During the early 2010s, you could not escape the name One Direction until its hiatus. The band went from sitting on the stairs of the UK X-Factor to selling out Madison Square Garden and singing to crowds of fans across the world.
As an avid fan of their music during its heyday, I want to look back and see which album was the best. Now long cured of "One Direction Infection," I will look at it as a work of art. I will be ranking their album from worst to best while also considering the band’s chemistry, artistic style, marketing, music videos, single rollout and overall musicality.
Warning: I will bring the controversy and nostalgia.
5. Up All Night (2011)
One Direction came into the music industry with the most manufactured and cookie-cutter album. There were few risks taken and even fewer chances for all members to shine throughout the album. “Up All Night” is the result of telling producers “make this the most boyband sounding album ever.” This album was made for tweens and no one else. Most songs needed the more and work. Also, this was the Harry, Zayn and Liam show; Louis and Niall had a few solos. You can also tell the songs Ed Sheeran penned too easily. Overall, “Up All Night” was a safe bet for a new boyband who was searching for their sound, but not memorable.
Hit: “Gotta Be You”
Miss: “Stole My Heart”
4. Made In The A.M. (2015)
Zayn’s departure resulted in the band’s chemistry dipping. This album did not sound like One Direction. The songwriting was the most mature from the group, but most of the songs sounded too similar. There were a few standouts, but when a song did stand out, it was near pop-perfection, aka “Perfect.” Most of the songs felt flat or out of place, (e.g. Olivia). The songs tried to reach for the fun, poppy sound to keep their young audience, but it didn’t work out that well, especially on their fifth album. It felt like a musical collage that was barely held together.
3. Midnight Memories (2013)
The final three albums were hard to rank. “Midnight Memories” gave the iconic “Best Song Ever” video that at the time broke a Vevo record. Before the album release, One Direction’s “This Is Us” tour documentary was released in theaters. “Midnight Memories” was also a great era to live through due to events, such as 1D Day. But music-wise, this album gave both growth and an edgier sound to the band. The rockier sound in songs such as “Midnight Memories” and “Little Black Dress” was tossed around and competed against more R&B influenced songs, such as “Little White Lies” and “Better Than Words.”
Hit: “Right Now”
Miss: “Something Great”
2. FOUR (2014)
"FOUR" was a solid album, and it showed such maturity and compatibility among the five members. Initially, I underestimated how cohesive “FOUR” was. The songwriting improved tremendously from “Midnight Memories.” The diverse influences on the album do not compete with one another. Each song flows and gives a lasting impression. Also, the music videos that complimented the songs are some of One Direction’s best (e.g. Night Changes.) Most of the songs can be sung along with the windows down or are the perfect cure for a sad day. This sound for One Direction was its best although it is the last album with Zayn.
Hit: “Stockholm Syndrome”
Miss: “Act My Age”
1. Take Me Home (2012)
“Take Me Home”
solidified One Direction as the boy band of the 2010s. If you were a young person during this period, you’d want to be in any One Direction music video or be the subject of their songs. This is where the band found its sound. It is boy band perfection. Their live performances are some of the best (e.g. Zayn Malik singing like rent is due meme). This album’s cover is also the most memorable out of all five albums with the boys in a phone booth. What I loved about “Take Me Home” the most is that this is where I fell in love with their music as a teenager. I believe this album maybe the future imprint of future Western boy bands.
Hit: "Over Again"