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A Know-Nothing Primer On One Direction, The Most Popular (Boy) Band In America Right Now

By / 03.27.12
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(ED. NOTE: This post is meant to serve as a public service announcement. This boy band will soon be ubiquitous, sadly, and at some point you'll wonder, "What the hell is One Direction?" Well, now you'll know. You're welcome.)

The debut album from British/Irish boy band One Direction, Up All Night, sold 176,000 copies in its first week of release, good enough to place at the top of the Billboard 200. Amazingly, they’re the first British group to accomplish such a feat. Take that, Beatles?

Until I read about their literal chart-topping success, I was blissfully unaware of One Direction. The terms “boy band” and “teenybopper” have a Pavlovian effect on me, except instead of salivating when I hear them, I feel like puking. (It’s not only because I dislike the overproduced, soulless, distant-yet-blaringly loud music; it’s also because at one point in my life, I LOVED the overproduced, soulless, distant-yet-blaringly loud music. A girl once said I looked like Joey Fatone from *NSYNC, and I was ecstatic at the comparison. I may or may not have had my first date at a Britney Spears concert.) But now that the group is dominating pop culture – and will soon appear on “SNL” – I decided to look into who they are and why their rabid fan base, made up of teen girls whose Edward and Bella panties get damp at the mere mention of their names, is so, well, rabid.

Here’s an Uproxx primer on One Direction, the most popular musical group in America right now.

There are five members of One Direction, the same amount as there are Backstreet Boys and *NSYNCers. Their names are Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson. They can all be described as The One with the Hair. But here's a little more about each guy:

Niall Horan

-"He’d rather lick a fat man’s armpit than drown in a sea of mayonnaise." OK?

Zayn Malik

-When asked whether he's Muslim or not (he is), Yahoo! Answers user "Sid Hus" responded, "yh he is he wears the cross and sings and kisses girls what do you think?" "Sid" does make a convincing point, however.

Harry Styles

-Has paragraphs like this written about him: "Harry Styles is looking for a new mattress because the springs are all worn out in his old one. So why would the One Direction singer's bed be broken? Did he and his ex Caroline Flack have a Breaking Dawn-style honeymoon moment at some point?" One Direction AND Twilight — teen girls must feel the same way about that sentence as we would one that mentions "Archer" and Alison Brie.

Liam Payne

-Has an attractive girlfriend, Danielle Peazer, who...

/checks quickly

Thank God, is of age.

Louis Tomlinson

-As far as I can tell, not related to LaDainian Tomlinson.

According to Wikipedia:

In 2010, all five members applied as solo candidates for “The X Factor,” but failed to qualify for the "Boys" category.

Heh.

After suggestion by guest judge Nicole Scherzinger, the five were put into a band, thus qualifying for the "Groups" category.

I’m electing the Pussycat Dolls over Black Eyed Peas as History’s Greatest Monsters.

One Direction finished third behind runner-up Rebecca Ferguson and winner Matt Cardle. Immediately after the final, their song "Forever Young," which would have been released if they had won "The X Factor," was leaked onto the internet.

Yes, the Alphaville song. I'm not going to link to it, because we already have this:

It’s called “What Makes You Beautiful,” and it sounds like "Summer Nights" from Grease, if Grease had been written by a group of synth-loving, Abercrombie & Fitch-wearing Swedish guys who had a thing for insecure girls and inoffensive messages. (Read: FOR WHITE PEOPLE ONLY.) Coincidentally enough, it was written by two Swedes, Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk, and the mastermind behind Lindsay Lohan’s “Symptoms of You,” Savan Kotecha. Basically, it's reminiscence of every top-40 pop song on the charts, in particular anything by Katy Perry, with a monstrous chorus and an infectious rah-rah attitude. It might not be "good" and it's most definitely shallow and manipulative ("You're insecure/Don't know what for"), but it is catchy.

Fu*k. They've got me.

The chorus of “What Makes You Beautiful,” the only part of a boy band song that “matters,” goes:

Baby you light up my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
But when you smile at the ground, it ain't hard to tell
You don't know, oh oh
You don't know you're beautiful

How does this compare to the choruses of other first-hit-singles from 1990s and 2000s boy bands?

Well, it’s certainly better than:

Jam on cuz Backstreet's got it
Come on now everybody
We've got it goin' on for years
“We’ve Got It Goin’ On” by Backstreet Boys

But not as good as:

You're all I ever wanted
You're all I ever needed, yeah
So tell me what to do now
When I want you back
-“I Want You Back” by ‘N Sync

But definitely improved over:

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
The right stuff
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
The right stuff
-"You Got It (The Right Stuff)" by New Kids on the Block

And less culturally irrelevant and out-of-date as:

I dream about a girl who's a mix of Destiny's Child
Just a little touch Madonna's wild style
With Janet Jackson's smile, throw in a body like Jennifer's
You've got the star of my liquid dream
-"Liquid Dreams" by O-Town

But no first-hit boy band song will ever top:

Motownphilly's back again
Doin' a little east coast swing
Boyz II Men going off
Not too hard, not too soft
-"Motownphilly" by Boyz II Men

(Via) (Via) (Via) (Via) (Via) (Via)

I woke up in the next morning with my cell phone ringing “Hello” i said with a sleppy voice “GET UP! IM HERE MAKING BREAKFEST FOR YOU” I heard Shannon voice from downstairs and from the phone, all my Bestfriends had the keys to my flat and i has theirs it was a thing we liked to do. I hung up and i went down stairs “Sooooo tell me everything! you look tired!” she told me “Thanks its 9 am and i fall asleep last night at 3 am” I told her “Why?” she asked “I couldnt stop thinking about him” i replied “I cant believe that you’re dating one of One Direction member! Im so jeaulous!!!!” she told me, i smiled “He is so cute and funny, and he cooks!!! He made this chocolate cake that taste like heaven!”

(Via)

"Stop it, you're making me blush," he chuckled. "I'd like you to meet One Direction. Liam, Zayn, Louis, Harry and Niall," he said, pointing at us individually as we all smiled at her. "Boys, this is Sophie, the girl that Simon was telling you about. She'll be keeping you in line. I'll leave you to get to know each other," he finished, getting up and going over to two other gorgeous dancers.

If you left me alone in that room for half an hour with all those girls and told me I could do whatever I wanted I would have been in absolute heaven.

"I don't mind her keeping me in line," Niall whispered to me and I grinned.

"Just what I was thinking," I murmured back and she stared at me.

"Well that's good then, because that's what I'll be doing. What exactly did Simon say about me?" she asked. "He's my uncle so his opinion matters to me."

"Basically that you'll be making sure we don't get distracted by the dancers. Might be a hard job though," said Liam, craning his neck to get a better view.

"You want to watch out for that one," she said, pointing discreetly at the girl who had put her middle finger up to her earlier. "She's trouble. And about it being a hard job… I grew up with four older brothers… It won't be that difficult," she giggled and smiled again. "Looks like we'll be spending a lot of time together then doesn't it?" she added.

"Yeah," I muttered.

And I couldn't wait for it.

(Via)

JESUS CHRIST. If you were wearing headphones or have ears, I'm so sorry.

That guy has collected so many pairs of One Direction boy shorts. Or you can save your money for a ticket for their upcoming New York City show, with prices up to nearly $1,700:

(Via)

We've gotta hear both sides of the argument, don't we?

Interesting, interesting. But let's go to the ultimate source to prove their worth: Yahoo! Answers.

"Is One Direction any good?"

Well, I'm convinced.

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