I Investigated What All of One Direction is Doing These Days

You’re welcome

Photo by FOX via Getty Images.

Full disclosure: I once questioned the existence of One Direction. As someone who grew up on a steady diet of *NSYNC, BSB and B2K (dancing boy bands), with a side of Hanson and a sprinkling of BBMack (boys in actual bands), I often found myself thinking, in regards to 1D: That’s way too many guys who A.) aren’t dancing and B.) aren’t playing any instruments on stage at the same time. Yes, you all have fantastic hair, but we could probably pare this down to one guy, tops, Nick Jonas-style.

Fast forward to 2017: One Direction is no more, but my Spotify auto-play keeps feeding me singles from every former member (all five!!!!), which I’ll gladly take as proof positive that my original hunch was on to something. Perhaps 1D was never destined to be the type of boy band I was accustomed to: a handful of perfectly fine individuals — the AJs and Chris Kirkpatricks of the world, flanking a clear standout — the Justin Timberlakes. The formers fade into the background, never to be heard from again until rumors of a reunion begin to brew, while the latter becomes BFFs with the host of The Tonight Show. Maybe 1D truly was compiled of five solo artists who just had to hang out with each other for longer than they wanted to because of Simon Cowell.

Who knows if they’ll all be aboard the Relevance Train come 2018, but right now, they’re all doing it live, which is simultaneously impressive and really hard to keep track of. So in the spirit of Man Repeller’s theme this month, I decided to roll up my sleeves and put together some SparkNotes because it’s September and I think I’m subconsciously nostalgic for schoolwork:

Zayn Malik

Age now: 24
Has released: 1 studio album, Mind of Mine
Has collaborated with: Taylor Swift, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Sia
If one of his songs came on Spotify, you’d think you were listening to: The Weeknd radio
Current hair status: BALD
Fun fact: He was casually on the cover of Vogue this summer with that one girl he’s dating.

Harry Styles

Age now: 23
Has released: 1 studio album, Harry Styles
Has collaborated with: Bruno Mars, allegedly, and Robbie Williams is salty about it
If one of his songs came on Spotify, you’d think you were listening to: The Verve radio
Current hair status: Long and Mick Jagger-y; artfully disheveled
Fun fact: He just made it onto Vanity Fair‘s 2017 International Best Dressed List with Rihanna. Killing it.

Louis Tomlinson

Age now: 25
Has released: 2 singles, “Just Hold On” and “Back to You”
Has collaborated with: Steve Aoki, Bebe Rexha
If one of his songs came on Spotify, you’d think you were listening to: Calvin Harris radio
Current hair status: Long and swoopy in the front, short in the back; emo-kid adjacent
Fun fact: He recently revealed he’s obsessed with the Arctic Monkeys — same!

Niall Horan

Age now: 23
Has released: 2 singles, “This Town” and “Slow Hands”
Has collaborated with: Shawn Mendes, allegedly
If one of his songs came on Spotify, you’d think you were listening to: Shawn Mendes radio
Current hair status: Long-ish on top, short on the sides and back; brown
Fun fact: I’ve had two separate friends pushing 30 tell me how much they want to make out with someone to “Slow Hands.”

Liam Payne

Age now: 24
Has released: 2 singles, “Strip That Down” and “Get Low
Has collaborated with: Zedd, Quavo
If one of his songs came on Spotify, you’d think you were listening to: Nick Jonas radio
Current hair status: Even length throughout with some wispy pieces in front.
Fun fact: He has a son and that son’s name is Bear. Bear Payne.

Still, I’ll always remember them like this:

Which former One Direction guy are you listening to these days?

Get more Pop Culture ?
  • Haven’t even read this yet but I can tell you you’re doing the lord’s work.

  • ericabeckster

    *downloads “Slow Hands” and puts on chapstick*

  • Caroline Kloster

    As of yesterday, Zayn has also collaborated with Sia. Don’t mean to correct you–this is coming from a One Direction fan of four years, so obviously I’m like a dog whose ears perk up whenever any of those boys does anything.

    Soooo happy to see my boys on MR, what a great morning 🙂

    • CLASSIC ZAYN. I already had to update his current hair status TWICE while writing this. Thank you!

