On January 13, 2016, US Weekly reported One Direction had broken up. The band’s reps claimed hiatus, but the truth stands: In two years, each of our sweet boys has released solo material, and there has been no whisper of a reunion.
What do we do with this boy band-shaped hole in the universe? How do we commemorate 730 Directionless days? To process my own grief at the passage of time, I wrote a one-sentence review for every single One Direction song — a tribute, a memorial, a true labor of love.
Up All Night
"What Makes You Beautiful" — Yes, this song is toxic, but it’s also catchy as hell.
"Gotta Be You" — ”What a mess I’ve made upon your innocence” is a LOT for Liam to say in the second song of their first album.
"One Thing"" — All the boys really shine in their own unique ways, plus it’s really satisfying to clutch at your chest and sing the chorus as earnestly as you can.
"More Than This" — The synth backing and saccharine, vaguely sexual lyrics of this song seem especially embarrassing given that they were tiny infant babies when they recorded this.
"Up All Night" — I literally never want to stay up all night and jump around until I see the sun again in my life, but I appreciate the sentiment.
"I Wish" — Look, they can’t all be winners.
"Tell Me A Lie" — Kelly Clarkson wrote this song, and it SOUNDS LIKE A KELLY CLARKSON SONG.
"Taken" — This song reminds me of being a middle schooler in a way that makes me feel bad about myself.
"I Want" — A musical theatre-style sequel to Veruca Salt’s "Golden Goose" song in Willy Wonka.
"Everything About You" — The song that brings us the line, “All we want to have is fun but they say that we’re too young.”
"Same Mistakes" — Do you ever feel like you’re in a cycle of ineptitude, like, maybe all of your life is just obsessing over one boy band after another until you die?
"Save You Tonight" — Has the CW used this as the theme song for a sexy teenage superhero show yet?
"Stole My Heart" — This sounds like it came from the soundtrack from a Disney Channel Original Movie about preteens in the year 3000.
"Stand Up" — Be comforted in the fact that it hurts 1D “to think that you’ve ever cried.”
"Moments" — This album-ending track taught me that sex should be powerful and full of yearning and, sure, you should both be crying.
Take Me Home
"Live While We’re Young" — A reminder that no matter what age you are, 1D will always have more youth than you.
"Kiss You" — The best 1D single, the best 1D music video, the worst song to choose at karaoke.
"Little Things" — When Niall croons “You’ll never treat yourself right, darling, but I want you to,” I believe in love again.
"C’mon, C’mon" — Trying to be chill about the song where 1D reaches for your hand and says, “Hey, I’ve been watching you all night.”
"Last First Kiss" — Teens, no, you don’t have to marry the person you are kissing right now!
"Heart Attack" — One of the best choruses to sing along to from the entire discography--ow!
"Rock Me" — Gotta respect a beach love song that begins with, “Do you remember summer ’09?”
"Change My Mind" — In the Is This Us documentary Liam changes the lyrics to “Baby if you want me to drive to KFC.”
"I Would" — This reference to having “27 tattoos” came at a time before Harry covered himself with bad clip art.
"Over Again" — Niall and Liam do a synchronized hand motion at “hole in the middle of my heart like a polo” and it’s really satisfying to do it yourself when you listen.
"Back For You" — Wow, this album is full of bangers, and this is one of them!
"They Don’t Know About Us" — “MOM, DAD, YOU’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND OUR LOVE.”
"Summer Love" — As someone who never experienced a teen summer love, this song makes me bitter.
"She’s Not Afraid" — Strong female lead.
"Loved You First" — This song makes me remember my middle school crush, so it also really triggers my anxiety.
"Nobody Compares" — Any song that begins with “You’re so pretty when you cry” has me cringing till the final note.
"Still The One" — A great bop to end a super solid pop album.
"Best Song Ever" — "Best Song Ever" is, ironically, sort of just fine.
"Story of My Life" — Sweet, slow single with a rousing Harry chorus.
"Diana" — Wow, love a teen suicide bop!
"Midnight Memories" — The title track that taught me Addison Lee is a British car rental service.
"You and I" — 1D also released a perfume of the same name that was my first purchase when I got a full-time job.
"Don’t Forget Where You Belong" — Once I was singing along to this song in my old roommate’s car an I started crying because I was never on my own and the proof is in this song.
"Strong" — This song reminds me of the romance from the teen dystopian novel Divergent, which I was coincidentally pretty into when this album came out.
"Happily" — A little dose of the folk-pop that would inform the next album (and the rest of Harry’s career).
"Right Now" — I forget this song the minute it ends which means it’s a perfectly serviceable pop ballad.
