One Direction solo albums ranked from best to worst
Over the last four years, all five members released albums of various qualities spanning genres ranging from rock to soul
With Louis Tomlinson releasing his long awaited debut album Walls last week, the final piece of the post-One Direction puzzle has been revealed. With all five members solo careers now up and running, we take a look at each debut release and find out if they are good enough to set the singers up for an enduring career.
5. Liam Payne – LP1 (2019)
This is what happens when you don’t have a clue about who you are as a potential solo artist. When Payne caught up with The National in 2018, he admitted to being at a loss on how to go forward. Partnered with a gaggle of songwriters, they rightly honed in on Payne’s striking falsetto and began transitioning him into a sultry RnB singer. With LP1, they went too far in that direction with an the album full of tasteless raunchy metaphors and anodyne pop. This is not a total career ender, but Payne needs to find out what he is about sooner than later.
4. Niall Horan – Flicker (2017)
Who would have thought there is an artist out there that could make Ed Sheeran sound positively edgy? Not that Horan’s effort is totally dire, it is just too sweet. Like, fairy floss cloying in your throat, sweet. Flicker finds Horan paying an all too respectful tribute to 1970’s AM radio with acoustic numbers recalling the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Jackson Browne. Nothing wrong with that, but it is all done so delicately and without any real character. You can hear this at a hotel lobby near you.
3. Walls – Louis Tomlinson (2020)
Who knew that it would be good old Louis to pull out a rather strong debut release? I'm surprised too. It was Tomlinson who was the most against One Direction’s split and the last to release a solo album. Judging by how confident he sounds throughout this pop-rocking affair, he has nothing to worry about. Sure, his voice is the weakest out of all five, but married with solid hooks and catchy choruses he sounds well and truly at home.
2. Harry Styles – Harry Styles (2017)
Listen, Style’s debut album is not some bold and arty leap forward into David Bowie-esque territory. Now that the hyperbole has finally died down, let us look at the album for what it truly is: an honest to goodness One Direction album with Styles solo on the mic. The band always had a knack for producing punchy pop tunes and soaring ballads, Styles took on that winning formula and sprinkled it with more introspective lyrics. A strong piece of work.
1. Zayn – Mind of Mine (2016)
A pop gem that will surely be even more appreciated over time. Mind of Mine more than confirmed why Zayn increasingly felt uncomfortable with the slick pop tunes of One Direction. His solo album is in many ways the antithesis of the band. The songs brood, the beats are subdued and the hooks sound watery and hazy. Once you get past some of the more debaucherous lyrics, you get an insight into a young man who sounds uncomfortable with fame and slightly disillusioned with life. It sadly foretold the range of mental health issues that has stalled Malik's career ever since. He has yet to go on a solo tour.
Updated: February 2, 2020 02:50 PM