In terms of a music industry clichés the ‘difficult third album’ is right up there.
Now as One Direction announce a mega World stadium tour it’s their turn to tackle that difficult milestone.
At the Wembley press conference to announce next year’s tour they revealed they are working on the third album and went so far as to describe it as edgier.
Louis Tomlinson said: “There will be a new album this year with a rockier and edgier tone to it.”
Liam Payne added: “We’ve written a lot of the songs on it. It’s a bit more edgy. It’s grown as we’ve grown.”
So what can we expect? Thrash metal? Alternative rock? In terms of long-term survival the lads clearly recognize they will have to mature to keep their mid-teen fans who by next year could be into something new. But at the same time it is important to keep the younger fans happy at the same time.
No news has leaked out in terms of songwriting help. Singer songwriter Ed Sheeran co-wrote the hit Little Things and the songs Moments and Over Again for One Direction. But he recently claimed that the band’s new album is almost finished after that he hasn’t submitted any songs for it.
He said: “I’ve actually kind of cut myself from giving any people songs at the moment, because I want to make my album.”
Does this mean the boys have tackled song-writing duties themselves in a hark back to 60s boy band The Monkees who demanded control for their third album Headquarters in 1967.
While The Monkees seized musical control it is a myth they seized songwriting control. Guitarist Mike Nesmith had a few notable songs on the album and Mickey Dolenz the infamous Randy Scouse Git, but the rest of the tunes were contributed by top writers of the time.
Kylie Minogue had a misguided flirtation with alt-rock before coming back to reclaim her pop crown. Miley Cyrus took the hard country rock route after pop stardom while Taylor Swift successfully moved from country to pop.
What can we expect from One Direction? We can only wait and see but with accomplished guitarist in Niall and input from four others with a lot of time on their hands waiting in hotel rooms and airports original material will be on the cards.
What we do know is that Justin Young from The Vaccines has been jamming with Niall Horan and Harry Styles and went so far as to describe them as writers.
He told MTV recently that he found the pair “exciting” and went on to say: “They are both natural. I love writing songs and love pop music, so the process was exciting. I don’t think they are going for a heavier, indie sound. Maybe it’s damaged my credibility, but it wasn’t The Vaccines who wrote for them, it was me, so I doubt it’s damaged the band’s.”