How 1D Made Sure Fans Didn't Miss Zayn's Voice On Their New Album
It seems like only yesterday five adolescent boys from across England and Ireland auditioned for "The X Factor," and were thrown together at the last second to form a group.
Only it wasn't yesterday. It wasn't even last year.
It was 2010 when One Direction was born from Simon Cowell's brain.
Without even winning the competition (but rather, coming in third), they won the hearts of millions around the world. After the release of their first album, Up All Night, in September 2011, they shot to superstardom in what seemed like minutes.
Once that album and its single, "What Makes You Beautiful," took over the world, it was impossible not to hear about One Direction.
I wasn't even originally a fan. I assumed their Connecticut yachting attire lead to mindless lyrics and a not-so-great sound. (Yeah, okay.)
Then, I listened to the album and was instantly hooked by the time I reached the end.
I assumed it would be easy to get tickets for their first ever headlining tour, but I was wrong. Tickets had sold out months in advance.
1D has only grown from there.
They've gone from outdoor venues with lawn seating to arenas and even stadiums with each new tour.
They've managed to maintain an audience that has grown with them and clamored for each new single drop and each inevitable album leak.
They've spent inordinate amounts of money on multiple dates of each tour, tours that go on sale almost a full year in advance and sell out just as fast.
But things took a turn earlier this year. As they started their On the Road Again tour in March, it seemed as if things were coming to a screeching halt for the musical juggernaut.
On a tour stop in Thailand, rumors swirled yet again around Zayn Malik and a mystery girl walking hand-in-hand through the city.
It was odd, seeing as he was engaged at the time to Perrie Edwards of Little Mix. It turned into a cyclone of bad press, and it seemed like the tipping point for him to leave the group and the chaotic media scrutiny they've been under since leaving "The X Factor."
Everyone wondered what would happen to the group.
Would they continue on with the tour? Would they cancel the tour to regroup?
How could they go forward without one of the strongest -- if not the strongest -- voices in the group?
Most importantly, at least for me, who the hell was going to sing the high note in "You & I" now?
But they plowed on.
They regrouped and turned from a fivesome to a foursome. They sold out shows in South Africa, one of their largest stops, at practically lightening speed.
We knew that despite the change in lineup, they were still the group we all knew and loved. They were goofy and lighthearted, and handled the departure of Zayn with grace.
Better yet, they were still the fantastic performers they always had been.
I was nervous for my tour dates.
I thought this was certainly the last time I would be seeing One Direction.
As my first date in Indianapolis drew closer, I was worried the experience wouldn't be the same as it was for the last few tours I had seen.
But in true artist fashion these days, at midnight the night before that show, the group released "Drag Me Down," the first track off their latest album, Made in the A.M.
It immediately tore up the charts.
It floated around Tumblr faster than you could type it into the search bar. Fans freaked out over the new direction of their music and the fact that, realistically, you didn't exactly miss Zayn's vocals on the song.
It rose quickly to number one on iTunes, and the radio ate it up.
When they sprung the song on us that night, Lucas Oil Stadium went wild.
Almost everyone knew the words. It was truly a sight to behold.
They took their tour around the world, dropped a hit lead single and then, announced the new album. It seemed as if One Direction's star grew brighter as their fame grew bigger.
It just didn't seem possible.
After that, they continued to release the singles "Infinity," "Home" (not featured on the album) and "Perfect," all before the album's release on November 13.
Each single continued to race up the charts and prove that even five albums deep, One Direction can still sell millions of albums.
They have achieved what few artists have been able to. They've rose to superstardom, and instead of plummeting into obscurity after two or three albums, they've stayed on top and stayed relevant.
In a time where fans can be fickle and swayed easily, they've had staying power and kept their fanbase.
What One Direction has going for them is their rock edge.
They evolve with each new album, but keep what they've had going for them since the first album.
Their lyrics have grown and are over the heads of younger fans, but hit the right spot for the older ones. They're poppy, but not overtly so.
They're catchy and fun, but also tell their own personal stories.
No matter where you look, what channel you turn on or radio station you tune to, you're bound to come across One Direction.
They're still growing in popularity, and always gaining new fans. I've had friends over the last three years really gravitate toward them and accept they really are a great group.
Although they're going on hiatus for a year, they're still going to come back and give us something even better than they already have. (And who could blame them for taking a break after all they've accomplished?)
It's a simple fact: One Direction aren't going anywhere.