Thursday, 26 November 2015

you know i'm always coming back to this place: the enduring appeal of one direction

"while there's life, there is hope" - stephen hawking

(tldr; i watched the theory of everything recently and cried A LOT, which in turn inspired me to make this post and talk about the time, space, the universe and of course, one direction)


lately i have been thinking a lot about the passing of time, how people, places and things all change. clearly stephen hawking has been too. at 73 years old, he is still searching for a theory to explain everything. while my knowledge of such things may not be as high as hawking's, i also find myself wondering if we will ever get that answer.

now that i have had the time to take in and process made in the A.M., one direction's fifth album, i have concluded that they too have been thinking about the passing of time, something that unites five of the most famous pop stars in the world, and a globally renowned physicist.

with regards to the above quote, that for me is the ethos of this album. as they say in the track history, this is not the end, this is not the end, this is not the end. and from the intensity in their voices, i know they are telling the truth. 


yes, things have changed. we as fans have grown up, and so have they, and that for me is what has made us stick around for five years, no matter how arduous it may be at times. hopefulness pours out of every song in this album. they acknowledge that time has passed, but yet they are still the same four boys who auditioned for the x factor all those years ago, eyes bright with the drive and determination to succeed.

as i look at them now, rushing through the last few bits of promotion before their break begins, i can't help but wonder if that spark has somewhat dimmed. though taking into account the fact that they have released five albums in five years and just completed their fourth world tour (!!), it's kind of understandable.

for me, going home always feels surreal, and i can imagine it will be the same for them when they eventually get the chance to do so. you and me were raised in the same part of town, got these scars on the same ground, liam sings in the closing track, A.M. this for me feels like a homage to their home towns, to the people who have stayed with them as they accelerated to worldwide stardom.so much of this album is about friendship, those bonds that can last a lifetime.


i am so incredibly thankful for my best friend that i have known for most of my life, and after seeing me at my absolute worst, has somehow stuck around all these years. you and me got a whole lot of history, they sing on the track history. similarly, you and me, we had some good times didn't we? they sing on walking in the wind (a song i am fairly certain is about zayn and his departure from the band). it continues; you will find me in places that we've never been, for reasons we don't understand. fact is, none of us know what will happen in the future, where we'll end up, the shape our lives will take, but this song is a promise that things won't ever change, no matter what.

the acoustic tracks on this album are stunning. everything i need i get from you, louis sings in i want to write you a song. giving back is all i want to do, he continues, and i feel it, i feel it so much. my friends, past and present, have done so much for me, and i am constantly overwhelmed by all of this, and giving back is honestly all i want to do, for my friends but also for this band, who have given me so much, a reason to carry on, things to look forward to, and a sense of hope for the future.(other songs worthy of a mention include perfect, never enough, wolves, hey angel, and temporary fix.)

so this is it. whatever happens in the next two years, for them, and for me, remains unknown, but at least they went out on a high, with their best album yet. there is something final about this release, though i get the sense that we have not yet seen all this band has to offer. the gap between the music they love - fleetwood mac, the rolling stones, the stone roses - and the music they have made over the past five years has always been a huge, vast expanse, but now with this album i feel they are bridging the gap, moving ever closer to more mature releases, full creative control and a desire to prove wrong those who were once sceptical. made in the A.M. is just the first step towards their next destination.

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