By Payton Brooks, staff writer
One Direction released their fifth studio album “Made in the A.M.” in November. It is a step away from the bubblegum pop that began their careers, yet it still pays homage to the sounds that made them famous.
“Made in the A.M.” was released on November 13 and includes 17 tracks. This is the first album produced by the group since the departure of Zayn Malik in late March, leaving Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles as the remaining members. Fans were devastated at his decision to quit the band which formed in 2010 on that season of “The X Factor.” Listeners wondered if they would look for another fifth singer to replace Malik, but the boys decided to stay as a four piece.
Malik left another important question for the group to figure out: Who would hit the high notes once he left? As proven with two of the first three singles “Drag Me Down” and “Perfect,” Styles is up for the task. He expertly fills the gap left behind and adds his own personal touch to the songs. “Drag Me Down” was released on July 31 with no previous announcement or promotion. Shortly after, they released “Infinity” as a promotional single for their album.
Five months after Malik announced he was leaving, the rest of the band stated that they would take a year-long break starting in March of 2016 to focus on individual projects. This fact makes the album bittersweet, as it could be the last one the band ever produces.
Local One Direction fanatic Stefanie Arblaster loves the new works, saying they made her “want to scream” with joy. Her favorite track is “If I Could Fly,” which talks about young lovers and their struggles. She is not the only one who values the record. Sophomore Jen Galt said, ”It’s a quality album, and I’m glad that Harry really put his best foot forward in this one,” and freshman Kassie Boyd described it as beautiful. Boyd also said, “I miss Zayn, but it’s still good,” which is a popular opinion among longtime listeners.
“Made in the A.M.” is a fun listen for fans of the genre and the band alike, and the boys proved that they can be successful after Malik’s departure.