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Music / One Direction

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From left to right: Niall Horn, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson. Not shown: Zayn Malik.

"I like girls who eat carrots."
Louis Tomlinson

One Direction (commonly initialized as 1D) is a British-Irish Boy Band formed in London, England. Originally, the boys auditioned for the seventh series of The X Factor as individuals. They were assembled into a group by Simon Cowell, who became their mentor throughout the show. After placing third, Cowell signed One Direction to his own record label in 2010.

Since then, the band has skyrocketed to worldwide fame, releasing many hit singles, winning numerous awards, and unseating Justin Bieber as the biggest teen heartthrobs in the world. After five years of world domination, 1D have become the most successful boy band to ever come out of either the UK or Irelandnote .

In March 2015, it was announced that Malik had left the band and that the other four members would be continuing. Then in August, it was announced that the band would go on hiatus (officially not a split) following the release of their fifth album the following year. A generation of fangirls mourned, as ever. Since then, all five members have released solo music.

Members of One Direction:

Current members in bold:

  • Louis Tomlinson - born December 24, 1991 in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. (2010-)
  • Harry Styles - born February 1, 1994 in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. (2010-)
  • Niall Horan - born September 13, 1993 in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland. (2010-)
  • Liam Payne - born August 29, 1993 in Wolverhampton, West Midlands. (2010-)
  • Zayn Malik - born January 12, 1993 in Bradford, West Yorkshire. (2010-2015)


  • Up All Night (2011) - 1D's first album. Upon its U.S. release in March 2012, they became the first U.K. group to debut at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 with a debut album.
  • Take Me Home (2012) - One Direction is one of the very few groups to have debuted at the top with both of their first two albums. The only ones to do so prior to them were Girl Group Danity Kane and Eminem's rap troupe D12.
  • Midnight Memories (2013) - One Direction became the first (and to date, only) group to debut atop the Billboard 200 with each of their first three albums. The last group to even reach the top with its first three albums were The Monkees in 1967.
  • Four (2014) - 1D's fourth album. Like the previous one, it set a record for its number-one debut and had the no-longer-boys Growing the Beard.
  • Made In The AM (2015) - Despite this being the band's fifth album in as many years, it is their first as a quartet, as a result of Zayn Malik's departure in March 2015. In accordance with Four, this album completes the Genre Shift from teen pop to a more rock-oriented style. Also, it is their first album not to go #1 on the Billboard 200, having been blocked by Justin Bieber's Purpose.

Tropes about their works:

