November 17, 2014
On September 8, 2014, One Direction announced the release of their fourth album, Four, on the Today Show. The band members, along with the band's official account, then tweeted about Fireproof. On November 17, 2014 they announced new song No Control.
No Control is a significant track for several reasons. It features Louis Tomlinson on primary lead vocal for the chorus, a first for him. Tomlinson co-wrote the song with Liam Payne. No Control features overtly sexual lyrics. Like many tracks on the FOUR album, its frank lyrical discussion of sex marks a clear transition into a more mature sound for the band. It is also notable for the global social media campaign it inspired.
On August 16, 2015, No Control became the first non-single to ever win a Teen Choice Award.
Project No Control
In May 2015, fans worldwide began to promote No Control online, as if it were an official single. The idea came about due to frustration with harsh words exchanged in an online fight between Louis Tomlinson, producer Naughty Boy and former One Direction member Zayn Malik. During the fight, Naughty Boy implied Louis was a subpar performer. Fans also felt the FOUR album was not receiving the public recognition or exposure it deserved, with only two singles released, and their current tour at the time barely featuring any songs from the album.The online campaign was called #ProjectNoControl or #NoControlDay. Using social media, millions of people tweeted, texted and called radio stations all over the world. Radio responded positively and began playing the track within 24 hours of the campaign starting. In less than a week, No Control had been played on over 60 stations worldwide, including BBC Radio 1 and Z100 New York. The song was also the top trending topic on Billboard's twitter chart, and, at one point, the entire Four album made the chart as well. Many media companies, such as MTV, showed their support in various ways. Several media publications wrote articles on the project and a Polish TV station reported it on their evening news show. Billboard added No Control to their annual "Song of the Summer" poll after it received thousands of votes, despite non-singles usually not being eligible for the list. The song reached #1 on iTunes in Sweden, Finland and Greece.
Louis Tomlinson spoke about the band's appreciation of the project on The Late Late Show with James Corden and commended the fanbase for unifying in such a short amount of time. Tomlinson also spoke again about the project at the 2015 Billboard Awards. Throughout the campaign, Tomlinson tweeted his support and thanks, and followed various radio DJs who played the song on Twitter.
A summary of the project can be viewed in the video link.
No Control was officially added to the On The Road Again Tour setlist on June 13, 2015, in Brussels, Belgium. Louis regularly thanked fans before each performance of the song, for their participation in Project No Control.
During one concert, Liam told the crowd the song was one of the last they finished writing for FOUR, and was the most difficult song to complete.
The song was performed during One Direction's Summer Concert Series for Good Morning America on August 4, 2015, in New York. It aired a few months later, with the words "loaded gun" censored.