One Direction with Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson have been the kings of preteen pop and the hands-down leaders in social media as well since 2010. Winning the hearts of hundreds of millions of young girls worldwide, these guys have not only risen to the top but have stayed on top for six years. They remain the most popular boy band since the Beatles, 50 years ago.
One Direction has taken the world by storm, one breathless young girl at a time, but do they merit all that attention? One Directioners probably outnumber their grandmothers who were infected with Beatlemania at about the same age, but it is the same type of phenomenon.
Do Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson actually have the talent to stack up against John, Paul, George, and Ringo, or are they just pretty faces? One Direction’s Styles, Malik, Horan, Payne, and Tomlinson obviously have the raw talent in terms of vocals and voice range to equal just about anyone, but there has to be more to it than that. The question is, why all the attention, and does that attention mean they are talented?
One Direction, and especially Harry Styles have dominated Google, made $30 million each, and made millions of girls scream until they lost their voices. What exactly sets 1D apart, and are they really worth all this commotion?
Harry Styles’ presence in some ways upstaged the rest of the cast while filming the movie Dunkirk, as girls and paparazzi repeatedly tried to breach security to see Harry. The press went bonkers trying to play up the fact that Harry had taken up acting, from every imaginable angle.
One Direction’s Harry Styles was getting a lot more press than the film’s director Christopher Nolan, or any of the other cast members, and that attention was not for his acting, it was because of his fans, his previous work with 1D, and his huge social media following.
Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles co-star in Dunkirk was quoted by Heat World. Fionn had a bit to say about Styles’ publicity surrounding Dunkirk.
“I think the focus should not be Harry Styles doing a movie, it should be on the piece in general or his ability to act. And he’s great. I think it’s got a bit silly really. The meaning has got lost somewhere along the way and people have stopped realizing there’s an amazing cast – including Harry – but there’s you know, the creme de la creme of actors.”
One Direction’s Harry Styles is in a movie, and in today’s world, that is a lot bigger news than a huge budget and wonderfully artistic war movie, directed by one of the greatest directors of our time. It is even bigger news than the history the film portrays, and somehow that does seem a bit skewed or at least odd to some people.
It’s nothing against One Direction or Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead went on to explain that he adores Harry too. Everyone likes Harry, but that isn’t the point. Are fans liking Harry for the right reasons, and the really huge question is; will they still love him when he is old and gray?
Are One Direction musically talented enough to merit the attention, or is it just about looks and girls with crushes? There is no question that Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson can sing. Their voices are incredible, but what about their music overall?
Even Harry Styles and Zayn Malik, at times, feel unworthy of the attention they get, but don’t they deserve it, girls? Sure, all five of the 1D boys are totally smoking hot, but isn’t their music equally hot? Well, Harry Styles does not really think so.
One Direction’s Harry Styles was quoted in Ultimate Classic Rock, humbly admitting that although they get even more of the attention, 1D doesn’t compare well musically to the Beatles.
“We all sat and watched the film of the Beatles arriving in America, and, to be honest, that really was like us. Stepping off the plane, the girls, the madness. It was exactly the same as when we got there — just 50 years earlier. But none of us think we’re in the same league as them music-wise. We’d be total fools if we did. Fame-wise, it’s probably even bigger, but we don’t stand anywhere near them in terms of music.”
Zayn Malik was a bit more direct in his own comments to The Fader about One Direction music.
“Would you listen to One Direction, at at a party with your girl? I wouldn’t. To me, that’s not an insult, that’s me as a 22-year-old man.”
One Direction was probably the best ever, of boy bands that fit neatly within that genre. The Beatles became more than a boy band and that is what 1D wants. The 1D voices have that perfect close harmony sound. They have an incredible amount of creativity for writing lyrics and it doesn’t hurt that they are cute either. After all, that is what boy bands are really all about. Still trading off being cute won’t work in 30 years. 1D wants a reputation that will last. They want longevity that isn’t dependent on them staying cute past 50-years-old.
Zayn Malik and Harry Styles were expressing in their so vastly different ways of saying things that they were limited by their genre. While their music was top shelf, as boy band music goes, they are trying to prove they have a lot more talent than shows in their One Direction performances.
That said, Zayn Malik’s solo work is simply incredible, and Harry Styles is expected to also release a great solo album in 2017. Liam Payne and Niall Horan are also planning to produce solo albums to be released next year. They all hope that their solo albums will be taken seriously, but fear being locked into the image of their previous genre instead.
The One Direction boys are incredibly talented and capable of so much more than the world has seen from them so far. If they do reunite, perhaps with Zayn Malik as well, they do have the potential to equate with the Beatles, provided they can escape the preconceptions people have about them because of previous genre limitations that forced them into being overtly commercial, and somewhat vanilla.
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One Direction’s Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan are striving to merit the attention they get. The also want viability within a larger and more mature audience. They want to create great and iconic music to live up to their already iconic popularity. They want to prove that they have been Picasso trying to paint with crayons, not a bunch of kids about to be given Picasso’s paintbrush.
One Direction’s Harry Styles wants to be taken seriously as an actor, as a musician, and as a human being. Likewise, Zayn Malik wants to be seen as a real artist, writer, and musician. Zayn worries that the fans don’t understand that he is a real live human being, with feelings and problems. Harry and Zayn are human, even if they do have faces like angels.
One Direction’s Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson want to be recognized for their talent.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]