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What Next For One Direction? Harry Styles’ Rock Vibe, Liam Payne’s Hip-Hop Vision, And A Maturing Brand

One Direction obsessives have spoken. A key 1D update account has offered some suggestions about what the boybanders should do when they return from their hiatus.

It does seem One Direction will be returning. A rumor started last night by Us Weekly suggested the band may break up, but this was debunked today by Gossip Cop.

The suggestions include a less “pop” sound, merchandise directed at a more mature audience, and new management.

It is believed that the One Direction boys are overworked and over-managed by their current team, Modest Management, and their current boss, Simon Cowell. When Zayn Malik left the group last year, he cited “exhaustion” and a desire to be “normal.” Later, brooding Zayn revealed to Billboard that One Direction was “like a f***ing machine going constantly.”

This leads neatly to another One Direction News hope for the boys — the Twitterers state that it would be great for the One Direction guys to seem “comfortable.”

Over the years, as the group matured from goofy teens to sometimes-sullen young men before the world’s eyes, fans did indeed wonder if they were being pushed too hard and if the grueling yearly tours and album releases were taking their toll.

Remember that the guys were forced into almost constant close proximity with each other as they toured the world. This sort of constant exposure in stressful circumstances would turn even fast friends into bickering frenemies.

Rumors that the One Direction guys were tiring of their schedule, and perhaps of each other, came to a head when the Sun published an explosive article suggesting that Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson had fallen out.

Back to the list. There is a call for “more bad ass photoshoots,” rather than cheesy ones, and a hope that the merchandise gets more edgy and mature as well — no more lunchboxes and pencil cases. In this area, the fan account is in agreement with Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson. In the explosive video from a couple of years back that appeared to show Zayn smoking a joint, the guys could be heard complaining about the cheeseball questions they constantly get asked in interviews and the lame, repetitive material that is published in their books.

Of course, this was just Zayn’s opinion, and Malik has now left the group, but many fans appear to agree that the One Direction brand ought to mature as the guys and their fans grow up.

In which direction will the guys take their sound? Thus far, experimentation has centered around 70s rock, beginning with Midnight Memories in 2013.

Light flirtations with EDM could be heard in songs like the wonderful “Stole My Heart,” which also benefited from a popular lyric video in which the fetus-era One Direction guys are clad in bright colors and look attractive indeed.

A hint of R&B can arguably be heard in another underrated song “They Don’t Know About Us,” according to Bustle. Can you hear the R&B elements?

Perhaps we will see a battle for the direction of One Direction. Two conflicting visions may clash as prolific writer Liam Payne and media darling Harry Styles assert their influence. Liam has hinted that he is keen on a hip-hop direction, collaborating with Juicy J and creating an explicit “Drag Me Down” remix that featured a rap by Lunchmoney Lewis. Liam’s ex Sophia Smith once revealed that if One Direction broke up, Liam would love to become a rapper.

Harry Styles has shown his commitment to 70s rock and a glam-rock aesthetic through his much-discussed fashion choices and wild, long hair. Harry is a self-professed Fleetwood Mac fan (the influence of Fleetwood Mac can be heard especially clearly on “Fireproof,” which is one of One Direction’s best songs.) Harry has been compared to Mick Jagger, both in his wardrobe choices and in that “real swagger” he’s got about him. Lastly, Harry’s voice lends itself well to a rock sound — check out his gritty vocals on “Drag Me Down,” “Hey Angel,” and “No Control” for proof of this.

Will One Direction move to a more mature sound and branding? Will rock star Harry Styles and urban music-loving Liam Payne settle on some sort of compromise?

[Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

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