This article is about the album. For the song, see Midnight Memories (song).
Midnight Memories is the third studio album by British-Irish boy bandOne Direction, released on 25 November 2013 by Columbia Records, Syco Music and Sony Music. The album was described as having a "slightly rockier tone" than their previous efforts. It has become the fastest-selling album in Amazon UK's history, breaking the record set by One Direction's previous release, Take Me Home (2012). The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, making One Direction the first group in history to debut at number one in the US with their first three albums. The album was preceded by the release of the singles "Best Song Ever" and "Story of My Life".
Upon the album's release, Midnight Memories received mixed reviews from music critics. Many critics praised the lyrical depth and musical composition on the album, as well as the group's level of involvement in the production process. However, others argued that the material was less memorable than their previous work and felt the themes were not as mature as expected. Despite being released five weeks before the year's end, Midnight Memories nevertheless became the best-selling album of 2013 as listed by the IFPI, with sales of four million copies.
Background and development
One Direction began working on their third studio album whilst embarking on their second international tour, the Take Me Home Tour. The album was announced simultaneously with the news of the band's third world tour, the Where We Are Tour, which subsequently led fans to wrongly assume that the album title would be named Where We Are. Member Louis Tomlinson proclaimed that the album would have a "rockier" sound to it than the band's previous releases. The official title of the album was announced on 6 September 2013, starting with Zayn Malik tweeting a teaser video of Harry Styles spelling out the word "Mid" out of a pile of alphabet cards on the floor, followed by a full video posted on the band's Instagram account later on, revealing the title, Midnight Memories.
The album artwork was released early exclusively by The Sun via a tweet which was then confirmed to be the official artwork through the band's official Twitter account, though the early access was only available for those who held a membership of the newspaper's online version. On 11 October, the band presented the album's final track list through the "#MidnightMemoriesTrackQuiz" hashtag on Twitter by giving out a mixture of hints and blank spaces to be filled alongside the final result. The full track list for the deluxe edition was later shown on iTunes.
"Best Song Ever" was released on 22 July 2013 as the official lead single from the album. The track peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart. Its music video beat the Vevo record for most viewers within 24 hours on YouTube, clocking in at 12.3 million views, beating the previous record set by Miley Cyrus for "We Can't Stop", which held 10.7 million views in 24 hours.
"Story of My Life" was released on 28 October 2013 as the second single from the album. The track premiered on 25 October 2013, playing at 16:00 GST on radio stations across the world and debuted at number four on the UK Singles Chart, despite holding the number one position on the midweek chart and continuing to lead until Saturday of that week. The song eventually peaked at number 2. The video was released on 3 November 2013.
"Midnight Memories", was announced as the third single from the album on 24 January 2014.
"You & I" was serviced to US radio on 15 April 2014 as the album's fourth and final single.
- "Diana" was the first promotional single. It charted in the Irish top 10 on 21 November 2013, and at number two on the New Zealand Singles Chart on 22 November 2013.
- "Strong" debuted at number one on the New Zealand Singles Chart on 29 November 2013, four days after the album's release.
All songs from except "Something Great" have charted on the UK Singles Chart.
Upon its release, Midnight Memories received mixed reviews from music critics and publications. Brian Mansfield from USA Today awarded it three stars out of four, saying "Midnight uses classic rock as a color the way last year's Take Me Home used electronic dance music." Kitty Empire from The Observer believe that, with the material, "This album does the job, in more ways than one." Tim Sendra from AllMusic gave the album 4 stars out of 5, saying that "anyone expecting there to be any kind of drop in quality, or early warnings that the group had begun their inevitable decline, will be happily surprised that not only does the album satisfy the established quota of thrilling modern pop tracks and uplifting ballads, but also introduces some interesting new directions". He praised the bold decision to evolve the band's sound, and its results, concluding that the record "ends up as another satisfying album that does everything a One D album should do and then some."
However, some were less enthusiastic. Many critics argued the absence of their previous work, deeming it "not special" and "forgettable" and some felt it was too mature for their core audience and didn't come off as mature as expected through their themes. Jim Farber from Daily News gave it three stars out of five, arguing that most of the songs "sounds much like any goo from the guys." Speaking of the musical style of the album, he stated that although "there probably are just enough newbies to extend the band's brand for this small window before the next thing comes along," he believed the group presented an image too mature for their core audience, saying "One Direction must reconcile this range with their own growth spurts," and describing the grown-up appearance of the band members since their debut single as "a big change in just three years."
The album debuted at number one on the Irish Albums Chart and number two on the Dutch Albums Chart. On 29 November 2013, it was announced that it had become the fastest-selling album of 2013 in the UK, with 187,660 copies sold in four days. It was revealed on 1 December 2013, that the album had sold in excess of 237,000 copies in its first week in the UK, beating Gary Barlow's Since I Saw You Last, and becoming the fastest selling album in the UK since Michael Bublé's Christmas in December 2011, as well as outperforming One Direction's two previous albums Up All Night (2011) and Take Me Home (2012). It became the best-selling album of 2013 in the UK with 685,000 copies sold for the year.
