Since the gentlemen of One Direction have pursued solo careers, reception from fans has been overwhelmingly mixed. While some are still enraged their beloved One Direction has separated, others are pleased to see that members of the former boy band are making (pretty great) music as solo artists.
Liam Payne released new single "Strip That Down" on Friday, and 1D fans lined up to praise the song which will surely become a hit. But where does Payne's new tune float in the pool of solo songs from the fellow One Direction members Zayn Malik and Harry Styles and Naill Horan?
TooFab investigated the facts and the numbers to see how the boys of 1D stack up against each other in their solo careers.
After going on a massive media blitz, Liam Payne has finally released his latest single "Strip That Down." Though the track is relatively new, it's been well received by One Direction fans and reviewers all over the web.
"Strip That Down" - Released May 19th, 2017
Just a few hours since it's release, Payne's new song has close to 300,000 views on Youtube. Official numbers are obviously not up yet, but we'll update this post with more information as it becomes available.
After departing One Direction in March 2015 saying he only "ever tried to do it for the fans, and it was only ever for them" and that "it's just that I just can't do that anymore because it's not real to me." Malik went on hiatus until releasing his first solo single.
Shortly after his exit, Malik released "I Won't Mind" in collaboration with Naughty Boy. Though this is technically his first song since leaving 1D, it was not as widely circulated, or as widely appreciated, as "Pillowtalk," the first track off his solo album "Mind of Mine."
"Pillowtalk" - Released January 29th, 2016
The official video for "Pillowtalk," starring Malik's model girlfriend Gigi Hadid has been viewed a whopping 700 million times on YouTube. The song itself debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, making Malik the first UK artist to debut at the top of the Hot 100 with a first charted single. "Pillowtalk" sold 267,000 copies its first week, was streamed 22.3 million times (making it the 4th largest streaming debut ever) and also clocked in 5.9 million radio listens in its first three days.
Aside from debuting at No. 1 in over 60 counties, Malik's first hit was praised all over social media. His album released thereafter also debuted at No.1, setting an iTunes record by becoming the first debut album to top the daily iTunes charts in more than 70 countries. In 2016, Malik won the American Music Award for Best New Artist of the Year.
Reviews from music publications also noted Malik's first solo success. Richard He of Vice said, "Zayn's brand of alternative R&B is carefully curated to exude maximum cool," and Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone said, "The welcome surprises not only take Malik off the Justin Timberlake-paved track of post-boy band R&B album tropes, they create unique possibilities of his own."
After Malik stepped out as the first 1D-er to release a solo album, Horan was next in line to garner critical acclaim for his upcoming solo project. Horan signed a deal with Capitol Records and shortly after released "This Town."
Much like his ex-bandmate, Horan stepped into the light showing that he did in fact possessed way more talent then was being displayed as member of 1D. "This Town" uncovered Horan's abilities to perform acoustic ballads and truly showcased his skill as a musician.
"This Town" - Released September 29, 2016
The video for "This Town" has been viewed close to 36 million times on YouTube, and the song peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's highest ranking was achieved on Billboard's Dance Club chart, peaking at No. 3. The song was certified platinum in the U.S., as well was going double platinum in both Ireland and Canada.
Though people were excited to hear new songs from yet another promising member of 1D, the praise for "This Town" was mixed. While some reviewers noted that Horan "promotes his guise as an acoustic balladeer" and others said he was "reinforcing the authenticity of his future career as a credible artist with skills beyond being adorable," most were not as impressed calling the song "nothing special" and "a slight misfire."
For most of his time in One Direction, Styles was the the heartthrob member of the group who dabbled in relationships with famous ladies like Taylor Swift and Kendall Jenner, but after the release of his first single "Sign of the Times," Styles proved he was more than just a pretty face that took up residency in a successful boy band.
Styles said his new sound was derived from the experiences he had while being in the spotlight, tied to many different women and embarking on serious relationships at such a young age.
"In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together," he said. "You’re celebrating the fact it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than, 'This didn’t work out, and that’s bad.' And if you run into that person, maybe it’s awkward, maybe you have to get drunk … but you shared something. Meeting someone new, sharing those experiences, it’s the best s— ever. So thank you."
"Sign of the Times" - Released April 7, 2017
"Sign of the Times" has been viewed on YouTube almost 50 million times, and the song peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was streamed 16.5 million times in its first week, with 23 million impressions on radio. The song reached No. 1 on charts in Australia, Mexico, Scotland and the U.K.
Early review of the song showed that music industry experts were impressed by Styles. The sound was both unexpected, but also sophisticated. The Guardian compared the debut single to "David Bowie meets Queen," and The Atlantic called the song "an arena-rock reverie that feels so, so familiar to anyone who remembers the '90s but also so, so foreign to today’s landscape."
The boys of One Direction might all end up in different places on the sphere of new music, but what we can confirm is that they are as impressive solo as they are together, and there is no shortage of talent among them.
Take a listen to some of the other tracks the boys have released as solo artists:
Harry Styles ("Sweet Creature")
Niall Horan ("Slow Hands")
Zayn Malik ("Still Got Time ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR")