One Direction is four years old today, so I can’t think of a better time for us all to acknowledge that they’re pretty much over, as a band. I can only imagine the amount of hate I’m gonna get for writing down those blasphemous words, but just hear me out, okay Directioners?
Sure, these guys are still pumping out catchy songs and videos and selling out their world tours, but they’ve never been touted as exellent singers or songwriters or dancers. The main thing that they had to offer as a group was their chemistry; how well they get along. The reason you buy tickets to their concerts isn’t to hear impeccable five-part harmony or to marvel at their pyrotechnics and costume changes, but to see five dudes who genuinely seem to get along, hanging out.
And since that description doesn’t seem to be accurate anymore, it’s hard to make the case that this group will be around for much longer. There have been rumors for years at this point about Harry Styles leaving the rest of the lads behind to create his own solo material, and though so far he’s maintained his commitment to the group, five is a really big number when it corresponds with the amount of wealthy young men you’re trying to keep together and on the right path.
And lately, those struggles have become a little more public. We saw the video that Louis Tomlinson shot of Zayn Malik smoking weed in the back of that car, and the internet has been rife with rumors about more serious partying, drug use, and reckless choices, as well as a rift between bandmates so deep that apparently when traveling to gigs, Louis and Zayn fly on one plane, while Harry, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan take another. The more successful they get, the more likely it is that one or more of the band members will want to go in another direction, whether that’s toward a harder sound or harder partying.
For now, there’s still the illusion of everything being on control, because 1D is on tour now with their Where We Are tour, and already scheduled to spend the first portion of 2015 on tour as well with their On The Road Again Tour. During that time, if history (and contracts!) holds, they’ll likely put out two more records, continuing their one-a-year streak and driving tensions ever higher, until the group collapses in on itself and breaks up. I’d say they probably have another year or two in them, tops. (Although I’m also not ruling out re-reading this post in five while they’re still at the top of the charts and kicking myself for my stupidity.)
But bottom line, even One Direction themselves seem to realize that their days are numbered. No one works at that breakneck a pace (a tour and a new album every year??) if they think they’ll be able to go on forever. They know it’s a ticking clock, and that’s why their pitch is so fevered. They’ve got a good thing going, and it can only go on so long, so they’re going to milk it for everything it’s worth.