Terran Warden, A&E Columnist

It’s here! After months of anticipation, and a perfectly executed promotion, One Direction’s fourth album, conveniently titled “Four”, hit stores Nov. 17.

But before you roll your eyes, or scream your teenage girl scream hear me out — this is not the old One Direction we know.

One Direction is the pop boy-band comprising of 5 heartthrobs known as Niall Horan (the blonde one), Louis Tomlinson (the oldest and most forgettable one), Liam Payne (the most mature one), Harry Styles (the curly haired one), and my absolute favorite Zayn Malik (the dark haired, mysterious one — although I wish he would cut his hair…), who rose to fame in 2010.

Since then One Direction has become the biggest boy band of all time. You read that right – One Direction is the first billion-dollar boy band. And while they are loved by girls everywhere, they are hated and scoffed at by many boys.

They have had three other hugely successful albums and each album has displayed a major growth in maturity and artistic control by the group, Four is no exception. Four is a refreshingly mature and catchy album that I am completely obsessed with.

The group continues to use their lovable charm to woo their fans, but this time they became the grown-up One Direction I’ve always hoped for — and I bet if you played Four without saying it was 1D, nobody would guess it was them!

Track 1: Steal My Girl

Released Sept. 29, the lead single gave everyone a first glimpse into the new-and-improved 1D. The track begins with a piano rock beat similar to Journey’s “Faithfully” and breaks into one of the catchiest pop songs currently released. The song sticks close to the sound of their last album and gives listeners a first glimpse into the vocal talent of the members – especially with Zayn’s killer high notes for the ending of the song.

Track 2: Ready to Run

Ready to Run” is a charming pop anthem. The boys use the song to declare that, this time, they are ready to run away with the unnamed girl of their dreams. The song continues the more powerful tone of the album but still shows their younger side, talking about “following the sun.”

Track 3: Where Do Broken Hearts Go

A standout track! The song is fast-paced and overly-catchy featuring the boys describing their search for a broken-hearted ex-lover. It is a personal favorite of mine. This track is also one of the tracks where One Direction is almost unrecognizable in comparison to previous works.

Track 4: 18

My absolute favorite track on the album, “18” is a slowed down, acoustic guitar track – similar to “Little Things” from their 2012 album (my old personal favorite). The song shows just how well the boys can sing, and shows their more vulnerable side — that we girls all crave.

Track 5: Girl Almighty

“Girl Almighty” is one of the faster-paced songs on the album. The boys sing about how they have turned to God because they love this girl so much — I guess? It’s somewhat confusing, but that’s what I’m getting from the lyrics “Am I the only believer?” and the suggestion they’ll get down on their knees and pray for her. The cheesiness and childish pace makes me wish they skipped this track entirely.

Track 6: Fool’s Girl

Fool’s Gold” is paced between “18” and “Ready to Run” as a middle ground song. It’s a sweet song where the boys confess their love for a girl who doesn’t truly love them – a relationship made of fool’s gold (get it?). It’s good, but it doesn’t stand out quite like the other tracks. Nonetheless it’s sure to get stuck in your head for days.

Track 7: Night Changes

In “Night Changes,” boys sing about how fast things change – like day to night or changing your outfit. But that will “never change me and you.” Sweet, but boring when track listed right next to the other slow song. They also used some goofy lyrics like “Her mom doesn’t like that kind of dress” which make me cringe (like most of the lyrics from their 2011 debut album). I wish this track was replaced with another — just like “Girl Almighty.”

Track 8: No Control

No Control” is a fast-paced song. The boys sing about who they have lost their control for hiding their feelings. It’s another stand-out track: I can imagine CenturyLink field rocking out next July for their On The Road Again Tour.

Track 9: Fireproof

Fireproof is a mid-paced track describing how their love must be fireproof because it has lasted so long. Doesn’t stand out much, and quite frankly it works as background noise for doing something better. Including this song, 75% of the album was released before the actual release date which might have been hype overkill.

Track 10: Spaces

Starting slow, the song picks up to a catchy sing-along beat. The track doesn’t sound like anything 1D has done before — I almost didn’t recognize them! The song confesses the boys worry over a relationship ending as they are growing distant. Niall and Louis also get equal solo time especially on this song, finally. It’s one of my favorites on the album!

Track 11: Stockholm Syndrome

If you haven’t heard of Stockholm Syndrome, Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where hostages have positive feelings toward their captor. Harry Styles described the song as “basically it’s about a nympho.”  With that description it’s obvious, making this 1D’s first controversial song. And I love it! It’s mature, it’s sexy and it’s exciting! The song shows how much One Direction has grown up since their debut and comes in second place for me, closely behind “18.” To be honest, it’s nice to imagine that they’re singing this one about me.

Track 12: Clouds

The final track on the standard version of the album, “Clouds” is a fast-paced, powerful, almost electro-pop rock song that leaves listeners pounding our fists in the closing. One Direction is literally unrecognizable in this one with the heavy guitar, long vocal notes in the chorus, and the ground-shaking beat that will surely make you want to stand up and jump around! Safe to say, One Direction ends this album on a high note making me crave even more!

Altogether, “Four” is a fantastic album, I would even go as far as to call it one of the best albums of 2014! If you have been a One Direction fan you’ll fall in love with them all over again. And if you’ve always been a One Direction hater give it a shot! Even though the boys, once again, obsessively use love and girls as the album’s subject matter I promise this album is worth everyone’s time!

The deluxe version includes the tracks Change Your Ticket, Illusion, Once in a Lifetime, and Act My Age. The iTunes version includes a Behind the Photo Shoot video and the Japanese Version of the album includes Steal My Girl Big Payno & Aftrhrs Pool Party Remix, Acoustic, and Live from San Siro. Four is now available on iTunes and at all major retailers.

In other news:

Kim Kardashian attempted to break the internet with a fully-nude Paper Magazine photo shoot. Instead, she just became a joke — again.

Diplo tweeted a joke about how little Taylor Swift’s butt is and has started a feud between him, Taylor, and Lorde (who is one of Swift’s best friends).

Taylor Swift also released a music video for her song “Blank Space” using the video to make fun of all the “crazy girlfriend” accusations she gets – but really, the video just showed why she is a musician and not an actress.

Bill Cosby’s lawyer put out a statement on Cosby’s sexual assault allegations, calling them “decades old, discredited allegations” after Cosby responded with complete silence when asked about it in a NPR interview. His alleged victim responded by desperately asking “Why doesn’t anybody believe me?!” and that makes me really sad.

Leonardo di Caprio turned 40, Anne Hathaway turned 32, and Brittany Murphy would have turned 37 this week.

Christina Aguilera performed her iconic hit “Beautiful” at the Breakthrough Prize Awards. It IS her first performance since the birth of her daughter.

Nick Jonas revealed that he wants his fans to have sex to his songs. The fact that he was thinking that totally creeps me out — knowing that his fans used to be little 8 year old girls watching Disney channel. ◼︎

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