One Direction splits in different directions, becoming even better individually

September 15, 2017 — by Esha Lakhotia

Columnist recaps the progress each member of One Direction has had on his own.

“Remember when you had a life and stopped making comments about mine?” Zayn Malik said to Louis Tomlinson during their Twitter feud in May 2015. The feud began when Zayn’s ex-producer Naughty Boy posted a picture on Twitter with Zayn captioned “replace this,” implying that One Direction couldn’t replace Zayn.

When I read this Twitter beef, my heart melted. Even though Zayn left One Direction in early 2015, I still had hopes that the boys would continue to make music and stay friends. This feud showed the world that business is business, and that One Direction would never be the same again.

With hits like “That’s What Makes You Beautiful” and “Drag Me Down,” One Direction was one of the most famous boy bands until 2016 when they announced their split in a formal letter on all of their social media outlets.

One Direction members Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Liam Payne have all managed to make hit records and albums, and Directioners have not ceased to follow all of their solo career paths.

Liam Payne, my favorite One Direction member, initially claimed he wanted to “just go into songwriting and carry on” after the break up. But with the advantage of publicity from One Direction’s breakup, he decided to release an individual song to get his own style into the industry.

Payne was the second to last member to debut his solo career with his single “Strip That Down,” featuring Quavo. The song charted within the top five in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. The single has since entered the top 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100 as well.

Recently, Payne released a single “Get Low” with Zedd. I really like both of his songs he has released so far, as Payne’s new style of music is upbeat and catchy, which is right up my alley.

Horan released his two songs “This Town” and “Slow Hands” in May, which have both charted in the top 20 on Spotify. Recently, he announced his world tour starting in September, as well as his new album at the end of fall. Taking a more funky and bass-heavy approach, “Slow Hands” differentiated Niall’s personal style from the upbeat pop that One Direction was known for. Personally, I like both songs he has released so far, but I generally don’t like funk music, so the album will likely be a wild card for me.

Harry Styles’s release of his self-titled album, “Harry Styles,” in May reached No. 1 on UK Top Singles. This release was a huge deal, as fans waited outside radio studios that interviewed him just to see him in person. I enjoyed one or two of his songs from the album, but I found a lot of them to have the same slow pace and soft rock vibe, which is not my preferred genre of music.

In addition to his new songs, Styles made his debut as an actor in July, starring in the war film “Dunkirk.” I was really surprised to see him acting; he did an amazing job portraying the difficulties men go through, and I can see a future for him in the movie industry.

Additionally, Tomlinson released songs that reflect his own life and hardships. In March, he collaborated with Steve Aoki, and featured on his song, “Just Hold On,” to honor his mother, who had recently passed away from cancer. This song not only has an extremely catchy beat, but a really meaningful message.

In addition, he dropped a new song in July about his on and off again girlfriend, Eleanor Calder, called “Back to You” featuring Bebe Rexha, which I play on repeat every day.

And who could forget about the Justin Timberlake of One Direction: Zayn Malik. Since his split from the mega-famous pop group in 2015 to pursue a solo career, Zayn has declared his distaste for One Direction’s music, admitting he wouldn’t choose to listen to One Direction songs himself.

In 2016, Zayn released his first single “Pillow Talk,” along with his album “ZAYN.” Since he was the first to split, this first single did extremely well, charting No. 1 on Billboard and Spotify. I enjoy Zayn’s music, as it is similar to Liam’s pop and trendy style.

All in all, the One Direction boys have been doing pretty well in their solo careers, all breaking top charts and records.

Clearly, the group made the right decision to split up. Whereas before, they were confined to the teeny-bopper boy band stereotype, now they each have the opportunity to truly express themselves through their own music. I know most loyal One Direction fans would kill me for saying this, but I actually like their individual music better than when they were together.

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