  • Bmo

    Can we talk about how great Harry was in Dunkirk?? What an angel!

    • Alex S


  • I’m gonna admit that I was super excited about HS album, but when it came out it was a huge disappointment. I mean, it’s an okay album, but I feel the whole album isn’t Harry, it’s just an “I’m trying to sound like the beatles-dylan-and-the-stones” attempt to … Prove a point? Try to be like his heroes? Idk. I just hope Harry’s next album has more of Harry and less of his influences. If that makes any sense. Also, you go, Niall. And Louis’ song can not get out of my head WHY IS THAT SONG SO DAMN CATCHY?

    • Bmo

      I kind of feel the opposite, that his solo album is lot closer to the music he wants to be making than anything they put out with 1D. I definitely agree that the early 70s influences are pretty heavy though.
      Love them all and I want them all to be happy and succeed!

      • Oh wait, yes, I definitely feel his solo album is what he wanted to make! What I mean is that I don’t find as much of him in his music as I would want to, I find more of his influences. I need more Harry, less 70s music. I love them all too, I was such a hardcore 1D fan two years ago and I’m not even sorry lol

        • Bmo

          I totally agree! And I was also a hardcore 1D fan… I may have moderated a tumblr back in the day…

    • By “Louis’ song” do you mean “Back to You”? Because I haven’t been able to stop listening to that for the past 2 months send help.

  • Katherine Kautz

    Zayn’s song “lucozade (the UK version of Gatorade) is magic. Over the whole, “he wrecked the band and doesn’t deserve the attention vibe.” Harry’s album made an artistic statement, and it is fabulous. In my opinion, the other guys are lagging behind…

  • Lil

    All of them seem to be doing well except for Liam. And he’s my fav too. His song just doesn’t really sound like him.

  • Andrea Raymer

    So I was never a diehard 1D fan but decided I could support them out of principle after I watched their concert documentary (by myself in the middle of the day surrounded by 12-year olds while I was getting my tires replaced).

    BUT. I am now fully aboard the Harry Styles train. I want to date him, I want to be him. I am currently listening to his solo album which is so excellent I was able to trick my hipster friends into listening to it voluntarily. I saw Dunkirk twice over a 48 hour period when it first came out.

    • Luarnaiz

      I will completely back you up on the Harry Styles situation if you ever need some support.

    • Avaree Vowell

      This is how I got hooked too.

  • I’ve never really paid attention to 1D, but I really enjoyed this and now feel like I know too much.

    • WAIT I just watched the last video. AMAZE. SO GOOD. WHAT TALENT!!!

  • jolene73

    This article completely broke the dream I had last night where I was hangin’ out with HS (and we were absolutely NOT naked and it was still a great way to spend my sleep time). I kind of dug him before but being in my forties it felt slightly wrong saying that, but I would be totally OK with maybe making him hot chocolate and giving him cool hair styles. This is emphatically NOT an euphemism.

  • Dale Chong

    Harry Styles is the love of my life he just doesn’t know it yet.

  • Cutie pie

    In my opinion all five of them are doing great
    Zayn new collaboration with Sia ~Dusk till Dawn is as wonderful as him.
    Harry ~sign of the times is something unique
    Liam ~ strip that down is on billboard top 10….so wat else say
    Louis ~back to you and just hold on are so freakingly amazing
    Niall ~ slow hands and this town ….lyrics of both the songs jus heart touching ♥
    So they all are on peak

  • Shreyas shingade

    Well most successful is the niall horan his both song were top on billboards .

  • Ellen

    yeah so i’m marrying harry and you’re all invited.

    PS really looking forward to his wedding outfit.

  • Emmie

    v. necessary

  • amcrni

    Will stan for Louis forever. Rooting for him.

  • Autumn

    If you didn’t post that One Direction video at the end I totally would’ve. It’s the only way I’ll forever hear/sing that song.

    • 😂😂😂😂😂 I was starting to think nobody noticed which version it was. (Aka the best version).

  • Bec Cushway

    omg that last video I can’t unhear it. Side note, nearly all of my mid-20s friends also want to make out to Slow Hands, it’s a conspiracy.