One Direction are back, and while you could argue the British boy band never actually left, they are causing hearts all over the world to flutter with their new single, “Steal My Girl,” from their aptly named fourth album, Four. In their fourth year together since their formation on the UK X Factor (anyone else sensing a pattern here?), Harry, Niall, Louis, Zayn and Liam have an older, more mature sound as they look set to take on the world, again.
It goes without saying that fans will love 1D’s latest musical offering. It is catchy, simple, and perfect for grooving along to in the car or in front of the mirror. With lyrics like “Find another one ‘cause she belongs to me,” the lad’s commitment to their ‘girl’ and expression that, “I don’t exist if I don’t have her,” means tweens will be more in love with the band than ever.
Beginning with a slightly 80s rock sound, it is evident “Steal My Girl” is indicative of a new direction for the boys in One Direction (I didn’t plan that pun, I promise). The heavy keyboard and echo layered with a steady beat means it still contains the pop sensibilities we have come to love, but it exudes a newfound confidence from the band. Cutting the instrumental nearly completely to sing the verses, there is a focus on the intensity behind albeit, predictable lyrics.
As the song continues, it takes the boys vocals to raise the mood of the tune and bring it to a new level. With a simple chord progression, we see a maturity in the band as they begin to sing above and around the melody. This also gives a chance for individual members to show off their vocal skills, and it is clear that however pop these boys might be, they are definitely talented and have the chops to deliver some of the most well-known pop songs in the world.
Bringing in an acoustic guitar in verse two, the song becomes more contemporary and less cliché 80s pop. The welcome use of their trademark “Na na na,” stamps their unique brand on the song, and the pure pop sound minus the use of heavy electric guitar and drums keeps them in their lane rather than diverging into a sound akin to Five Seconds of Summer.
In many ways, “Steal My Girl” could be better. A dynamic melody, or perhaps a greater gusto, would lift it to the same place as their breakout hit, “What Makes You Beautiful.” And while the lyrics will sell, they are cliché, unoriginal and possessive (pardon me while my inner Feminist comes out). To 1D’s credit though, this tune is delivering exactly what fans want, and because of that, it will be a hit.