Spectator Music presents: the album that changed my life — Up All Night

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 at 5:01 PM
Spectator Music presents: the album that changed my life — Up All Night by Erica Burkholder

One Direction’s songs and fame came as I was an awkward middle schooler in love with a boy who would eventually break my heart. 

I haven’t met anyone that really enjoyed middle school, and honestly, I didn’t either, but One Direction was this bright spot in my life; they gave me things to talk about with the older fans in my school, and they gave me the sense that I wasn’t alone in the world. I’m from a small, rural farm town, and I grew up listening to old country music (not that there’s an issue with that) with splashes of classic rock that I didn’t really care for at the time. One Direction was huge and they had fans everywhere, fans that I interacted with on social media, fans that I saw every time I ventured into a bigger town or city. They gave me the first inklings of the idea that I do not have to be like those around me, that I don’t have to follow the norm around me. 

The irony of pop music teaching me it’s okay to be different is not lost on me, but country music was the norm for my small town. Me feeling different about music would let me see that it’s okay to feel different about other subjects, even political ones. 

Choosing which album changed me the most was difficult; there are many songs across all of their albums that spoke to me years ago and still do. There are many songs that carry some of my best memories, but One Direction’s debut album is what made it all possible. 

“What Makes You Beautiful” is the opening song of the album and likely the most well-known track, though it’s almost completely unique in regards to the rest of the running time. The smash hit is a poppy serenade that sent the group to stardom and is one of the first songs I heard by them. 

Another one of the album’s happy songs, titled “Up All Night,” takes on a completely different sound, skewing more to party track than serenade. Most of the songs are upbeat or composed in a way to avoid sadness, yet are still full of angst. It’s angst over relationships gone wrong, going wrong or unrequited love, something I could definitely relate to in middle school.

“More Than This” is the song that caught my attention the most as a middle schooler in love. The song talks about being in love with someone close to them, while not being able to do anything but watch as they date someone else. 

“Moments” is another angsty and emotional track slowed way down, at least by pop standards. Written by Ed Sheeran, “Moments” is one of the songs you can actually hear genuine emotion in. The song eventually led me to Ed Sheeran, a singer-songwriter that I adore (along with a good size of the population). 

One Direction empowered me to think differently than my small town, and to this day, I brighten when hearing the cowbell in “What Makes You Beautiful,” or any of their other defining songs. One Direction helped me through my middle school and some high school years and that’s all I think you can ask of a album: to help you in some way. 

Erica Burkholder can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

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