Four is pop rock band One Direction’s fourth studio album. It was released on November 17, 2014. Four reached #1 in 67 countries and garnered the band some of the best reviews of their career so far. After it debuted at #1 in the USA, One Direction became the first band ever to have all four of their albums debut in the top spot. It was the 9th best selling album in the US in 2014 and has sold over 3.2 million copies worldwide since 2014. On August 13, 2015, Billboard announced the album had sold over a million copies in the USA
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Writing for the album primarily took place during the Where We Are world tour, and recording sometimes took place in the hotels the band were staying at between concerts. In a leaked video of Zayn and Louis from May 2014, Zayn can be heard singing the chorus to Stockholm Syndrome, which means writing or production may have begun in early 2014.
The album release was announced on September 8, along with a free download of a track from the album called Fireproof.
First single Steal My Girl was released September 29, 2014 and the music video featured Hollywood actor Danny Devito. Second single Night Changes was released on November 14th. Album tracks Fool’s Gold, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, 18, Ready To Run, Girl Almighty and No Control were put onto the official One Direction Vevo Youtube channel on November 17th. Act My Age, Stockholm Syndrome, Change Your Ticket, Once In a Lifetime, Illusion and Clouds were also released to YouTube offiically on November 18th. On November 21st, the audio for Spaces was released in the same manner.
It was believed Where Do Broken Hearts Go would become a single, after the band all claimed it to be a favorite of theirs, and it was performed on X Factor with Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. It also received moderate radio airplay but was ultimately never released.
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On September 29, 2014, the lead single “Steal My Girl” was released. It was a top 20 single around the world.
On October 29, 2014, the name of the second and final single, “Night Changes”, was released on an interview with BBC. It was a top 30 single around the world and was performed by the band at numerous awards shows.
On September 8, 2014, a track titled “Fireproof” was released for free off the band’s website for 24 hours only. “Fireproof” was released as a promotional single for the album and was downloaded 1.1 million times.
There were five other promotional singles released on five different days; when fans pre-ordered the album, they received an instant download of the songs. “Ready to Run” was released as the first promotional single on 6 November. “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” was released as the second promotional single on 10 November. “18” was released as the third promotional single on 11 November. “Girl Almighty” was released as the fourth promotional single on 12 November. “Fool’s Gold” was released as the fifth promotional single on 13 November.
In May 2015, fans around the world tweeted requests to radio stations to play unreleased album track No Control. This was an attempt to emphasise the singing voice and songwriting talent of Louis Tomlinson, who fans felt was often treated unfairly by management and certain music industry figures. Louis sings lead vocal on the track which is unconventional for him. Fans also felt the album had not been promoted fairly, and wanted to showcase the band’s more mature, rock-based sound. The sheer number of requests was so overwhelming that stations began to air the song, with some adding it to their playlists and rotation. At the project’s peak, after about 7 days heavy campaigning, over 60 stations worldwide had aired the song, and the band thanked fans numerous times afterward for their efforts. Louis Tomlinson dubbed the project a “fan release”.