Tweens everywhere go ahead and “cry a river.” One Direction is going bye-bye. It is finished; it’s a done deal. When a boy band claims they’re “taking a break,” it usually isn’t temporary but rather permanent. Even if One Direction return after their “break” as has been suggested, will they be nearly as revered? Likely the answer is a resounding no. Time sometimes heals, but in the cutthroat music industry – particularly pop – time away can be a death sentence.
Here’s the thing about boy bands – they’re only hot for a season. One Direction has been hot for four years now, dropping four studio albums in that period of time (Up All Night 2011, Take Me Home, 2012, Midnight Memories, 2003, and Four, 2014). Each and everyone has been a commercial success, debuting easily at number one. There has never been a question about whether a One Direction album will be successful – it’s a done deal. Still, will the deal “be as done” should One Direction return following album five?
History is actually inconsistent in this regard. Sometimes, a hiatus doesn’t hurt to badly (Dr. Dre’s Compton arrived 16-years after album 2001 for example). In other cases, a comeback album is just a waste of time, money, and taxing on the listeners’ ears. But with boy bands that have comeback or even recorded regularly following their peak, the results have been questionable. Has Backstreet Boys ever regained their swagger since their heyday? What about the superb Boyz-II-Men – isn’t their best work behind them?
The Boyz-II-Men example really sticks because those dudes could blow (sing their butts off). One of the greatest boy bands ever, can One Direction compare to them? Of course not, even though Directioners everywhere probably are ready to throw poo emoticons and curses for asserting such a thing. But it’s true. Anything can happen, but it just seems unrealistic that One Direction can leave and come back first and foremost, and then secondly, release album six and impact to the same degree they once did in pop cultural circles.
Could any of the four remaining One Directions members become truly lucrative solo artists? Possibly, but there are questions and clear reservations. The clear frontrunners are Harry Styles and Liam Payne given their vocal potential. Obviously if you had to choose, personality would win out meaning Harry Styles seems to have a bit more oomph. Vocally he is distinct, possessing a gruffness that no one else in the group has. But then doesn’t Liam have a respectable set of pipes himself? Of course he does, but you wonder about the personality thing, something One Direction have always had a bit of a problem with.
What about the other two? Louis Tomlinson has a notable tenor that’s great for upper register things. There’s lightness about his pipes that make them the perfect timbre for some things. If Louis were to be a success as a solo artist, it would be about matching the right songs and once more truly selling the full package. If asked to day if Tomlinson would make it solo the answer would be NO.
As for Niall Horan, it seems more far-fetched to see him succeed in a solo capacity in any shape or fashion. NO, this guy is not being mean or cruel to the Irish member of the collective. Regardless of the shirtless dancing in his undies, you have to question the distinctiveness and strength of his pipes outside of a group. I don’t see it.
But let’s move past solo acts and back to the issue that’s “front and center.” Will One Direction survive its “break?” Again to reiterate, I don’t believe so. With Zayn Malik’s exit and Louis surprising he world and becoming a father to be, it just seemed like a lot of noise. Potentially it is time for One Direction to move on. But if music is the passion of it’s members, not so sure that the solo album is the right fit.