be back, down the line if they collectively decide not to dive back into things as One Direction, they have left their stamp on the music scene. They may not have been nominated for any Grammys yet, but they certainly have made quite the impact overall, sweeping up countless other awards and gaining millions of fans.
While talking to USA Today, Payne quoted Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh when discussing the break.
"It's definitely really sad for us. But obviously, we're going back into it. So it's not goodbye, it's just 'See you later.' It's like what Tigger used to say: 'Ta-ta for now.'"
We hope to see 1D later on in years to come, but if not Made In The A.M. is a brilliant way to end. It shows their growth as musicians and young men as well as their perseverance to keep going despite being down a band member and above all else it shows they have staying power.
Happy album release day, One Direction!