Friday, August 14th, 2015

One Direction – Drag Me Down

First single since the departure of the Sweet Voiced One.


Nina Lea Oishi: The lyrics of “Drag Me Down” come off as a direct response to the latest circumstances: gratitude to the fans (“All my life / you stood by me”) and a reassurance that, no, this is not the end of 1D (“With your love / nobody can drag me down”). But that’s the group’s area of expertise—-pandering to its fans with well-crafted pop that plays like the romantic, preteen musical equivalent of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story. Still, “Drag Me Down” feels different—-it’s a lot punchier than their last single, the sugary “Night Changes” ballad. It also sounds like Fall Out Boy. Sure, 1D has always paid its dues to rock, rather than ape the synchronized dance moves of, say, the Backstreet Boys. Unfortunately, “Drag Me Down” seems more derivative than exciting, lacking some kind of spark.

Thomas Inskeep: I’m sold from the first listen: this is an awesome franken-single, whose most obvious parents are The Police (“Message In A Bottle”) and Maroon 5 (cf. “Sugar,” not “Moves Like Jagger”). You can pick out other pieces of musical DNA as well. 1D is figuring out how to not only grow up with their audience, but to appeal beyond the traditional boy band audience (Backstreet did it, NKOTB couldn’t). Nicely done. 

Scott Mildenhall: Even if this wasn’t rushed, it sounds it. Every prior introductory single to a One Direction album has felt like it had a wide angle: big plans, big sentiments or big sounds. This could easily be an album track. At worst, it’s like someone misread “defiant” as “defeat”. It’s a trudge, and for all the raised voices, there’s zero urgency. Competent is often one of the main words that come to mind for One Direction’s music, but it’s rarely sounded so unambitious.

Edward Okulicz: The best part of growing up as a boy band is that as your fans get older they’re more likely to buy your records with their own money. The flipside here is that youthful individuality and energy has faded and the drops sound like everyone else’s; growing up is, frankly, boring a lot of the time.

Alfred Soto: Four moved from strength to strength, an album with deep cuts with surprising choruses juiced by five distinct and discrete vocals; the arena rock Def Leppard moves of Midnight Memories had metamorposed into songs that dipped and soared on the strength of unusual conceits. Best Band Ever, as far as I was concerned. Awash in subtext that I don’t give a shit about, “Drag Me Down” sounds like the Maroon 5 template circa “Harder to Breathe” improved: two-note guitar riff, claps, massed vocals with hooks up front. Their first OK moment since 2011. Blame my disgust towards self-empowerment.

Reader average: [6.5] (6 votes)

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4 Responses to “One Direction – Drag Me Down”

  1. There were 12 blurbs on “Night Changes,” which I think nearly definitively proves that The Singles Jukebox does not care about these muppets without Zayn

  2. I wish I coulda etc, but Nina is right: this smacks of Fall Out Boy.

  3. #bringbackzayn

  4. You can hear every spot where Zayn is missing or where he might do it better. Perhaps if they’d swapped the supposed-to-be-climactic ending so that Liam did all the ad libs instead of Harry, it might sound better. As it is, the song ends on a rather croaky and miserable whimper rather than a triumphant bang.

    Which seems oddly appropriate given that this band is thankfully not long for the world (for at least a year).