One Direction’s Solo Updates: Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, And Zayn Malik Have Different Release Approaches

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Zayn Malik are all using vastly different methods of creating very different music. One of their big differences is their treatment of material released before the album. That part is so different it makes comparing their music difficult at the moment.

One Direction’s Liam Payne has released a sneak peek of a new song Saturday that could possibly be on his debut solo album. It isn’t finished at all, and the auto-tune is a bit too noticeable in this recording. Fans know the boys don’t need to be auto-tuned. But, Liam did show a little of what he’s been working on. Fans are fascinated and in an uproar over the sexy lyrics, but is it wise to release an unfinished song to the public? Possibly, but it is unusual.

Both Zayn Malik and One Direction’s Niall Horan released a single ahead of their album release, but these were finished pieces. “Pillowtalk” was one of the best tracks of Zayn’s Mind of Mine album. It came out with an elaborate video featuring supermodel Gigi Hadid, who happens to be Malik’s girlfriend.

Niall Horan’s album hasn’t been released yet, but Niall revealed that “This Town” was just the only song that was finished at the time he wanted to release his first single. It is a very beautiful song, but it was also an uncomplicated folk ballad, with a simple video.

Zayn Malik’s first solo album is completed, and about seven months old. Zayn has even started work on a second album. It would be more than a bit unfair to compare those completed tracks to Liam Payne’s spur-of-the-moment release of an unfinished song. Neither Harry Styles, nor Zayn would have released a song until it was completely ready, so it is hard to tell what “Pillowtalk” would have sounded like at this stage of the process.

Still, One Direction fans are drawing a strong connection between Zayn Malik’s work and this new song by Liam Payne. They not only see some racy lyrical similarities, they are saying the voice is the same according to Capital FM. Liam and Zayn are on the same page at least in the choice of genre. Both are doing R&B but who would have guessed that Liam and Zayn might sound so similar to so many people.

One Direction’s Harry Styles has been working on his solo album the longest and hasn’t released a single line in a year, since “Talk is Cheap” was leaked. It is very doubtful “Talk is Cheap” is going to be on Harry’s debut album. Some of Styles’ fellow musicians say Harry’s new work sounds awesome and is different from anything he’s done prior. Meanwhile, the build-up and anticipation are at a fevered pitch. Styles’ heavy hitter influences and collaborators ramp up expectations for the upcoming album.

Still, Liam Payne’s willingness to release a rough cut, just to show fans what he is up to, says something about his approach. Liam’s release shows a huge departure from what Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, or Niall Horan would have done. It is very unusual for artists to release unfinished clips of songs in progress. Does it show trust in Payne’s fan base perhaps? Is Liam keeping fans in the loop?

Liam Payne’s lyrical content raised some eyebrows at the Daily Mail, who quoted the sexually-explicit lyrics. One could almost feel the blushes as they wrote about the new song. It isn’t what people expected from Liam or One Direction, but that is the whole point of this rebranding by solo work, to shed that old One Direction, boy band image.

“I wanna make love to you, be onto you, so hard for you. I don’t wanna be left without this. I didn’t think that I’d ever find someone. I just wanna make it with you. All these other b*****s here be tripping, the way you walk in is so different, I just wanna make it with you.”

Zayn Malik’s lyrics are more cryptic and convoluted than this, though. Liam Payne’s new song seems to get right to the point, so to speak. Still, it isn’t even a whole song, so it would not be fair to compare Zayn and Liam based on this little snippet.

One Direction Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik,Niall Horan
One Direction [Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]

One Direction’s Harry Styles is keeping his album totally under wraps until it is ready. Although there have been numerous collaborators, mentors, and consultants ready to swear by Harry’s work, and eager to endorse him, this just leads to more anticipation. As does Styles’ Another Man interview and photo shoot.

Zayn Malik wrote 48 songs for his debut album. That was over twice as many as were needed. Each song has a beautifully produced video to go with it. The album was flawless and represented a lot of hard work and care. Fans were not given the opportunity to see anything but the refined product. That is the way it is usually done.

Joe Walsh, Harry Styles, Marjorie Bach, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach
Harry Styles With Mentors Joe Walsh, Marjorie Bach, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach [Image by Larry Busacca /Getty Images]

One Direction’s Niall Horan chose a simpler approach on his single release, but “This Town” was lovely. It was touching and haunting in a way that just melted the heart of the listener. Horan’s “This Town” didn’t feel like some huge production. It felt personal, as if Niall were right there in the room with the listener, with guitar in hand. It does make listeners wonder if Horan’s entire album will have the same intimate folk-artist-in-the-living-room kind of feel.


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Liam Payne’s approach in releasing an unfinished song is unorthodox, but it’s frank, honest, and open. Fans got a little preview very early in the game. It is certainly not enough to base a judgment of Payne’s new album on. It seems more like a friendly gesture and perhaps a hint that Liam agrees with Zayn Malik about the importance of sexually explicit lyrics.

One Direction’s Harry Styles is building up anticipation for the release of his debut album. With this much hype, publicity, and build up, Harry’s debut will have to be groundbreaking not to disappoint, but then, when has anyone ever been disappointed in Harry Styles’ work?

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik each have a different approach to their music and the way they unveil it to the public. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It is the personal choice of the artist, but Payne’s approach is unusual.

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik have vastly different approaches to releasing their music.

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]