  • Album Title Drop:
    • Take Me Home's title comes from a line in "Kiss You": "If you don't wanna take it slow/And you just wanna take me home/Baby say yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah/And let me kiss you."
    • Also present in Made In The AM's final song, "AM": "All my favorite conversations, always made in the AM."
  • Ascended Extra: Louis and Niall sang mostly backup, save for a few token solo lines on their first album; lead vocals were shared between Liam and Harry and (to a lesser extent) Zayn. Fans lobbied for them to get bigger parts and got their wish from the second album on.
  • Bad Date: The music video for "Night Changes" shows an unseen person (presumably the viewer) going on dates with all the members of the band. While they start sweet, all of them turn into this — from injuries to motion sickness to getting arrested...
  • Band Toon: Click here to watch The Adventurous Adventures of One Direction. You're welcome.
  • Better Partner Assertion:
    • "I Would" has a boy yearning over an already-taken girl (despite feeling he can't compete with the guy she's currently dating) and the chorus is all about how he'd treat her more romantically than her boyfriend.
    • "Save You Tonight" is from the perspective of a boy talking to a girl who's having her heart broken by a Casanova and asking her to let him "save" her by taking his place.
  • Boy Band: Their most defining characteristic. While their record sales trail the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, One Direction is said to have a larger fan base than their predecessors. While One Direction are significantly behind Take That (Band)'s success in their homeland, they have eclipsed them everywhere else. For the record:
    • The Heartthrob: Harry
    • The Rebel: Louis
    • The Cute One: Niall
    • The Big Brother: Liam
    • The Quiet One: Zayn
  • Call-Back: "They donít know about the up all nights" from "They Don't Know About Us" references the title of their first album.
  • Camp: Their "Kiss You" video, to great success.
  • Chronological Album Title: "Four" is unique among their discography as this
  • Cover Version: During their run on The X Factor, they covered everything from Elton John to Rihanna.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Their 2014 BRIT Music Video award was a particularly jarring example. More than 1.7 million votes were cast in the span of less than two hours. Not only did their #BRITsOneDirection hashtag top the Worldwide Twitter trends, but they were the only one of the five nominees to even make it onto the trending list. Twitter reveals that a whopping 93% of all votes in this contest were for One Direction.
    • What's even more painful for the losers is the Brits' decision to go global that year? Had the awards ceremony remained a domestic event, One Direction, while still likely to win the award, would probably have had far less than 93% of the vote.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Savan Kotecha, one of One Direction's song writers, addresses this.
  • Disguised in Drag: Zayn. Played straight rather successfully in the "Best Song Ever" music video.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Niall is sanguine, Louis is choleric, Zayn is melancholic, Harry is phlegmatic, and Liam is eclectic.
    • After Zaynís departure, Liam fills the melancholic spot.
  • Gender-Inclusive Writing:
    • The majority of their songs are addressed to an ambiguous, inclusive "you" that is only assumed to be female.
    • In interviews that ask about their preferences in women, Harry often says that he would want "someone" who... or he likes "people" that... instead of specifying if his preferences are for males or females.
  • Genre Relaunch: They, Big Time Rush and The Wanted have brought boy bands back into the mainstream, full force — but since they became an *NSYNC-level phenomenon whereas the latter two groups were generally unsuccessful, they are usually given credit alone.
  • Irony:
    • The band's Signature Song is "What Makes You Beautiful", which has the lines "don't need makeup to cover up, being the way that you are is enough", yet One Direction once released a line of makeup.
  • "I Want" Song: "I Want". Double Subverted in that most of the song isn't about what the guys want, but about admonishing a girl who is selfish and materialistic and them wanting a girl who will just love them.
  • Looped Lyrics: Quite a few...
    • "I want, I want, I want..."
    • "I shoulda, I shoulda, oh, I shoulda kissed you / I shoulda, I shoulda..."
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The second half of the "Night Changes" video becomes this when the various dates begin to go downhill.
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: The bridge of "What Makes You Beautiful" consists entirely of "na na na's".
  • The Movie: This Is Us was released August 2013.
  • Mr. Fanservice: All of them to an extent, though some more than others. Harry especially has been turning this up to eleven in his solo career.
  • Ode to Youth: "Live While We're Young".
  • One-Woman Song: "Diana" and "Olivia"
  • Pelvic Thrust: Often done in sync with all of them, but Harry particularly seems to have a bit of a thing for this
  • Piss-Take Rap: They do a rap-rhyming thing in the verses of "Over Again".
  • P.O.V. Cam: The entirety if the "Night Changes" video is from the perspective of the various women on dates with each of the boys.
  • Precision F-Strike: "A.M." from Made in the A.M. drops the first ever swear word to be used in a One Direction song: "We're just swimming 'round in our glasses / and talking out of our asses".
  • Preppy Name: From "Best Song Ever": "Said her name was Georgia Rose / And her daddy was a dentist." If you are English and your name is Georgia, then daddy is more likely to be a dentist than a docker.
  • Pretty Boy: The entire group.
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: They are by far The X Factor's most successful act.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Listen to the opening beat of "Rock Me" and think of what it sounds like.
    • "Better Than Words" name drops popular love songs from the past several decades.
    • The opening riff of "What Makes You Beautiful" does this to Grease's song "Summer Nights".
  • Silly Love Songs: "What Makes You Beautiful", "One Thing", "Live While We're Young"... they make a lot of these.
    • "Better Than Words". Bonus points for the fact that its verses entirely consist of titles from other silly love songs..
  • Song of Song Titles: Almost every word of the verses of "Better Than Words" is a reference to one song or another
  • Spear Counterpart:
    • To Fifth Harmony, since they both have 5 members (or at least did until Zayn left 1D and Camila left 5H) and they both started out on the X Factor (the former in the US version, the latter in the UK version). They both consisted of five solo artists who were put into a group after getting rejected, they both finished third, and they have similar shorthand names (5H and 1D). One member of each group (Zayn & Camila) left the band. The only differences are that 5H is American, and they have a more 'urban' bend while 1D is closer to adult contemporary.
    • As of Zayn's departure, they are also this to Little Mix - both British, both 4-member groups, both also on the UK X Factor — although Little Mix won their series and 1D didn't. Ironically, Zayn was engaged to Perrie before quitting the band.
  • Studio Chatter: The start of "Olivia" from "Made in the A.M."
  • Take That!: The music video for "Night Changes" could be one towards the numerous "1D x Self-Insert" fanfics out there. The P.O.V. Cam allows the viewer to go on dates with all the band's members — however, all the dates end horribly.
  • Title Track: The song "Up All Night" from their debut album and "Midnight Memories" from their third album are examples of this. Take Me Home subverts this, but a title drop can be found in "Kiss You". Subverted completely with "Four", but "A.M" on "Made in the A.M." uses the album title in the song
  • Vocal Tag Team: Liam and Harry clearly had the most solos on their first album, Up All Night (see #28). Later albums are more even-handed.