Sure, One Direction, the hugely well-known British boy band, has been playing concerts for months together a four-piece adhering to the headline-generating exit of Zayn Malik, who stated in March the he needed “some private time the end of the spotlight.” yet when I observed the team recently in ~ Qualcomm stadium in san Diego — the an initial North American day of a people tour the began before Malik split — what win me was how little the present was doing to acknowledge the band’s fresh configuration.

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None that One Direction’s continuing to be members stated a word around their previous mate, and none of the music or staging appeared to have actually been to update in Malik’s absence. The power felt like one of those doctored family members photos native which somebody’s ex-husband has been crudely chopped.

You obtain a clearer snapshot of tomorrow’s One Direction from the band’s new single, “Drag Me Down,” which appeared online late last week and, according to Spotify, collection a record for the most streams in a single day top top that organization with more than 4.75 million. (It vaulted instantly to No. 1 on apple Music too.) and despite those superior statistics, the future looks surprisingly modest.

The first taste indigenous the group’s fifth studio album, promised in November, “Drag Me Down” division from One Direction’s developed tradition the splashy introductions; the decidedly smaller-scaled than “Steal my Girl,” the swaggering lead reduced from last year’s “Four,” or the mock-heroic “Best tune Ever,” indigenous 2013’s “Midnight Memories.”

Sonically, we’re usually talking about a midtempo pop-rock jam with springy guitars the recall the Police (or, if we’re being less charitable, the tape Magic! in that 2014 struggle “Rude”). Lyrically, “Drag Me Down” beginning out together velvety word soup -- “I acquired a flow for a soul, and baby you a boat,” sings Harry styles -- before solidifying right into an ode come a steadfast lover that “stood by me when no one rather was ever before behind me.”

Those attributes nod come other developed 1D traditions: knowing rips from other artists’ song (such as “Best song Ever’s” near-duplication that the synth riff indigenous “Baba O’Riley” by the Who) and also lyrics that fans could plausibly conclude room really about them. But in the past, One Direction flexed those aspects with a win audacity: “Stockholm Syndrome,” because that instance, it s okay downright kinky in that winking summary of gift tied under by a shadowy hostage-taker.

And there was something almost confrontational around the warmth soft-rock structure of tracks like “Night Changes” and also “Fireproof,” together though Styles and also his bandmates were baiting anti-teen-pop species convinced the a boy band couldn’t probably sound so much like the vaunted Fleetwood Mac. (Sorry, grumps: This boy band can.)

The grown-up vibe the “Drag Me Down,” in contrast, carries no together charge; it’s much more or less what you’d expect from a band of four good-looking white guys in the age of Coldplay and also Imagine Dragons, down to the vaguely EDM-ish pre-chorus. In a statement, One Direction’s label said the track “showcases a an ext mature One Direction sound,” and perhaps it is the only play obtainable to a formerly baby-faced group with at the very least one member, luigi Tomlinson, reportedly collection to end up being a father.

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Still, it’s simple to wonder if some of the trademark excited in One Direction’s music slipped out in addition to Malik, who for years seemed to offer as this outfit’s JC Chasez to Styles’ Justin Timberlake. Walk Malik have actually a record in him together appealingly freaky together Chasez’s “Schizophrenic,” which that ‘N Sync member released in 2004? quickly we’ll uncover out: critical week, simply days before “Drag Me Down” appeared, Malik announced top top Twitter the he’d signed a solo resolve which that intends come “show you that i yes, really am.” (So much for that longed-for private time.)

Then again, maybe we’re far better off looking for thrills currently from One Direction’s proteges in 5 secs of Summer. Opening-act veterans of numerous 1D tours, these very closely scrappy pop-punk guys broke out critical year through a self-titled debut full of crunchy guitars and also bad-boy come-ons like the one in their biggest hit: “You look therefore perfect standing over there in my American Apparel underwear.”

Yet nothing around 5 secs of Summer led me to intend the Australian tape to return, together it go in mid-July, v “She’s Kinda Hot,” a delightfully insolent fist-pumper the outdoes “Drag Me Down” in virtually every way. The funnier, catchier and more shameless in that cribbing (in this situation of the central riff native Weezer’s “Pork and Beans”).