All over the world, One Direction fans are anxiously counting down the minutes until the band’s fifth album, Made In The A.M., arrives on their doorsteps and in their iTunes libraries. It’s an album shrouded with bittersweet anticipation: in the months following its release, the band plans to take a hiatus, and though they’ve promised to return eventually, their absence will be deeply felt — especially because fans have come to expect an album and a tour from them every year for the past five years (which is exactly why a break is so well-deserved).
One Direction have been steadily dropping new MITAM tracks over the past couple weeks to whet our appetites, but listening to the album as a whole puts all those songs in context and ultimately makes them more meaningful. Take, for instance, the rootsy singalong “History.” 1D released the song on Nov. 6, prompting an outpouring of emotional responses from fans who latched onto lyrics like “this is not the end” and “we can live forever.” As the song that closes out the standard edition of MITAM, “History” carries a lot of weight. 1D were probably mindful that track No. 13 would have to be a fitting curtain-closer — and they couldn’t have picked a better or more poignant goodbye (or "see you later" -- hiatuses aren't forever!) than “History.”
Littered with hand claps and campfire singalong vibes, “History” is both nostalgic and forward-looking at the same time. The guys recount memories of “mini bars, expensive cars, hotel rooms and new tattoos,” and even acknowledge “all of the rumors, all of the fights” that have followed them throughout the years. But ultimately, this song is about being one half of “the greatest team” and one of the most unstoppable forces in the world: a band and their fans.
We know One Direction are perfectly capable of moving listeners to tears with sensitive ballads like “You & I” and “Spaces.” But they shine brightest when they channel the joyfulness and boyishness that made music lovers fall in love with them in the first place. So instead of commemorating their relationship with their fans via a sappy ballad, Harry, Liam, Louis and Niall have gifted us a spirited song that’s optimistic and reassuring — it doesn’t get more triumphant than the chorus’ closing line: “We can live forever!”
When all is said and sung, One Direction’s legacy will be that they made people happy. Their music has delighted and healed millions of fans all over the world who rely on these guys to make them dance, make them feel loved and ultimately make them feel a little less alone by giving them a welcoming community to be a part of. For many 1D fans, this band gave them a ton of memories: their first CD, their first concert, their first celeb crush. They’ll move on to love other bands in 1D’s absence; they might even decide they’re not into pop music anymore and move on to other genres. But One Direction will always be an intricate part of their own personal “history” — and that’s something worth celebrating.