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:
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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?