In November 2015, One Direction’s Made in the A.M. was released.
This album was massively significant (not only because it is an amazing album) but also because it was the first album without singer Zayn and the last album before the group split indefinitely in January 2016.
I have seen many TikToks saying many people associate the album with this time of year and find themselves listening to it even today.
The fact this album came out seven years ago baffles me – time certainly does fly.
About the Album
The singles released before the album were Drag Me Down, Perfect, and History. All three of these singles made it onto the top ten of many national charts.
The album as a whole was received very well. It debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and number two on the US Billboard (just behind Justin Bieber’s album Purpose).
The first-week sales of this album were higher than One Direction’s previous album, Four. This broke the trend of consecutive boyband albums declining in sales.
Moreover, Made in the A.M. was the second fastest-selling album of 2015 (only beaten by Adele’s 25).
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the album sold 2.4 million copies worldwide, making it the sixth best-selling album of 2015.
About the Songs
Let us discuss each of the songs. I have split them into several categories to describe them. Mostly, I will be talking about the music, i.e., the instrumentation, lyrics and significance.
However, I will also provide the narrative I understood from the songs – picking key points out – and including some of my opinions.
Drag Me Down, Perfect, and History are the singles released from this album.
Drag Me Down
This song is about being sure of yourself and standing your ground. With the use of guitar riffs and a surprisingly funky reggae groove, the tone is set for the rest of the album, as this is the first single of the album.
This was the band’s second single. The sway rhythm and claps induce a toe-tapping and sway response in listeners.
The song act’s as a narrative on the band’s upcoming hiatus. Reflecting on the good and bad and all the thoughts in between.
They speak on the idea that they could go on with their fame and friendship as they have many memories.
It is just a song about the boys navigating the need to stay together with all the history they have together.
Additionally, as with most of their songs, it can be applied to a relationship (whether it be them with each other or someone with their partner).
And that is another reason many people love this song: it can be applied to their relationship or appreciate the band’s struggle of letting each other go.
This song is the third single of the album.
Very unheard of for Louis to be starting a song. As a Louis girl back in the day, I was thrilled to hear his voice first.
Additionally, as Harry co-wrote this song, many speculated this song was about Taylor Swift, with many parallels between this song and Style by Taylor.
“Mightnight, you pick me up no headlights,” sang Taylor, while Harry sang: “if you like midnight driving with windows down.”
Moreover, he sings: “if you need someone to write your breakup songs about,” hinting at it being about a singer-songwriter who writes songs about their exes.
Niall co-wrote this tune. He went into the studio saying he wanted more grit in this song, even suggesting Sex On Fire by Kings of Leon as a muse.
The song is giving love song for a night out romance. The upbeat music leaves the listener dancing and feeling free.
End of the Day
It begins with medium-speed claps and vocals starting softly until the chorus comes with four drum hits.
And bam, the song is full of instruments, and the catchy chorus drives home the inspirational message of following your heart.
The two parts of the song are faster verses with a slower choruses which are tied by a pre-chorus leading to the four drum hits I appreciated earlier.
Some people may not like the difference musically these two parts of the song present. But I love it—two songs for the price of one – how can you not love that?
The song’s sentiment (or the chorus) speaks to me. Be sure of yourself, and lead with your heart. You may get hurt, but you still must love.
Funky, fresh, upbeat and vocally and musically very satisfying are just a few things I could say about this tune.
The use of backing vocals and clicks leads the listener to vibe right up to the pre-chorus. Here they set up the chorus efficiently with a simple two-liner. And once again, boom, the chorus hits.
Just like Temporary Fix, this song is a tune you would dance around listening to. It’s too hard not to!
Again, I love the sentiment of this – just letting go and leading with your heart. No fear, no regrets.
This is the final track in the album, and it is an emotional one. Especially with the hiatus in the back of your mind while listening.
The band essentially says goodbye in one final sad plea for things to stay the way they are.
Of course, as mentioned before, this song could be applied to a relationship, but I like the idea of them using their songs to reflect on their time together.
“There could be a world war three going on outside – but won’t you stay ’til the A.M.? All my favourite conversations are always made in the A.M…”
They know they are leaving each other but don’t want to go quite yet. They want to drag out the end.
“Got these scars on the same ground.”
The mention of scars pops up a few times in the album, expressing a sense of understanding and solidarity between the group.
“You know I’m always coming back to this place… You know I’m always going to look for your face.”
This is a future reflection of the band to the band. They know they will always return to the feelings they felt when together.
Similar to a romantic breakup, they will see each other in everything they do, even though they won’t be together anymore. They will feel as if they are – they went through everything together and had many firsts together.
And so, in some poetic way, they will always feel like they are together, and more sadly, they may feel they are still together on some deeper level and by instinct, they may look for them as if they had never split.
These are my favourite tracks on the album since its release in 2015. To this day, I still have these songs in the playlists I listen to.
Love / Emotional Songs
This is an emotional breakup song filled with metaphors and imagery. It is beautifully sad. Not my favourite – too sad.
If I Could Fly
This an extremely beautiful love song. The song starts with a soft piano guiding you straight to Harry, posing a what-if scenario and presenting the first line: “If I could fly”.
They go on to sing the most heartfelt emotional love confessions – singing that they would give up everything to be with this one person.
With the song containing only piano and the band’s vocals, we really feel how raw this song is.
Long Way Down
This seems to be another goodbye song. You can tell that the person (or people) they are saying goodbye to is really important to them.
Now, people tried to speculate that as Louis co-wrote the song, it must’ve been about his partner Eleanor.
However, this is not the case at all.
The lyrics are too emotionally charged. The song speaks of someone they travelled the world with and made a legacy with.
It is another reflective piece about the family’s turmoil about the hiatus. The anxiety and fear of leaving everything they built are so apparent.
Love You Goodbye
This is another emotional goodbye song. As mentioned before, these songs could also be applied to a romantic relationship.
However, given the band knows this would be their last album before the break, it makes more sense for these songs to be reflective of the idea of leaving each other and not wanting to, but they know it will happen.
I Want to Write You a Song
This is another cute raw love song. I won’t say much about this one as it is one of my least favourites (no offence).
This song gives the most boyband vibes in this album. It’s giving an early 2000s band (like Coldplay).
As the first track, it gives a nod to the fact they are a boyband, and can be, but throughout the rest of the album, they show a more mature, gritty version of themselves.
More emotionally charged and filled with relatable sentiments, and not all are exclusively about romantic relationships.
Upbeat / Catchy ones
This is one of the catchy ones. It puts you in mind of The Beatles, and we love that. The upbeat positivity you feel while listening is a vibe.
Funnily enough, within the bridge, it resembles Willy Wonka’s (Gene Wilder) Pure imagination. I’m not sure how intentional that was, but I love it.
What a Feeling
It’s another upbeat tune with beats that drive the song and vocals that rise above it all. It is giving 90s boyband meets 70s breeziness. This is another song that Louis and Liam co-wrote.
Wolves, like Never Enough, is a funky, happy song. It may have a deeper meaning, but I’m glad enough to take it at face value, imagining a scene where they hear the wolves coming for me. Also, although their wolf impressions are bad, I still appreciate them setting the scene for us.
I love this album; it is insane that it came out seven years ago.
I remember it coming out so vividly, I had it on repeat constantly, and I associate it with moving house as I played it while decorating my new home.
It is a core memory for me; I remember the long journey to high school and the comfort and positivity this album gave 15-year-old me during this critical point of my life.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who misses One Direction. The nostalgia of this album only makes it better. Get Made in the A.M. on and reminisce.
Happy Made in the A.M. seventh anniversary!
Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons