Made In The A.M.

Performed live at Serving The Sentence March 2019

“All my favorite conversations are always made in the A.M.” I sat right there and wrote this sentence on February 12 and submitted it to the show. I never thought it would get picked! There was a good size crowd! I just wrote it because I was self conscious about not submitting. I like to be included and I like to include myself. 

I submitted the sentence for the show I’m participating in. And for that I’m sorry. I contemplated whether or not to tell you all but then my Irish guilt got the best of me (it is Lent and Paddys day is on Sunday). I realized I had to explain myself.

I’ve always wanted an excuse to talk about “Made In The A.M.” My favorite One Direction album and I guess it was selfish by submitting this lyric but first of all I’m a Gemini sun/ Leo Rising so I am of course selfish by nature and second of all it came to me when we were prompted for a sentence to start a story. I also thought other people could make it work because the song is sort of a universal story about how you make some of your best connections with people talking deep into the night, or “the A.M.”

Niall, Liam, Louis and Harry all wrote the song together along with some other writers and it closes their last album as a band. Fun Fact– it’s also the only song One Direction “swears” I’m doing air quotes for the podcast listeners.  I won’t sing it, anddddd you’re welcome for that!

“Won’t you stay ’til the A.M.?
All my favourite conversations
Always made in the A.M
‘Cause we don’t know what we’re saying
We’re just swimmin’ ’round in our glasses
And talkin’ out of our asses
Like we’re all gonna make it, yeah yeah” 

The irony of the biggest band to come out of the UK in the 21st century singing about “Making it” always makes me tear up. You can’t deny the comparisons to The Most Beloved Band In The History of the World– The Beatles. Had One Direction stayed together I could and WOULD argue that they would have become even bigger than they were in the first half of the 2010s. By the end of their time as a band they were making songs like A.M. and the boys were writing a lot of the songs themselves. They’ve said in interviews how they felt inspired by Fleetwood Mac and other bands of the 70s and 80s. They were owning their authenticity and showcasing it in songs on “Made In The A.M.” and I know that would’ve been appreciated in a Post-Obama Administration world. That’s what we’re all looking for as artists, right? Authenticity? 

This band, or “The Boys” as they’re known to their fan base came out of the UK X Factor and hit it big in England before coming to the states. I first became aware of them on tumblr during their X Factor run and then when they performed on SNL in 2012 I became a STAN! The boys all auditioned separately on X Factor and were all eliminated until Simon Cowell–X factor Judge, American Idol Judge, and Spice Girls creator decided to team the five boys up for the competition. They came in third place in the X Factor but went on to huge success in the UK and eventually the states and the world.

If you get the chance I’d recommend their 2013 documentary This Is Us, it’s very well done. Morgan Spurlock–the guy from Super Size me filmed the boys preparing for and on tour. You get some great glimpse into their personalities. At one point Harry and Niall talk about how Zayn almost didn’t show up to their first rehearsal. Harry jokes “Good thing he showed up or Niall would have to be the mysterious one”. I always loved their self awareness, something they showcased in later songs like “Perfect” which Harry wrote about dating Taylor Swift.  

So at this point I was a sophomore in college and well past what I thought were my Boy Band days. I’m old enough that I experienced the *Nsync & Backstreet Boys days. I saw both live in concert– *Nsync in their glory days and then Backstreet Boys on one of their comeback tours.

Also, I’ve never really connected with male artists, I’ve enjoyed their music but I was never a full fledged Stan in the way I loved girls like My Holy Trinity–Britney, Beyonce and Gaga. I’m a girls girl which is middle school circa 2006 language for Feminist and men are hashtag disappointing. But there was something so special about One Direction. They were mostly younger than me so I felt sort of paternal towards them? Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some pretty not paternal dreams about Harry Styles but I never felt anything more for any of the other boys except defensive. They don’t dance. That’s a thing in the extended fandom that we love about them. It somehow makes them more loveable because they aren’t trying to be something they’re not.

1D gave me an outlet in college to just enjoy some teenage boys singing pop songs like their first hit “What Makes You beautiful” that begins “You’re insecure, don’t know what for….You don’t know you’re beautiful, that’s what makes you beautiful” 

While there’s obviously some mildly problematic word usage in that song that made me fall in love with 1D it isn’t that song I go back to when I’m in a “1D mood”. It’s their later stuff, the stuff they actually were a part of writing that draws me back three plus years after their “indefinite hiatus” (I’m doing air quotes again for the podcast listeners). It’s honestly songs on their final fifth and so far final album “Made In The AM” that keep me coming back. Rolling Stone said “Made in the AM is 1D’s Let It Be — the kind of record the world’s biggest pop group makes when it’s time to say thanks for the memories”. So don’t get mad at me for comparing 1D to your beloved Beatles earlier–Rolling Stone did it first! 

Although I have never seen them live I feel like I’ve participated in the fandom online in such a way that is like very real. I’ve met friends on tumblr via 1D and I often talk to my real life friends about “the boys”. Whether they’ll come back, whether they can recapture the magic, whether we can recapture the magic of our teen years. I always felt kind of embarrassed of my love of One Direction, they’re no Sufjan Stevens who all my college friends fawned over and loved. 

In 2017 Harry said the following to Rolling Stone “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans – they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.”

Harry has always been my favorite member, since the moment I saw his floppy curls on a gif on tumblr in 2011. He has this pirate quality about him– he wears a lot of jewelry and he seems to live by a specific moral code. Most people aren’t exactly looking for moral codes in their pop stars but I guess I am? I love what he had to say about young female fans and I agree wholeheartedly. I understand The Boys had to take time after doing five albums in five years to try out being solo artists and I support all of them! Except Zayn who left the band after 4 albums but I won’t get into that! 

In AM the boys sing “Feels like this could be forever tonight, break these clocks, forget about time. There could be World War Three going on outside…Feels like this could be forever right now, don’t want to sleep cause we’re dreaming out loud. Trying to behave but you know we never learned how.” 

As someone know never really learned how to behave I find these lyrics hyper relatable. Sometimes I’ll drive home late at night, maybe even in the AM and I’ll roll down my windows (weather permitting) and blast “AM” for all to hear. I do sing in my car and I don’t apologize. It’s one of the only times I feel like I can be myself. I’m just feel free to be me and One Direction is a huge part of that for me. They came to me in a dark time in college when I didn’t know what I was doing, I was “swimming round in my glasses and talking out of my ass(es)” doing internships in the wrong field and basically living a lie. But when One Direction comes up, usually at parties late into the night. I can be myself. I can be my lucky self that I was as a child that got her sentence picked for this show. I can be real. I can be authentic. Because all my favorite conversations are always Made In the AM.

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