One Direction is back with their new album after Zayn has left. How has it changed the overall sound? Short answer: not that much.

This album relies heavily on songs with little to no background production and focusing mainly on the four singers’ voices. Their voices have progressed significantly and this album further shows that. If you don’t believe me, look up the opening auditions from the X-Factor to see where they’ve come from.

My favorite tracks on the album are Drag Me Down, Long Way Down, and Wolves. I think these songs fully portray where the group plans on going. The album is like most pop songs focusing mainly on “love”. Drag Me Down uses a different styles to almost give a jazz vibe. It differs from most of the rest of the record and previous discography. Long Way Down is a typical love ballad. I think that for all the backlash that One Direction gets for lackluster lyrics and chord progressions, they make up for it in the their ability to sing. Long Way Down reminds the listener to not forget the vocal ability. Wolves is an upbeat song that uses strong production to make a strong song. Wolves uses a metaphor about wolves to show that they’re being scrappy and fighting for the love of the girl.

I think the album shows how far One Direction has come and I believe that they still have more music in them. I did hear that they might be taking a year or two off but I think they’ll come back strong when they come back. I’ll be waiting.

The negatives come in the boring rhythms and background music. This coupled with the sub-par lyrics make this album not go as far as it could. It’s sad to say that I don’t believe that they have to convince the girl to stay the night or work to keep her. I don’t think that they’ve actually experienced hardship recently and it’s unfortunately becoming apparent in their songs. I think these are normal problems for most pop stars but they need to break through to become great.

Overall, this album is good, not great. I think they need to try to make their music more interesting by using different chord progressions and focusing more on the lyrics. Their songs show their improving vocal abilities, but without the full package, it’s hard to see them becoming great.

Score: 7 out of 10