So the tenth anniversary of One Direction is gone, and the band still isn’t back. Wasn’t it supposed to last just 18 months? Sorry to rub salt on your wounds, but we couldn’t help it. Now when the members of One Direction has spent more days as solo artists, than being in the band, it is high time they should come back together. The band was formed on July 23, 2010, on ‘The X-Factor’ and after five long years, went on a hiatus in August 2015. However, they have had a lot of memories during this time, and given us five music albums and world tours, amassing millions of fans all over the world. If there is a band that can be as big as ‘The Beatles’ and ‘The Backstreet Boys,’ it is definitely One Direction.
Along with a total of 87 songs that they have released to date, excluding a few bonus tracks, the band has given us a total of seventeen music videos. We have ranked all of them from the worst to the best. Let’s go down into our memory lane and have a look at it.
17. More Than This (2012)
This is the fourth and final single from their first album, ‘Up All Night’ which is an acoustic pop ballad, based on the theme of unrequited love. This is not very likely to be said as a music video, rather than that, it is a concert video with bits of the studio version of the song, that has been filled in the parts, after cancelling the noise from the crowd. Naturally, this video, with the least number of views on YouTube, has been placed at the bottom of this ranking.
All the members of One Direction have worn matching and coordinating outfits for this particular concert like they used to do for special performances during their fetus days.
16. You & I (2014)
The ‘You & I’ music video can be readily called the most boring video of the band. Coming from an album which has a handful of good songs, including— ‘Don’t Forget Where You Belong,’ ‘Diana,’ ‘Happily,’ ‘Strong,’ the song was already not good enough to be produced as a single, and the plain concept of the video made the situation worse.
The plot of the entire video focuses on the use of transition to magically morph the band members into each other, singing their parts of the song, all dressed the same— in a grey sweater and black jeans. As the video approaches it’s end, all the five members appear on the screen, showing multiple versions of them in a time-lapse. The idea was pretty good, wasn’t it? Only if they could have utilised science appropriately. One of the band members, Harry was even seen sick and cold while he was shooting for the video.
Despite all these negative comments, the ‘You & I’ music video stands with more than 500 million views on YouTube, which means the fans actually liked it. For most of the people, the ending part of the song is the best one, because of the extra-high and long notes of Zayn, which is considered as one of his best high notes, to date.
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15. Gotta Be You (2011)
The video basically depicts the five boys spending their time on the banks of a lake, and end up catching up with girls camping in a forest. Towards the end of the video, they watch fireworks together. Did it sound interesting? No? Nor it is. I am confident you knew this song would be near the bottom as well. After their debut song, which was a massive hit, it was already difficult to outshine it, and then came this mid-tempo rock ballad with a generic music video.
The music video stands with more than 235 million views on YouTube, which cannot be considered bad for a new boy band, but definitely not good for a boy band like One Direction. The second of the only two music videos of One Direction where not one, but two members of the band have curly hair (yes, we are talking about Liam). The impeccable British styling showcased in the video is definitely worth praising.
14. History (2015)
Although this music video is below average as well, we just cannot help but like it. Just try not to break down while watching this video, recalling all the memories, and you are sure to lose. The third and final single belonging to their fifth studio album and the only album without Zayn in it, the video showcases clips of the group, over five years, since they gained fame from the ‘The X-Factor’ till their current last album. The Directioners were overwhelmed when this song came out, which gives a feeling of reading old love letters from our very first lover.
However, judging from a critical note, the cute and coordinated dance steps, weird hand movements in the video, just don’t add up with a meaningful song like this, which the members apparently wrote for the fans before going on a hiatus. Naturally, to the non-directioners, the video is very less likely to be appealing. The fact that they added the clips of Zayn as well, along with the other four, was great as well as sad. The saddest scene is perhaps the ending one, where all the four members go in separate ways, apparently to focus on their solo careers. Please, come back (teary-eyed emoji)!
13. One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks) (2013)
Many do not know to date that the band doesn’t own the song practically, as ‘One Way or Another’ is a video they released in order to support the Comic Relief in 2013, covering the Blondie classic, flavoured with the song ‘Teenage Kicks’ by Undertones. The video includes clips of the members while they were on tour, filmed it DIY-style, with scenes taken from London, Tokyo, New York City, and Ghana, and also features the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, in a cameo.
The video showcases the boys playing around with stuff, dancing weirdly, doing pelvic thrusting, serenading a tree, and spending time with kids in Ghana. Although the video has an intimate and raw setting, it is quite amusing to watch the boys doing what they in their daily life. The point is, the video will make you laugh!
12. Midnight Memories (2014)
The third single of the album, ‘Midnight Memories’ showcases the boys bored being in a house party, until the song itself, ‘Midnight Memories’ starts playing, encouraging them to leave the house party. They overrun a kebab shop and become the centre of attraction of the party. The boys flirting around with five elderly women on scooters on the streets of London, stealing a police boat, and riding it down the River Thames is basically what follows next in the video. It concludes with the band standing on the edge of a bridge, singing at the top of their lungs.
Although nothing is bad about this video, it doesn’t have anything worth remembering as well. Apart from a few good scenes, the whole music video is confusing and out-of-state. Maybe this is why the view count on this music video on YouTube is just a little above 190 million views for the time being.
11. Perfect (2015)
Another black-and-white themed music video— ‘Perfect’ is more like an older but maturer version of the 2012 single, ‘Little Things’ showcasing the members of the band, relaxing in their hotel room, during the ‘ On the Road Again’ tour. Apart from depicting the lives of the band members on the tour, the video also features them recording the song, somewhat standing close to a control panel. However, the fact that the song gives a glimpse of their busy lives schedule is what gives an edge to this video. Having started their careers early, the boys dropped five new albums along with five world tours, while writing and recording for new songs, in a period of five years is already exhausting to look at.
