Does Zayn Malik Have a Valid Point About One Direction?  


One Direction, Up All Night © Columbia

Ah, the f-bomb heard ‘round the world. In an extensive interview with The Fader, Zayn Malik said ‘something he shouldn’t have.’ No, he didn’t say anything he was forbidden to say or couldn’t say, but it’s sure to cause a stir with those Directioners. The line that will stand out is in reference to his former band in regards to the music being recorded. Are you ready for it? Malik said the following:

“If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as fuck, so they could use that version. Whenever I would suggest something, it was like it didn’t fit us.”

So the key, ‘offensive’ line is the angst-filled generic as fuck line, which many will take out of context as a direct jab at the members of the band. Hey, Billboard has an article about those infamous three words. It’s not personal, but those words do express Malik’s feelings about the ‘direction’ that One Direction was going with him still a member. The question is, does he have a point about One Direction’s music? Yes. Oh and as for Malik’s “potty mouth” – he’s nearly 23- years old, what do you expect? Go to middle school sometimes…

The thing about boy bands (or girl bands not to discriminate) is that they don’t allow for total individualism. If there’s ever a medium where sacrifice is the M.O., it’s the boy band. Considering the lack of individualism – it is what we expect of such a group – everything has to be in sync as one. In the spirit of artistry however, a separate regard, the boy band/girl band that has been so unmusically assembled (what Malik suggests) doesn’t allow for much personality musically or even personally. Let’s dissect this last point with One Direction specifically.

Having reviewed all five of One Direction’s albums, one of the biggest rubs has been the lack of personality. No matter how good looking the Brit-Irish five-some (now four-some) may have been, personality attached to the music was always at a minimum. Sure, there have been some catchy, bubblegum songs we’ll remember for better or worse, but what can you extract individually or artistically from “What Makes You Beautiful,” “More Than This,” or “Live While We’re Young”? Not much.

Again, this isn’t a personal attack against any one member of 1D, but the band has just recently shed some of the feel that it’s nothing more than a ‘package.’ But that’s taken five albums and still even listening to the respectable Made In The A.M., you’d like more oomph, specifically even more personality and less generic.

Duncan Cooper, “Zayn Malik’s Next Direction,” The Fader, Dec 2015-Jan. 2016. Online. 

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