English-Irish boy band One Direction has 99 problems and at least 12 of them are girls — that is, according to their new album “Four,” anyway. The 12-track album croons almost exclusively about breaking up with girls, how girls are the best thing since low-cut V-necks and how much pent up, non-creepy love Harry, Niall, Zayn, Liam and Louis possess for these unnamed girls. Nevertheless, “Four” is an undeniably fun romp through idealistic teenage love, even if it’s incredibly vapid.
The album kicks off with the light-hearted, catchy “Steal My Girl” — a testament to how the group’s girl is the best in the “whole wide world.” What it lacks in lyrical creativity, it makes up for in its catchiness. With peppy piano chords playing in the background and upbeat cymbal clashes, it’s difficult not to enjoy the mellow voices of this international sensation. The accompanying music video is adequately PG and uninteresting — though it does have a weird and unexpected appearance from Danny DeVito.
It’s tough to go through the next 11 tracks, as they are all virtually identical. However, “Night Changes” does stand out by taking a heftier, slower sound to carry the idea that — surprise, surprise — these four boys will always love some specific but unnamed girl no matter what. The song touches on the idea of carpe diem and following one’s dreams, but ultimately serenades some girl in the blandest way possible.
In the end, that’s what’s so disappointing about “Four” — it rehashes the same material with new, albeit fun, musical backgrounds. For once, it’d be great to hear songs about brotherhood or about how One Direction feels corrupted by the media — instead, listeners get borderline creepy, girl-idolizing songs like “Girl Almighty,” which literally compares their love of some elusive girl to loving God.
“Stockholm Syndrome” carries a similarly weird vibe, detailing how a girl has them so wrapped up in love that they feel like prisoner and inevitably fall in love with her. The song’s only redeeming quality is One Direction’s attempt to emulate the Bee Gees.
Without a doubt, the best track on “Four” is “Clouds”. Though the song does not break any conventions thematically, the topic was rendered subtle enough to not distract from the stellar harmonies and powerful guitar strums in the background.
If nothing else, the chorus of “Clouds” pretty much sum up the entire album.
“Here we go again/ Another go round for all my friends/ Another night stopped will it ever end?”
The same things can be said when listening to the latest “go round” from One Direction. Here we go again: another shallow song about girls. Another song to please the fans. Will it ever end?