Nov. 13 marks the fateful day that One Direction faced Justin Bieber in an epic album showdown, as their fifth LP (sans Zayn Malik), Made in the A.M., dropped the same day as Bieber’s ?Purpose?. Although Bieber proved to be the victor, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with One Direction right behind at No. 2, the four remaining members of 1D put together a pretty kickass record — especially for the final album before their (so-called) hiatus.
So, Billboard decided to honor Made in the A.M. on its one-year anniversary with an ode to the British/Irish band of lads, ranking their 17-track deluxe album (don’t worry, we wouldn’t cheat you) from our least favorite to the best of the best. Take a look and see if you agree.
17. “Love You Goodbye”
There should definitely be variety on an album (especially one that has 17 songs on its track list), but there’s only so many slow songs that a band who is known for tracks like “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Best Song Ever” should do. While “Love You Goodbye” is as eloquent as it is heart-wrenching, at the same time there’s nothing all that special about it that makes it stand out among the rest.
16. “Long Way Down”
One Direction seemed to have something to prove on ?Made In The A.M.?, as their balladic tracks on this LP felt less sugary than those from past albums, like “Gotta Be You” and “You & I.” But there is something missing with “Long Way Down” — perhaps the drag of the drawn out words are a bit much — so this one doesn’t quite measure up to others on the record.
15. “I Want to Write You a Song”
A sweet, almost singer-songwriter tune gets the full band treatment with this one, and it actually isn’t half bad. All the 1D guys get a chance to show off their romance singer chops, which is always a plus for their fans. If there’s any sense of boredom while listening to this slower track, the beautifully cooed “ooh”s definitely make up for it — but still don’t quite take “I Want to Write You a Song” to the level that the more successful One Direction ballads (past and present) are at.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the vocals in this slower track, but when you pay close attention to the words those beautiful voices are singing, it sort of makes you go, “Huh?” — and those kind of lyrics are never really a good thing. But let’s not completely shame the song, because after all, the overlapping singing at the end of “A.M.” (perhaps the best part of the whole track) makes up for the faulty lyrics.
13. “End of the Day”
Upon first listen, this song sounds a bit confused: it goes from fairly upbeat, quick verses to a rather slow, pounding chorus. But both aspects of the song are enjoyable in their own way, which makes it more exciting than some of the others on the album.
Who knows if there’s an actual Olivia out there that the guys are referring to with this song, but lyrics like “I live for you, I long for you” make any Directioner wish they were the ones 1D were singing about. There’s nothing wrong with this song, per se, but in centering a track around a specific girl, they made it a bit hard for us to love it as much as some of its surrounding tracks.
11. “What a Feeling”
Perhaps one of the least boy band-ish songs One Direction has ever done, the guys manage to flawlessly explore a vibe more similar to that of the disco era than the times they’re actually in. While they should be commended for the success in channeling a sound from before their time, the ambition isn’t enough to overpower the poppy goodness of some of the ?Made in the A.M?. songs that are a little more suited to the sound for which One Direction is known.
10. “Never Enough”
The doo-wop vibe of this track that initiates from the get-go makes for one heck of a fun song, and the rest of the song matches up to that caliber, resulting in one of the most fun tracks on ?MITAM. Even if you find the “C’MON”? screams after the chorus annoying, by the time you listen to the song for a second or third time you’ll find yourself belting those puppies out.
There’s not really anything about the fun tune “Wolves,” with its Billy Joel-esque piano backing, that makes it necessarily worse than any of its fast-paced predecessors. When you bring your A-game to something the way One Direction did with this album, at least one poppy song is going to have to lose out to the others, right?
8. “Walking in the Wind”
Providing a bit of a different vibe than the typical One Direction ditty, “Walking in the Wind” is the perfect mix between the ballads and faster tracks of Made in the A.M. That being said, the best of both the slower and faster songs on the album stand out a little more — but not to worry, that doesn’t take away from how dreamy the guys sound as they croon each line.
7. “If I Could Fly”
If there’s one ballad to listen to from the One Direction discography, it’s “If I Could Fly.” This song is a special one, as it’s possibly the best display of how talented the 1D guys are as singers. If you wrote them off as just a “boy band,” this track is probably the best way to prove that that label is simply discrediting them.
6. “Hey Angel”
When you envision what an opening track should sound like, you probably think of something pretty epic — and that’s exactly how the beat of “Hey Angel” could be described. The rather bizarre lyrics are what discount the greatness of the tune, but the dynamic roar of the song’s beat earns it a spot in the Top 10.
Upon the somewhat abrupt exit of Malik in March 2015, fans were certainly awaiting a song that alluded to parting ways with their former member (as if the cryptic album title, believed to mean “Made in the ‘After Malik,’ wasn’t enough). That’s exactly what they got with “History,” and you can tell from the way the guys genuinely belt out each verse that they were as affected by Malik’s departure as the fans. Bittersweet lyrics for sure, but thankfully they turned those into an otherwise catchy tune.
4. “Temporary Fix”
One of the more risque tracks in One Direction history, “Temporary Fix” was delivered in one of the most clever ways possible: a totally upbeat, bumping jam. It’s nonstop excitement for its 2:55 entirety, but just a little? less appealing than those ranked above it solely because it’s not quite as brilliant… definitely close, though.
3. “Drag Me Down”
What began as an ode to the fans who stuck around in the post-Zayn era turned into one of the most anthemic tracks in 1D’s repertoire, with a powerful bassline and powerhouse notes that make it as memorable as it is beltable.
While the 1D boys have issued plenty of love-related tunes in their five albums, not a ?whole? ?lot of them are truly about getting their hearts broken. But when they ventured to sing about such a thing on “Infinity,” the boys absolutely nailed it. Harry Styles’ power notes aren’t really a scarcity in One Direction tunes, but on this song, they — along with lines profoundly delivered from the rest of the guys — have a touch of agony in them that makes you feel all of the feels.
One Direction had practically perfected the art of a love song with its previous four albums, but there’s something about “Perfect” that makes it purely magical. From the lovey-dovey lyrics — without being overly cheesy — to the head-bopping beat that makes it more of a pop hit than a sappy love song, the group made it a lot easier for Directioners to say a (hopefully temporary) goodbye after gifting fans with a song like this.