One Direction Band Chemistry: Why Harry Styles Needs Zayn Malik, Even If He Has Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan

As One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson get their affairs in order and gear up for their big reunion album and tour, a lot remains uncertain. Many Directioners are afraid it will never happen. Others wish Zayn Malik would return to 1D.

One Direction’s Niall Horan and Liam Payne have both assured Directioners that the band is planning to get back together. It seems likely Styles, Horan, Payne, and Tomlinson will reunite in mid to late 2017 cut an album and begin a tour in 2018. At least that is what was said when the hiatus started.

Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson are considered all of One Direction for now. Zayn Malik left the band in 2015, later revealing that he was suffering from severe anxiety and an eating disorder that nearly starved him to death. It was not Malik’s fault that he left. It was a self-preserving instinct that sent Z back home from the tour according to his autobiography Zayn.

It is unclear if Zayn Malik would be willing or able to tour with One Direction, but he would be a valuable asset if it is possible for him to return. Malik’s voice, his image, and his songwriting talents are needed.

Zayn Malik is said to have an intrinsically different quality about him than Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne. This quality, which has been called rebellious, mysterious and even dark, is something One Direction will need in order to transition to their optimal form as serious adult musicians moving away from teen pop and into a more enduring genre.

Make no mistake, though. Harry Styles has extreme star quality and stage presence. Styles has “it” in spades. Harry Styles is a rock star, and he will likely always be the front man, but Zayn is the one strong enough to create an opposite tension in both songwriting and performance.

Zayn Malik could provide an equilateral balance for Harry Styles in the new One Direction. Malik could be the John Lennon to Harry’s Paul McCartney or the Kieth Richards to Styles’ Mick Jagger. It would add significantly to the band’s longevity and ensure the music is perceived as top caliber.

Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson are fabulously talented as well, and Liam Payne is needed not only for his talent but also his emotional stability and maturity. Liam Payne is also the consistent voice of One Direction’s unity. Liam is often seen as the glue that holds everything together. Each is needed to play their own role, but without Zayn, part is just missing.

Zayn Malik and Harry Styles are perceived very differently, not only by media but by people who get to know them. Zayn has been called a “rebel” and a “bad boy,” while Harry is often described as “polite” and “nice.”

One Direction’s Niall Horan is also polite, but he doesn’t seem to be part of the polar opposite perception the media likes to do with Harry Styles and Zayn Malik. No, Niall Horan is energetic and passionate, while Liam Payne is best known for being mature, fatherly, and rock solid. Louis Tomlinson is seen as sensitive.

Zayn Malik’s image as a rebel is hard to miss apparently. The clothing designers love him for it. Giuseppe Zanotti, who is working with Zayn to create a Zayn Malik shoe line told Vogue, about his first impression of Zayn.

“When I saw him, I said to myself: ‘He is a cool guy and the epitome of a modern rebel,'”

So why is Zayn Malik seen as such a rebel while Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne are not? It is that same dark quality that so many in media immediately labeled as mysterious in the early days of One Direction?

Donatella Versace was more intrigued with Zayn Malik than Harry Styles to represent Versus because she too saw Zayn as a rebel and Donatella told The New York Times she needed a rebel.

“Versus is everything that the Versace line is not. It is loud, it is rebellious —”

Yet, Zayn Malik seems to be nice as well. Ms. Versace seems to contradict her assessment of Zayn as a rebel when she told the New York Times, Zayn was “such a Gentleman.”

“And he [Zayn Malik] impressed me very much — he was so mature, so thoughtful, treated her [Gigi Hadid] like such a gentleman.”

One Direction's Harry Styles and Zayn Malik
One Direction's Harry Styles and Zayn Malik [Image by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images]

So is Zayn Malik really so different than Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan? All of One Direction’s five original members are “nice,” “polite,” and “proper gentlemen.” They are all polite, so what is the huge difference with Zayn? What is the attribute that Zayn has that the others do not?

One Direction fans and the media right away decided that when it came to the One Direction boys, one of these is not like the others, when in fact, all are different, but one boy stood out and seemed out of place.

Zayn Malik felt it too, and much has been made of his interviews in 2015 when it was said he was dissing One Direction or throwing shade. Malik though was just saying he didn’t fit in with the pop boy band genre. Harry Styles took that pop image in stride. It was not a bad fit for Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson either, at the time, but Malik didn’t fit that mold.

So what is it that makes Zayn Malik different, and why does Harry Styles need Zayn to help One Direction? What is it about that contrast of style that would make their music better, their concerts better, and the whole effect so amazing?

Why couldn’t Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, or Niall Horan be the mysterious one? Why couldn’t Zayn Malik stop being the mysterious one, when that aspect of his image was making him uncomfortable in One Direction a few years ago?

Liam Payne Of One Direction
Liam Payne of One Direction [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

Zayn Malik isn’t really by definition rebellious. Z didn’t decide to be rebellious or mysterious. he just naturally has that vibe and it isn’t a passing thing like rebellion in a teen. Zayn is primordial, exotic, creative, complex, dark, and cryptic. That is what makes his lyrics great, and his energy just ooze of mystery.

Zayn Malik is complicated and he has the capacity and courage to look inward to his own scary depths, and pull out some amazing music. Zayn explained his dark mysterious qualities to Vogue. Even though Z was talking about shoes at the time the principle is the same.

“I like things which are a bit dark and weird.”

Can’t Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Liam Paine be dark and a little weird? Possibly, and they will have to stretch that part of themselves a bit if Zayn can’t come back to One Direction.

One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson found some depth in his “Just Hold On” lyrics. Lyrically and musically it was an amazing song because it came out of such tremendous pain, which is what real art is. Louis Tomlinson wrote “Just Hang On,” out of the pain of losing his mom, though. That isn’t a place he needs to stay in for too long.


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Harry Styles can certainly do anything he puts his mind to, so One Direction will be a successful band either way. Directioners will see to that as well. They are fiercely loyal so they will be buying albums, going to concerts and such anyway.

However, One Direction’s music would be better with both Harry Styles and Zayn Malik on board, for the sake of energetic contrast, and balance. Zayn Malik’s presence would provide a stronger image as well, in the same way, the fashion industry craves Zayn’s image.

Will One Direction reunite with Zayn Malik as well as Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Louis Tomlinson?

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]