Midnight Memories

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This article is about the album. For the song, see Midnight Memories (song).
Midnight Memories
Studio album by One Direction
Released 25 November 2013 (2013-11-25)
Recorded 2013
Genre Pop, folk, pop rock
Length 48:22
Label Columbia, Syco
Producer Julian Bunetta, Carl Falk, Tom Fletcher, Teddy Geiger, Danny Jones, Jacknife Lee, Dougie Poynter, Matt Rad, John Ryan, Jamie Scott, Toby Smith, Ryan Tedder
One Direction chronology
  • Midnight Memories
  • (2013)
Where We Are
(2014)
Singles from Midnight Memories
  1. "Best Song Ever"
    Released: 22 July 2013
  2. "Story of My Life"
    Released: 28 October 2013
  3. "Midnight Memories"
    Released: 9 March 2014
  4. "You & I"
    Released: 18 April 2014

Midnight Memories is the third studio album by British-Irish boy band One Direction, released on 25 November 2013 by Columbia Records, Syco Music and Sony Music. The album was described as having a "slightly rockier tone" than their previous efforts.[1] It has become the fastest-selling album in Amazon UK's history, breaking the record set by One Direction's previous release, Take Me Home (2012).[2] The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, making One Direction the first group in history to debut at number one in the US with their first three albums.[3] The album was preceded by the release of the singles "Best Song Ever" and "Story of My Life".

Upon the album's release, Midnight Memories received mixed reviews from music critics. Many critics praised the lyrical depth and musical composition on the album, as well as the group's level of involvement in the production process. However, others argued that the material was not as catchy as their previous work, believing it was "forgettable" and "not special" and felt the themes were not as mature as expected.[4] Despite being released five weeks before the year's end, Midnight Memories nevertheless became the best-selling album of 2013 as listed by the IFPI, with sales of four million copies.[5]

Background and development[edit]

One Direction began working on their third studio album whilst embarking on their second international tour, the Take Me Home Tour. The album was announced simultaneously with the news of the band's third world tour, the Where We Are Tour, which subsequently led fans to wrongly assume that the album title would be named Where We Are.[6] Member Louis Tomlinson proclaimed that the album would have a "rockier" sound to it than the band's previous releases.[1] The official title of the album was announced on 6 September 2013, starting with Zayn Malik tweeting a teaser video of Harry Styles spelling out the word "Mid" out of a pile of alphabet cards on the floor, followed by a full video posted on the band's Instagram account later on, revealing the title, Midnight Memories.[7][8]

The album artwork was released early exclusively by The Sun via a tweet which was then confirmed to be the official artwork through the band's official Twitter account, though the early access was only available for those who held a membership of the newspaper's online version.[9][10] On 11 October, the band presented the album's final track list through the "#MidnightMemoriesTrackQuiz" hashtag on Twitter by giving out a mixture of hints and blank spaces to be filled alongside the final result.[11] The full track list for the deluxe edition was later shown on iTunes.[12]

Singles[edit]

"Best Song Ever" was released on 22 July 2013 as the official lead single from the album. The track peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart. Its music video beat the Vevo record for most viewers within 24 hours on YouTube, clocking in at 12.3 million views, beating the previous record set by Miley Cyrus for "We Can't Stop", which held 10.7 million views in 24 hours.[13]

"Story of My Life" was released on 28 October 2013 as the second single from the album.[14] The track premiered on 25 October 2013, playing at 16:00 GST on radio stations across the world[15] and debuted at number four on the UK Singles Chart, despite holding the number one position on the midweek chart and continuing to lead until Saturday of that week. The song eventually peaked at number 2. The video was released on 3 November 2013.

"Midnight Memories", was announced as the third single from the album on 24 January 2014.[16][17]

"You & I" was serviced to U.S. radio on 15 April 2014 as the album's fourth single.[18][19]

Other songs[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number one on the Irish Albums Chart and number two on the Dutch Albums Chart. On 29 November 2013, it was announced that it had become the fastest-selling album of 2013 in the UK, with 187,660 copies sold in four days.[20] It was revealed on 1 December 2013, that the album had sold in excess of 237,000 copies in its first week in the UK, beating Gary Barlow's Since I Saw You Last, and becoming the fastest selling album in the UK since Michael Bublé's Christmas in December 2011, as well as outperforming One Direction's two previous albums Up All Night (2011) and Take Me Home (2012).[21] It became the best-selling album of 2013 in the UK with 685,000 copies sold for the year.[22]

