What Are My Sweet Boys Up To?
Lately, I feel like something is missing from my life. I toss and turn at night, preoccupied with this void. Is it my job? My social life? My hobbies?
No, I realized. I just miss One Direction.
Turns out I don't have one hole in my heart. I have five, and they are named Harry, Louis, Niall, Liam and Zayn.
But there's good news! All of these sweet, terrible boys released solo projects and--against all predictions, against the very laws of boy bands themselves--none of them bombed! I watched all of the videos back-to-back on my laptop in bed, and the next day I felt calm and fulfilled.
Here is a roundup about my five boyfriends striking out into the solo world.
Liam, the hunky frat boy who would probably be mean to you, sticks to his strengths: dumb, generic pop songs about hooking up in the club. He tells it to us straight in his first solo single, “Strip That Down” featuring featured artist du jour Quavo. He sing-chants "I just wanna have fun and get rowdy / One coke and Bacardi, sippin’ lightly.” (LIAM YOU CAN AFFORD BETTER DRINKS!!!) In a definite "Hotline Bling" video rip-off, Liam does some half-assed dance moves in front of a neon backdrop. 1D was a "cool boy band" who hated dancing, so it's nice to see Liam at least attempt to rhythmically move his body.
Important to note: The song has 15 writers, and one is none other than 1D BFF Ed Sheeran. The pre-chorus horrifyingly, amazingly shouts out 1D.
Honestly it’s sort of genius. Liam Payne, where do I know that name from? BOOM, the song tells you multiple times. Plus, it’s embarrassing enough that you’ll probably remember. Who is Liam? Ah, yes, he used to be in 1D, now he’s out free to continue recording shitty pop songs that get heavy play on my Spotify.
Niall is the Irish one who would make the best boyfriend. He’s branded as earnest and down-to-earth, which makes his acoustic hunk reincarnation feels inevitable. His first single, “This Town,” is Fine. Not great, not terrible, not particularly memorable. Really, really Fine.
His second single, “Slow Hands,” is better than it has any business being. Niall wants you to know he’s SEXUALLY ACTIVE and he’s experienced enough to TAKE HIS TIME WITH IT.
The lyric video spotlights Niall in various musical settings, showing that his fingers know their way around a mixing board just as well as they know your body, baby. The video also features extensive cameos from Julian Bunetta, One Direction’s head songwriter. (He also wrote Harry Styles’ is-it-about-Taylor-Swift B-side, “Two Ghosts.”)
Here's the thing: I firmly believe that wherever Niall is in the world, he is rooting for all of us. We need to do the same for him. YOU'RE KILLIN' IT BB WE'RE SO PROUD OF YOU KEEP IT UP.
Zayn. The bad boy, the betrayer, the most handsome man in the world. In his first single, "PILLOWTALK," Zayn settled on a mumbly singing voice punctuated with a shrill falsetto. The music video was directed by his supermodel girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, and it looks like it was filmed entirely in shitty iMovie filters. The demigod couple caused a recent stir when they claimed wearing each other’s clothes makes them gender-fluid. They should break up?
Zayn was the first boy out of the gate with his debut album, Mind of Mine, which came out on the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of him ABANDONING ONE DIRECTION. The song titles aRe aLL sPeLLeD LiKE THiS. (If you pull out all the capital letters, they spell "LARRY IS REAL.") His next big single came courtesy of a Taylor Swift duet on the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack where they both sing so high that it seems like a cruel joke played on people trying to sing along in their cars.
Trash King Louis came back on the scene as a featured artist in Steve Aoki’s bland club jam, “Just Hold On." His mom died a few days before his debut X-Factor performance, and Harry, Liam and Niall all showed up secretly backstage to offer their support. No jokes about this--it’s just really fucking nice.
Louis’ first solo single, “Back to You,” features Bebe Rexha (who sings the hook in that one G-Eazy song. You know it. I promise.) It is a BOP that I absolutely adore while it’s playing and immediately forget when it ends. In the video, Louis wears athleisure and looks like the hottest chav in town. My former roommate and 1D superfan Paige says, “He looks like he lives in his mom’s basement but tricked out his car.”
Also, Louis had a baby. Actually, Liam did too. Bored of THAT, bring on the JAMS.
What hasn’t golden boy Harry been up to? A charming appearance on SNL. A well-reviewed acting gig in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. (Where he definitely dies, right? I haven’t seen it because war stresses me out.) A wardrobe of precious gifts that I will forever hold dear. The best carpool karaoke of all time. And a self-titled, rock-inspired album designed specifically to make your dad say, “Huh, this isn’t half-bad.”
His first single, “Sign of the Times,” is a classic rock-infused apocalypse ballad with clear notes of Bowie and Queen. In the video, Harry….. Flies. That’s it. He just flies all over, looking vaguely like a Time Lord. The best part of the video were the production photos that leaked showing Harry tethered to a helicopter. Please, please release an unedited version of the video that just shows Harry dangling from helicopters in a $3,280 Gucci jacket.