"Little Black Dress" — This song is sort of objectifying but I HAVE A LITTLE BLACK DRESS, IS IT ABOUT ME?
"Through the Dark" — When I have to stay late at work I imagine Niall leaning in and crooning in my ear: “Don’t burn out.”
"Something Great" — A surprisingly optimistic song about having a crush.
"Little White Lies" — This song is problematic as hell and clear, enthusiastic sexual consent is necessary and also I love to sing it at the top of my lungs in the shower.
"Better Than Words" — Check back in for my forthcoming dissertation, “Better Than Words: The nihilistic power of pop song linguistics in the modern age.”
"Why Don’t We Go There" — The Niall bridge is a real highlight.
"Does He Know?" — Once I was walking a dog in an alley at night and a man started walking towards me singing to himself and I felt really nervous and then I listened and HE WAS SINGING THIS SONG AND I KNEW IT WOULD BE OKAY.
"Alive" — The therapist the boys go to in this song should lose her job because she gives terrible, terrible advice.
"Half a Heart" — When Louis sings, “If you could spare an hour or so we’ll go for lunch down by the river,” I’m like, “OKAY!”
"Steal My Girl" — When this single dropped we drove around Chicago for hours waiting to hear it on pop radio.
"Ready to Run" — Great track for every road trip playlist.
"Where Do Broken Hearts Go" — Can’t write a review of this song because I’m busy screaming the chorus so loud I get evicted.
"18" — Ed Sheeran wrote this one and ugh, aw, it’s cute.
"Girl Almighty" — The chorus that birthed 1,000 One Direction tattoos (that are all dope as hell).
"Fool’s Gold" — The metaphors in this song are very English 101 and our sweet boys get a passing grade.
"Night Changes" — I thought this would be about werewolves, and I’m still disappointed.
"No Control" — It is a CRIMINAL MISTAKE this song wasn’t a single!
"Fireproof" — This is the song I would play my dad to win an argument that One Direction is good.
"Spaces" — Are these heartfelt lyrics about goodbyes a portender to Zayn’s fast-approaching departure?
"Stockholm Syndrome" — Too sexy!
"Clouds" — The chorus is a little pop punk-y, a little “group chant at a high school pep rally.”
"Change Your Ticket" — A fanfic where the boys beg you not to leave their hotel room, and how can you tell them no?
"Illusion" — Harry sings, “This is not an illusion / There’s magic between you and me” but illusions ARE magic?
"Once in a Lifetime" — Of course this boring-ass song got relegated to the deluxe edition bonus tracks.
"Act My Age" — The Dropkick Murphys are shaking.
Made in the AM
"Hey Angel" — This song is bland, vaguely '90s, and a terrible flat note to begin the album.
"Drag Me Down" — 1D’s turn at arena rock works bizarrely well.
"Perfect" — Harry sings the chorus, and it’s — dare I say it — PERFECT??
"Infinity" — A girl from college who never ever posted about 1D once @‘d me that this is the most romantic One Direction song, and I was like, “huh.”
"End of the Day" — This song has the insane twist of being just excellent until it hits the chorus, where it becomes horrifying.
"If I Could Fly" — This sounds like a Niall solo single, which means it’s Fine.
"Long Way Down" — Harry-heavy songs on this album are the best.
"Never Enough" — The album’s number one BANGER backed by the chanting fish from Finding Nemo.
"Olivia" —1D does The Beatles and, man, it works, it works!
"What A Feeling" — The chorus of this song feels bland in a way that really highlights Zayn’s absence.
"Love You Goodbye" — This is a song the boys are singing to me because this is their last album and we’ve had a wonderful time but ultimately, some of us are going on to better things (Harry, me).
"I Want To Write You A Song" — A ballad designed specifically to twinge your heartstrings and god, yes, I do want Louis to give me a boat.
"History" — WE GOT A LOT OF HISTORY, BABY BOYS, AND WE WILL NEVER BE OVER.
"Temporary Fix" — Yes! Let’s! Go!
"Walking in the Wind" — “Goodbyes are bittersweet, but it’s not the end — I’ll see your face again:” READY FOR THE “WALKING IN THE WIND” REUNION TOUR.
"Wolves" — This song gets a pass because wolves are dope.
"A.M." — You know at some point head 1D songwriter Julian Bunetta was like, “The first album was Up All Night, and now… Now, it’s the morning.”
top image: still from "What Makes You Beautiful"
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Megan Kirby lives in Chicago. She's written for Jezebel, The Chicago Tribune, Bitch Magazine, and The Hairpin. She writes a few zines. One is about The NeverEnding Story. Follow her on Twitter @megankirb.