2015 One Direction’s Annus Horribilis: Time To Move On

2015 has been quite a year for One Direction and their fans. As the year dawned, rumors abounded that all was not well within One Direction. All the way back on December 26, 2014, the Inquisitr predicted that Zayn Malik was about to quit One Direction. It’s fair to say that many One Direction fans were unhappy at the time, but sadly, the prediction came true even earlier that was predicted. As everyone knows, Malik walked out on One Direction in March just weeks after their world tour kicked off.

On January 12, it was suggested in the Inquisitr that the “On The Road Again” tour could prove to be One Direction’s final major tour. Again, time has shown that prediction to be correct, at least for the foreseeable future. Of course, One Direction has repeatedly reassured their fans that they will return at some point in the future. Whilst no firm date has been set for the reunion, the best guess seems to have settled on Louis Tomlinson’s predicted hiatus length of around 18-months.

Of course, most One Direction fans are desperately disappointed that Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan are going their own way for a while. However, most also recognize that One Direction have been worked into a state of exhaustion by the constant recording, touring, and media interest that has gone with becoming the world’s biggest boy-band.

Many fans are angry that Simon Cowell’s SyCo and Modest Management have placed almost unbearable pressure on five young guys who were arguably unprepared for the burdens that would be placed upon them.

It is perhaps ironic that many believe that One Direction are now turning out their best work as they go into their break.

One Direction have undoubtedly matured as a band and as individuals. They have certainly matured as songwriters, and their sound now appeals to a much wider section of the music listening public. It won’t be a popular viewpoint, but there have been signs during 2015 that the public also needed a little bit of a rest from One Direction.

In 2014, One Direction’s “Where We Are” world tour was by some distance the biggest grossing tour of the year. According to the New York Daily News, that One Direction tour grossed around $290 million and was seen by almost 3.4 million people.

The L.A. Times reports that this year’s One Direction tour was the third highest grossing of the year, with a gross of around $160 million, a significant downturn when compared with last year. Taylor Swift and AC/DC both topped One Direction with $250 million and $180 million, respectively.

Of course, a tour that grossed $160 million is not to be sniffed at. It marks a level of success that most artists can only dream about. One Direction’s most recent release, Made In The A.M., was their first not to hit the No. 1 slot in the U.S. after it was shaded by Justin Bieber. Sales of the album have, to date, been disappointing when compared with earlier releases, though it is of course one of the biggest selling albums of the year. The way album sales are calculated has also changed making comparisons with previous work difficult.

2015 has proven a difficult one personally for One Direction, especially for Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson. Both stars have split from long-term girlfriends, though many fans believe that those relationships were manufactured by their management team.

It also seems that the press have fallen out of love with One Direction. Louis Tomlinson, in particular, has been subject to some especially vicious reporting, notably from Dan Wootton in U.K. tabloid the Sun. It has been claimed that One Direction are heading into a break because of tension between Louis and Harry Styles.

It has also been widely reported that Tomlinson has turned into some kind of wild-man party animal who has abandoned his heavily-pregnant girlfriend.

The anti-One Direction rhetoric has also been levelled at Liam Payne, who has been accused of homophobia. It was also claimed that Liam’s drinking and partying were causing tension within One Direction.

There can be little doubt that One Direction really need some time off. No one can live with the pressure they have been under for the last five years. As individuals and as a group, One Direction will benefit from some down-time. They all need time to unwind, to be themselves, to reconnect with who they are as people.

By doing so, One Direction will also have the opportunity to break with a management team that many think see them only as some sort of cash-cow.

If they do all of that One Direction can return refreshed, re-energized, more grounded, and, most importantly, in charge of their own destiny.

There is no doubt that 2015 has been a difficult year for everyone associated with One Direction, but in a couple of years time, they may just look back and recognize 2015 as the year that laid the foundations for a lengthy, fulfilling, and rewarding career.

[Photo by KGC-161/STAR MAX/IP/AP]