In the United States, Midnight Memories debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 546,000 copies sold.[23] This made One Direction the first group in Billboard 200 history to debut at No. 1 with its first three albums, and the first to reach No. 1 with its first three albums since 1967. The album sold 1,096,000 copies in five weeks in the United States, making it the twelfth best-selling album of 2013 in the United States.[24]

Midnight Memories also debuted at numbers one and two on the ARIA Albums Chart and the New Zealand Albums Chart, and was certified Platinum and Gold, respectively, in its first week. The album went on to sell over 60,000 copies in Mexico after only three days, being certified Platinum.[25]

Despite being released towards the year's end, Midnight Memories nevertheless became the best-selling album of 2013 worldwide according to the IFPI, with sales of over four million copies in only 5 weeks.[5]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 59/100[26]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[27]
The A.V. Club B–[28]
Entertainment Weekly B–[29]
The Independent 2/5 stars[30]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[31]
The Observer 3/5 stars[32]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[33]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[34]
Spin 6/10[35]
Sputnikmusic 2/5[36]
USA Today 3/4 stars[37]

Upon its release, Midnight Memories received mixed reviews from music critics and publications.[38][39] Brian Mansfield from USA Today awarded it three stars out of four, saying "Midnight uses classic rock as a color the way last year's Take Me Home used electronic dance music. "[40] Kitty Empire from The Observer believe that, with the material, "This album does the job, in more ways than one."[41] Tim Sendra from AllMusic gave the album 4 stars out of 5, saying that "anyone expecting there to be any kind of drop in quality, or early warnings that the group had begun their inevitable decline, will be happily surprised that not only does the album satisfy the established quota of thrilling modern pop tracks and uplifting ballads, but also introduces some interesting new directions". He praised the bold decision to evolve the band's sound, and its results, concluding that the record "ends up as another satisfying album that does everything a One D album should do and then some."[42]

However, some were less enthusiastic. Many critics argued the absence of their previous work, deeming it "not special" and "forgettable" and some felt it was too mature for their core audience and didn't come off as mature as expected through their themes. Jim Farber from Daily News gave it three stars out of five. Though he "The rest sounds much like any goo from the guys. Older O.D. fans may have already OD'd on this style. But there probably are just enough newbies to extend the band's brand for this small window before the next thing comes along.", he believed the group progressed a too-mature image for their core audience, saying "One Direction must reconcile this range with their own growth spurts. On their debut CD, "[Up All Night]," they looked like zygotes. For their third and latest disc, "[Midnight Memories]," they very nearly appear like men. That's a big change in just three years."[43]

Track listing[edit]

The track listing was announced via the band's Twitter account on 11 October 2013.[44] Where the bonus tracks appear as additional tracks in international territories, the British release finds them on a separate four-track bonus disc.[45] Unlike any other release of the album, the Japanese version includes "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)", as well as two further bonus tracks. An exclusive review of the album posted by The Sun on 17 November listed writing credits of many of the tracks.[46]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Best Song Ever"  
3:20
2. "Story of My Life"  
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
4:05
3. "Diana"  
  • Ryan
  • Bunetta
  • Scott
  • Tomlinson
  • Payne
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
3:05
4. "Midnight Memories"  
  • Bunetta
  • Scott
  • Ryan
  • Tomlinson
  • Payne
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
2:56
5. "You & I"  
  • Bunetta
  • Scott
  • Ryan
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
3:58
6. "Don't Forget Where You Belong"  
  • Jones
  • Fletcher
  • Poynter
4:01
7. "Strong"  
  • Tomlinson
  • Ryan
  • Scott
  • Bunetta
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
3:04
8. "Happily"   2:55
9. "Right Now"  
  • Tedder
  • Gosling[b]
3:20
10. "Little Black Dress"  
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
  • Geiger
2:35
11. "Through the Dark"  
  • Scott
  • Smith
  • Ryan[c]
3:41
12. "Something Great"   Lee 3:56
13. "Little White Lies"  
  • Payne
  • Tomlinson
  • Bunetta
  • Drewett
  • Ryan
  • Hector
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
3:17
14. "Better Than Words"  
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
  • Tomlinson
  • Payne
  • Scott
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
3:30
Notes
  • ^[a] signifies a vocal producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional vocal producer
  • ^[c] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[d] signifies a co-producer

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format(s) Edition(s)
Australia[122] 25 November 2013
  • Standard
  • Deluxe
Canada[123]
France[124]
Germany[125]
Italy[126]
Turkey[127]
United Kingdom[128]
United States[129]
Spain[130] 26 November 2013
Poland[131]
Japan[132] 27 November 2013
China[133] 10 March 2014 CD Deluxe

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