Earlier this month, One Direction released Made in the A.M. Their fifth studio album is their first without Zayn Malik and last before embarking on a lengthy hiatus: It's the only release not to be followed by a mostly sold-out stadium tour, and the first that has fans questioning the future of the band. It's also the first where the media began asking the band about the actual music they make as opposed to all the extra-musical stuff--the conversation is a little less about girlfriends and breakups, and more about what's actually happening on record.
It's evident that the band's happy with that fact. Wanting to talk music has inspired the creation of a lengthy video track-by-track series the boys have posted on their Vevo page, with each gent getting a chance to detail the writing process. For once, instead of being viewed as products of their environment, they're being seen as real musicians.
Made in the A.M. might not be the boys' best album, but in many ways, it could be considered some of their most dynamic work. It's hard to think the first two singles on the release, "Drag Me Down" and "Perfect" could exist without the group's past smashes: There's no way those songs would have found the popularity they did if "Best Song Ever" and "What Makes You Beautiful" didn't come before them...but so goes the tale of career musicianship.
It wasn't really until 2014's Four where we started to see some of the group's musical influences really pop out. "Fireproof" and "Girl Almighty" were some of the standouts from the release, both of which leaned heavily on One Direction's love of Fleetwood Mac. That appreciation for vintage pop-rock made it the first record in their discography that many critics paid attention to. Why? Because for the first time in their career, 1D were playing to the music they loved. There's an attraction to that authenticity--a word that critics rarely associate with boy bands. They were expressing individual autonomy, and that made the experience different and special.
Their very specific love of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and co. reaches its full potential on "What A Feeling," a Made in the A.M. fan favorite and arguably the best song on the release. For whatever reason, it's not the next single on the LP--Liam Payne broke the news that the Coldplay-channeling "Infinity" will be given the honor--and it's unclear if it ever will be given single status. To fans of the band, "What A Feeling" is so clearly the best moment on the record...almost as clear as "No Control" on Four being that release's highlight.
"No Control" wasn't given single status either but it birthed a movement: Kids around the world were calling and requesting the song to get radio play. Louis Tomlinson, the driving voice behind the song, became one of the most beloved members. Perhaps 1D's team is hoping "What A Feeling" will be given the same treatment. That theory seems especially true when considering it's Tomlinson who describes the song in the track-by-track clip above:
'What A Feeling,' I'd probably say, again, is one of my favorite songs on the record just because that is one of the songs that gives you a completely different flavor to maybe what you're used to [with One Direction.] It's kind of got a little Fleetwood influence in there and just the whole feel of the song is feel good. It's one of those songs you could have playing, roof down in your car, feeling like a bit of a chief."
The same description really could be given to "No Control." Here's hoping the decision to make "Infinity" the next single will inspire kids to create their own fan empire around "What A Feeling." Until then, listen to it above. It really will make you feel like a bit of a chief.