In the United States, Midnight Memories debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 546,000 copies sold. This made One Direction the first group in Billboard 200 history to debut at No. 1 with its first three albums, and the first to reach No. 1 with its first three albums since 1967. The album sold 1,096,000 copies in five weeks in the United States, making it the twelfth best-selling album of 2013 in the United States. As of August 2015, it has sold over 1.51 million copies in the U.S.
Midnight Memories also debuted at numbers one and two on the ARIA Albums Chart and the New Zealand Albums Chart, and was certified Platinum and Gold, respectively, in its first week. The album went on to sell over 60,000 copies in Mexico after only three days, being certified Platinum.
Despite being released towards the year's end, Midnight Memories nevertheless became the best-selling album of 2013 worldwide according to the IFPI, with sales of over four million copies in only 5 weeks.
The track listing was announced via the band's Twitter account on 11 October 2013. Where the bonus tracks appear as additional tracks in international territories, the British release finds them on a separate four-track bonus disc. Unlike any other release of the album, the Japanese version includes "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)", as well as two further bonus tracks. An exclusive review of the album posted by The Sun on 17 November listed writing credits of many of the tracks.
|15.||"Why Don't We Go There?"||Robson||2:54|
|16.||"Does He Know?"||2:59|
|18.||"Half a Heart"||Robson||3:08|
- ^[a] signifies a vocal producer
- ^[b] signifies an additional vocal producer
- ^[c] signifies an additional producer
- ^[d] signifies a co-producer
Credits taken from Midnight Memories'sliner notes.
- R.J. Shaughnessy - photography
- Calvin Aurand - photography
- Fluidesign - design
- Tom Coyne - mastering at Sterling Sound
Certifications and sales
The third album by British pop superpowers One Direction, 2013’s Midnight Memories, closed with “Better Than Words” — a tribute to about 15 of the greatest love songs ever, with verses that consisted only of those classics’ titles (“How deep is your love? / God only knows, baby”). It was a fun way for the group to build their own sort of pop canon — one that goes as far back as Elvis and as contemporary as Drake — while implicitly making their own bid for inclusion therein.
Apparently, the group had such a good time reliving Top 40’s best moments that they’ve decided to do it with almost their entire catalog since. Last year’s Four was led by “Steal My Girl,” whose thunderous piano riff was a deadringer for that of Journey’s classic ’80s power ballad “Faithfully.” The rest of the album ran through pastiches of Paul Simon (“Girl Almighty”), Fleetwood Mac (“Fireproof”), and Tears for Fears (“Stockholm Syndrome”), among subtler lifts that could drive music nerds crazy trying to identify.
Even so, Four was little preparation for Made in the A.M., the group’s fifth album, out today. While 1D dipped their toes — all right, maybe a whole foot — into pop’s past on their fourth album, with their fifth, they dive in headfirst. Every song on Made in the A.M. (13 tracks on the standard edition, 17 on the deluxe) has a hook, a melody, a rhythm or a tone that evokes some radio hit of years past — though sometimes just one or two years past. Read on if you don’t believe us, but don’t judge the boys too harshly for their semi-thievery: One Direction simply treat pop history like the playground it is, and you’d have to be a pretty unapologetic grump to scowl at them for swinging gleefully from the monkey bars.
1. “HEY ANGEL”
Song Swiped? The drums and general sweep of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.”
Does It Work? Uncannily so — the heart grows three sizes upon hearing the beat kick in for the first time.
Lawsuit Pending? Well, the Verve know as well as anyone you can’t be too careful with these things. Any funds they’d recoup by taking such measures would probably have to be funneled straight to the Rolling Stones, though.
2. “DRAG ME DOWN”
Song Swiped? Chorus elements to Robert DeLong’s “Long Way Down,” the nasal vocal pinch of any number of Adam Levine-sung compositions.
Does It Work? Kinda, though this is clearly one of the group’s lighter lifts. Liam Payne really does sound like he’s auditioning to be Levine’s Voice-season replacement as Maroon 5 frontman on that chorus, though.
Lawsuit Pending? Nah.
Song Swiped? The chorus melody and cadence to “Style,” by none other than noted Harry Styles ex, Taylor Swift.
Does It Work? At being one of the year’s best pop subliminals (“If you’re looking for someone to write your breakup songs about / Baby, I’m perfect”), sure.
Lawsuit Pending? Could be, though you can almost picture Taylor picking up the phone to call her lawyer, but stopping herself before the first ring. (“No, that’s what he WANTS you to do…”)
Song Swiped? The verse melody and cadence to Neon Trees’ “Animal.”
Does It Work? Not especially — the song’s verses are among the album’s weakest.
Lawsuit Pending? It’s probably just different enough that direct legal action would be ill-advised. Not a world removed from Miguel and the Smashing Pumpkins, however.
