Since One Direction went their separate ways nearly two years ago, they’ve had time to stray away from the pop sound they had as a group and experiment with different sounds. Zayn, who was ahead of the curve in regards to going solo, released R&B album Mind of Mine, with lead single Pillowtalk, in early 2016. Harry’s self-titled album was heavily influenced by older rock bands. Niall, so far, has released mainly guitar-driven, Ed Sheeran-esque songs. Finally, Liam and Louis have both been releasing music that is most likely to be played in clubs.
Different genres have appealed to different people. Many people who supported all the guys during 1D’s career have decided they like a certain boy’s music better than they like another one’s. A once large, close-knit fandom has now split into five, one group for each guy.
My thoughts? It’s completely normal and okay for this to happen. With the guys having stayed mostly inactive in the music business for the majority of 2016, One Direction fans have had the chance to explore other types of music and figure out what they prefer. They now have the ability to decide whose music gets fits their taste. For example, I’ve found I enjoy classic rock, so I’ve liked what Harry has released. I also have enjoyed Ed Sheeran and found Niall’s sound, which is similar, is something I also like. The rest of the guys, on the other hand, don’t have songs that appeal to me. I love them as people and support and respect the choices they make with their careers. However, their music just isn’t my taste.
The rest of the 1D fandom may express a mindset similar to mine, or they could prefer a different boy’s sound. Some may love all four (five, if including Zayn) boys’ music. All these opinions are okay and valid, and no one should ever feel bad for not liking, for example, Louis’ music as much as Niall’s. Even if Louis was your favorite member of One Direction when they were together, it’s okay if you don’t enjoy his style.
My one concern is that this split of the fandom has made people more cutthroat against the other guys, and more arguments have occurred on social media. We were all on the same boat at one point, so it is sad to see Twitter arguments about who sings better than the others. It’s okay for you to prefer one guy over the rest, but remember it’s okay for the person you’re fighting online with to have their tastes too.
I hope the One Direction boys enjoy their solo endeavors, and, should they choose to get back together, they share what they’ve made to made a great new sound we’ll all enjoy.