To give a brief backstory, One Direction got its start in 2010 on the U.K. show “X Factor.” The boys: Niall, Liam, Zayn, Harry, and Louis all auditioned as soloists (having never met each other) and qualified into the “boot camp” stage. Though all talented singers, the judges (which included famous singing/talent judge, Simon Cowell) felt the boys were not ready to move on into the “boys” category and perform at the judge’s houses.
On the other hand, the judges felt they were too good to dismiss, so it was decided the boys would move on in the competition as a group. Under the guidance of Cowell, One Direction worked hard and performed well each week in the competition. In the end, One Direction placed third overall. Despite their finish, Cowell signed them under his record label, Syco Records. In three short years, One Direction has released two albums both of which have achieved international success. Their first album reached number one in 16 countries and their second album reached number one in 32 countries.
Both albums feature a range of songs, from upbeat pop to mid-tempo, from rock to ballad. All the songs focus on love and heartbreak. You’re probably thinking, so many songs already focus on those subjects, so what makes One Direction so special? In my opinion, the lyrics of all One Direction songs are exactly what teenage girls want to hear. Here is an example from the chorus of their first single “What Makes You Beautiful”:
“Baby, you light up my world like nobody else/ The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed/ But when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell/ You don’t know oh oh/ You don’t know you’re beautiful/ If only you saw what I can see/ You’ll understand why I want you so desperately/ Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe/ You don’t know oh oh/ You don’t know you’re beautiful oh oh/ That’s what makes you beautiful.”
If your boyfriend or high school crush walked up to you and said those words, you’d either think they were creepy or you’d fall head-over-heels in love. For many girls, they fell head-over-heels in love with One Direction, thereby declaring themselves “Directioners”.
However, some of you may read the “What Makes You Beautiful” lyrics I just posted and think they are full of fluff and sap, but when you take those phrases and mix them with a catchy, head bopping tune, you get instant popularity and screaming fan girls.
Think back to previous boy bands: NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, even as far back as the Beatles. All of those boy bands had one thing in common, lots and lots of screaming fan girls. How do boy bands do it? For one, their looks (though it’s close to impossible to be a celebrity and not be attractive). Second, their music full of puppy-love lyrics with catchy and fast tempo beats (as I just discussed). And third, a group of voices that sound well together (as the adage goes “two heads are better than one” or in this case, five singers together sound better than a solo artist).
Now that I just explained why One Direction is so popular with teenage girls, you’re probably wondering why do I (since I’m not part of the primary demographic) love them so much? For me, my love for One Direction has grown over time. It started last summer when One Direction was just a group I heard on the radio. I liked the songs they played and I found myself going online so I can listen to them on repeat. Gradually, I would listen to more of their songs (songs they don’t normally play on the radio) and I thought each one was catchy and fun to listen to.
Once I listened to their songs online, I gradually worked my way to watching interviews of them and learning their personalities. Niall was the “cute, blonde Irishman,” Liam was the “mature one often regarded as the father figure,” Zayn was the “quiet, mysterious one,” Harry was the “charming ladies man with four nipples,” and Louis was the “silly jokester.” Though I don’t idolize them as my future husbands like the teenagers do, I do think they carry a positive attitude with their career and are genuinely appreciative towards their fandom, which is like a breath of fresh air coming from the entertainment industry.
If you’re interested in hearing one of their songs, getting a feel of their personalities, or seeing Harry’s four nipples, I recommend watching their music video “Kiss You” on Youtube.