All five One Direction members have now officially released at least one single as solo artists, with Liam Payne being the last one to release one and Zayn Malik being the first. It only seems right to compare how they’ve all done and see who out of Harry, Niall, Louis, Liam and Zayn gave us the best first impression as a solo artist with their debut single. I will eventually do the same with when they’ve all released albums but at the moment it is just Harry and Zayn who have brought out full LPs. Who will come out on top? There’s only one way to find out.
5. Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson – Just Hold On
As soon as I saw that this was the avenue Louis was going down, collaborating with trash EDM artists, I just sighed and shook my head. My early predictions sure weren’t wrong, as we were given a dull song with what can only be described as the mother of all mum drops courtesy of Steve Aoki, who’s comedic value went through the roof after this shocker. Louis sounds out of touch vocally, he doesn’t suit the track in my opinion and appears to be missing the support of his fellow 1D members far more than they are. There’s not much more I can say about this track other than that it was a certainty to be at the bottom of this list.
4. Liam Payne ft. Quavo – Strip That Down
Every figment of my being wanted to enjoy this song far more than I did. First of all, he has Quavo of hip-hop group Migos on here, suggesting it’s going to be an upbeat R&B/Hip-Hop song, perhaps of a similar ilk to Zayn’s ‘PILLOWTALK’. What it actually is, I’m afraid to report, is a cheap Ed Sheeran tribute track, from the instrumental right up to the vocal delivery. Liam sounds identical to how Ed sounds on ‘Shape Of You’ while he does the pre-chorus of this one and it’s a real shame to say that; but it truly is half-hearted and unoriginal. I do still really like the Quavo feature, however, simply because he’s one of the greatest treasure’s this planet has ever produced.
3. Niall Horan – This Town
This acoustic atmosphere is something I actually expected from more of the members once they departed the pop boy band label they were granted as One Direction, but Niall is the only one who truly stuck with that. ‘This Town’ is a pleasant listen and is a solid demonstration of his ability as a songwriter and solo performer; where his voice passes the difficult isolation task that comes with solo artists who have previously transitioned from group work. Ed Sheeran comparisons spawned from this song’s release but I don’t really see Niall quite reaching that level, selling out stadiums and headlining festivals on his own, smashing records just seems a bit too far for Niall so to compare him to that so early on in his career is a poor decision. The song itself doesn’t have truly remarkable features but it does the simple things well and can be enjoyed in a chilled out environment, it does leave you wanting a bit more, however.
2. Harry Styles – Sign Of The Times
When I first heard this song I was filled with anger and frustration, because it sounded like a really shoddy version of a classic ballad, but the more I’ve listened, the more I’ve warmed to it. I can’t quite put my finger on what made it click in my head, but whatever it was I’m grateful for it; because now I can truly appreciate how great of a song it is, especially as a debut single. A song about love and the world around us, Harry takes on a level of maturity that you don’t even get close to seeing from the other members’ singles, as he seems the most suited to being a solo artist with his vocal variations and this colossal progression on the song’s progression. He doesn’t lose pace as the song goes on and it’s a five minute enjoyment fest. Despite all of this, it isn’t my number one, though.
1. Zayn Malik – PILLOWTALK
Contrary to how I feel about his album as a whole, I absolutely loved ‘PILLOWTALK’ from the moment it was released. I enjoyed the fresh sound we were given from Zayn as he justified his decision to be the first member to walk away from 1D and pursue his own aspirations in the music industry. In terms of invention he takes the cake against his fellow One Direction members as he gives an R&B flavour to us all to bleed out his true identity to the musical spheres. The attitude and swagger within the song makes it a standout hit of it’s time as it flew to the top of the charts and has gone on to generate over 500 million Spotify streams. His voice is powerful and fits with the moody atmosphere he creates with an incredibly catchy instrumental. A very raunchy concept which had plenty swooning over him all over again, and had Music fans intrigued about what the future may lie for Zayn.