A personal retrospective on One Direction

Photo via Kevin Mazur/AMA2014/WireImage

10 years ago today, the widely-popular British boy band, One Direction, was formed on The X Factor, a British singing competition. The five members of the band, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson, were all cut during the competition individually but were combined into one band and continued to compete in the competition, finishing third. The rest is history as One Direction became one of the most popular boy bands of all-time. They were the first group to have their first four albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Their YouTube channel has about 10 billion views with 21 billion streams across all platforms.

I have been a huge fan of the band since my senior year of high school in 2015 where I first heard the single, “Drag Me Down.” Growing up, I mostly listened to country music and songs from video game soundtracks and I was not familiar with mainstream music. However, at my senior homecoming dance, I heard “Drag Me Down,” and I was blown away by how great it was.

I started getting into more songs such as “Perfect,” “Steal My Girl” and “Infinity.” I really enjoyed those songs, but it wasn’t until I first listened to “What Makes You Beautiful” where I become obsessed with the band and fully explored their entire library as all five of their albums had been released.

For a couple months, they were the only band I listened to as I enjoyed almost every song they had immensely. Vocally, their songs were stunning as they used their voices to create breathtaking harmonies and solos that I could play on repeat and sing along to. In the song “Summer Love,” multiple voices combined with some background vocals to create a heavenly melody in the chorus that gives me chills every time I listen to it. As for “Night Changes,” the whole song are solos from each member and all of them are incredible. All five members have distinct and terrific voices, making each verse of the song memorable.

Since I joined the fandom late into their career, the only music video launch that I got to experience was for “History,” which acted as a farewell song from the band. It was great and I cried multiple times. This was also around the time Zayn Malik left the band to start his own solo career. After months of listening to the band and establishing my pop foundation, I started branching out and listened to more mainstream music, which led to my love for EDM. I have also enjoyed their solo careers, especially Zayn’s and Harry Styles’, making the band’s music that much better.

One Direction laid the groundwork for my music taste while thrilling me along the way. “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Infinity” and “If I Could Fly” are three songs in my top-30 all-time favorite songs playlist, which is the most of any artist except for Kygo. I miss the band and wish they were still together. However, they released five great albums in five years, an impressive feat and there are many songs to still listen to. I will always enjoy listening to their music for the rest of my life.  

Happy 10th anniversary One Direction.

Published by Sean Clark

I am an aspiring sports journalist at Northern Arizona University. I am very passionate about sports such as football, soccer and basketball and I'm excited to use this platform to write about the sports I love.

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