Old but gold.
Jessie Wu, Staff Writer
Genre: Pop rock
Label: Columbia; Syco
Rating: 4/5 stars
Made in the A.M. was One Direction’s first album since band member Zayn Malik’s departure from the group back in March 2015, as well as their last album together (as of now… but fingers crossed!). At the time of its release, the album instantly became a huge success; it debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and snagged number two on the US Billboard 200. With the album’s terrific rankings, it’s no surprise that its songs are equally iconic.
“Drag Me Down” was released as the album’s lead single in July 2015, rapidly accumulating attention from the get-go: It made waves on the UK Singles Chart, landing at number one, as well as collecting just over two million plays in the first week alone. The song features a synthetic introduction, followed by a syncopated bassline and melody in C minor. What’s particularly interesting about this track is its deviation from completely traditional pop-rock instrumentation. Instead, the listener is caught off-guard by occasional reggae-influenced riffs, which lead up to an explosive chorus where all the members’ voices are featured. Lyrically, the track is quite repetitive, though this can be attributed in part to its pop genre; however, the lines “I got a river for a soul, and baby, you’re a boat/Baby, you’re my only reason” when repeated, serve as a heartwarming reminder to fans that they are appreciated and loved. All in all, “Drag Me Down”, with its catchy drums and addictive vocals, is definitely a top contender for the best song in the album.
Originally released preceding the album as a promotional single, “Infinity” is the one other song on the album that really gives “Drag Me Down” a run for its money. Its intro features Niall Horan’s voice over a sustained tonic E and is mellow – almost melancholic in quality – but don’t be fooled; the eventual beat drop brings with it an onslaught of emotions that the beginning of the track does not prepare for. Though set in E major and composed in stereotypical four-chord pop song fashion, “Infinity” hits home with Harry Styles’ high notes in the chorus and the lyrics “How many nights have you wished someone would stay?/Lay awake only hoping they’re okay”, alluding to a universal sense of loss (perhaps hinting at Malik’s recent departure).
For Directioners and non-Directioners alike, I highly recommend a re-listening of the album to fully appreciate the tracks that rocked the music world five years ago. For those of you who make playlists to cry to, I suggest you add “Infinity” to your collection– you won’t regret it.
Jessie Wu is a first year humanities student at Trinity College.