5. “END OF THE DAY”
Song Swiped? The tone and tempo switch-ups of fun.’s “We Are Young.”
Does It Work? Nah, it’s mostly awkward and disruptive. Though to be fair, it’s kinda shocking that it even worked as well as it did for fun.
Lawsuit Pending? Not sure fun. could necessarily claim to be the inventors of fast-slow-epic — or if you can trademark a song structure — but if they could, 1D would be in trouble.
6. “IF I COULD FLY”
Song Swiped? The beginning of the chorus to Phillip Phillips’ “Gone, Gone, Gone”
Does It Work? Yeah, it certainly sells the refrain.
Lawsuit Pending? Unlikely. It’s a classic-sounding-enough melody that they both probably ripped if it off from somewhere else anyway.
7. “LONG WAY DOWN”
Songs Swiped? The verse melody of Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” and the general sway of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away.”
Do They Work? It’s a surprisingly potent combination, actually. The combined MOR wattage might just be too overwhelming to resist.
Lawsuit Pending? No, but it would be a fascinatingly lame trial.
8. “NEVER ENOUGH”
Songs Swiped? The casual strut of HAIM’s “The Wire” and the “COME ON!!” shrieks of Muse’s “Uprising.” Probably some more Graceland-era Paul Simon in there too.
Do They Work? Hell yes.
Lawsuit Pending? Muse would probably have the best case, if one two-word exhortation is enough to get a copyright on.
Songs Swiped? The climactic orchestral saunter of the Beatles’ “Penny Lane,” and the vocal cadence of the a capella parts of the verses to HAIM’s “The Wire” (again).
Do They Work? Undoubtedly. As New Kids on the Block proved back in the early ’90s, grown-up boy bands going psych-era Beatles in their later work is always a good call.
Lawsuit Pending? Nope.
10. “WHAT A FEELING”
Song Swiped? The general bass pattern, sighing backing vocals, and damp production of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and “Gypsy.” Oh, and the song also begins “Through the wire, through the wire,” making it the third straight track on the album to steal something from HAIM’s “The Wire.” Somehow, this all must be another shot at Taylor Swift.
Does It Work? Of course it works. Ruining “Dreams” and “Gypsy” is impossible.
Lawsuit Pending? If 1D was able to skate on it the first time they jacked Mick and Stevie, they’ll probably be safe this time out too.
11. “LOVE YOU GOODBYE”
Song Swiped? The verse melody and production style of the verses to the original version of OneRepublic’s “Apologize.”
Does It Work? Sorta, but the verses of “Apologize” don’t really work without the chorus for contrast, and the “Love You Goodbye” hook is a pretty big letdown.
Lawsuit Pending? Would say no, except that 1D actually end the song’s first verse with Liam singing, “The way you look I know you didn’t come to apologize.” Seems like enough of a thumb-bite in Ryan Tedder’s direction that he might lawyer up just on principle.
12. “I WANT TO WRITE YOU A SONG”
Song Swiped? The finger-picking and some of the chord structure of Plain White T’s’ “Hey There Delilah.”
Does It Work? One “Hey There Delilah” is really quite sufficient.
Lawsuit Pending? No, but a Twitter rant of some degree isn’t out of the question.
Song Swiped? The triplet scheme of the chorus lead-in from Toto’s “Hold the Line.”
Does It Work? Sure. Everyone loves vocal triplets.
Lawsuit Pending? It’s not even one of the more memorable parts of the song, so probably not.
14. “TEMPORARY FIX”
Song Swiped? The vocal rhythm and sly sneer of the verses to Neon Trees’ “Everybody Talks.”
Does It Work? A little, but not sure it’s worth earning Made in the A.M. the dubious distinction of being the first LP in music history to rip off two separate Neon Trees songs.
Lawsuit Pending? Maybe if Neon Trees can go two for the price of one.
15. “WALKING IN THE WIND”
Song Swiped? The piano riff to the Four Seasons’ “December 1963 (Oh What a Night),” played on guitar here, and a little bit of the vocal phrasing from George Ezra’s “Budapest.”
Does It Work? You kinda forget what a great song “December 1963″ is when you go too long without hearing it at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, don’t you?
Lawsuit Pending? Frankie Valli’s probably still too busy signing checks for his Jersey Boys residuals to go through the bother.
Song Swiped? The bass-and-drum shuffle to Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.” (Though it might just seem that way because the song is called “Wolves.”)
Does It Work? It’s a fun drum beat, no doubt.
Lawsuit Pending? No, it’s only a faint similarity, and Yeezy’s original beat was basically purloined from Gary Glitter to begin with.
Song Swiped? The verse melody to Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams.”
Does It Work? The song’s certainly not as sensual as “Dreams,” but the lift does help it achieve the same kind of golden-hour sheen to it, appropriately enough.
Lawsuit Pending? Deep breath, Taylor. Don’t give him the satisfaction.