The theme of the video, of the second single of the album, ‘Made in the A.M.’ is sad and gives away a melancholy essence. Although the song is a love song, it is not about a long term relationship. Rather, it is about a relationship without any stability, projecting the idea of switching from one hotel room to another.
10. Steal My Girl (2014)
So this music video is somewhat out-of-the-world and has no literal connection with the song, which has been, as people believe, written for the devoted fans of One Direction. The video has been shot in a desert, with some of the boys dressed as casually as possible, while the others have been seen in jackets and overcoats. The video features the eccentric Hollywood director, Danny DeVito, along with a juvenile chimpanzee, acrobats, sumo wrestlers, a marching band, and a rhythmic gymnast.
The video gives a systemic appearances of the group members, with Louis hanging out with none other than a chimpanzee and a lion, Zayn being stuck between two sumo wrestlers, Harry singing with ballerinas, Liam leading a marching band on a birdcage, and Niall doing some tribal dance. In spite of all the negative comments that the video has received, the song has been praised critically, with more than 360 million views on YouTube.
9. One Thing (2012)
After their gloomy take with the second single of the band, ‘Gotta Be You,’ One Direction was back in form with their third single, ‘One Thing’. The sole purpose of the video was to let the boys do whatever they want on the streets of London, interacting with the fans, singing their heart out. They have been showcased running around a park, busking on the street and riding a double-decker bus.
One Thing is an upbeat pop-rock number, which narrates the infatuation of a person with his love interest. The video will just bring a smile to your face, and if you do not crack a smile until the very end, are you even normal?
8. Kiss You (2013)
The ‘Kiss You’ music video is just about cute boys messing around, doing photoshoots with different backgrounds within a large soundstage, and dancing in the least coordinated matter (of course, that’s what we expect One Direction to do). Although the premise is really simple, to begin with, it actually works well, giving away vintage old Hollywood vibes, complementing the aesthetic.
Like most of the band’s music video, this video does not feature any love interest. Rather, the guys casually kiss each other on the checks (Can they be more adorable!). The song has been marked as the third and final single of their second album. It received critical acclaim for its stand out style and production, as a track on the album, and currently has 500 million plus views on YouTube.
7. Drag Me Down (2015)
The first single from their fifth music album, ‘Drag Me Down’ is the first song that the group released after Zayn quitted the band on March 25, 2015 (a rather mournful day for all the Directioners). The group experimented with a new type of sound, with this single, a bit more electronic, catchy love song spiced with a poppy beat. The biggest flex for the band members as well as the fans must be the fact that the entire music video has been shot in NASA Space Center in Houston. One Direction is the first and perhaps the only band ever to do so.
The video showcases the boys training, learning how to be astronauts, with each member participating in different facets. Harry is seen befriending a robot, Liam going through tough physical training, and all of them dramatically walking in their spacesuits, before the spaceship takes off. The video is like a visual treat to the fans, as all the members look exceptionally good here, with a different aesthetic. It has also won the ‘Award for the Best Video ‘ voted by the fans, at the 2016 Brit Awards, and stands strong with more than 930 million views on YouTube.
6. Little Things (2012)
Little Things is just another music video that is loved by the fans but lacks in creativity. The second single from their second studio album, ‘Take Me Home,’ the song is a folk ballad and mid-tempo pop written by Ed Sheeran, which focuses on the theme of how imperfections make a person perfect and unique. The group followed the same pattern as they did with their first album, releasing a banger, followed by a slow ballad.
The music video showcases the members of the group doing a recording session for the song inside the studio, with each of the members looking all good and playing around with the instruments. With more than 350 million views on YouTube, the video has been shot in black-and-white entirely, but that completely captures the essence of the song— pure and simple, with only their voices put in highlight. Although the concept of the music video is not great, their chemistry and interactions as seen in the video as a group is praiseworthy.
5. Night Changes (2014)
Okay, so this is my personal favourite music video of One Direction. Also, it is the last video of the band to feature Zayn in it, and be honest, he looks no less than a prince here. The video is in the style of point-to-view, which takes the viewers on ideal dates with all five members of One Direction. The dates take place in five different locations, so the band members aren’t seen together this time, with Zayn at an Italian restaurant, Louis on a long drive, Harry on an ice skating track, Liam at a carnival, and Niall playing Monopoly beside a fireplace.
The first half of the dates go pretty well before it gets ruined owing to the circumstances, which was definitely a plot twist we didn’t foresee. With more than 385 million views on YouTube, the video gives away Christmas vibes, every time it is watched, which of course ends with nightmares.
4. Live While We’re Young (2012)
Remember how One Direction pleased the fans with their first single and music video made for their second album ‘Take me Home’? The lads have been seen here being laddy, and doing laddy things, hanging out and partying with each other. The video gives away summer music festival vibes, and is quite wholesome, as the fans witness them having good but old fashioned fun. It showcases the boys descending upon a festival ground, destroying a tent, playing soccer, nearly flying off a Jeep, playing around in a lake, and singing to their bits energetically, as the song demands.
Although the plot is merely creative, and if any other boy band would have used it in their videos, it would have looked cheesy and ordinary. However, it’s One Direction who have added a life-saving charm and attractiveness to the music video of, ‘Live While We’re Young’ and made it look a rather comfortable and self-aware approach. The video stands with more than 675 million views on YouTube and still counting.
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3. What Makes You Beautiful (2011)
Harry Styles once answered that if there would be any song that he could perform for the rest of his life, then it was surely going to be the band’s debut single, ‘What Makes You Beautiful,’ and guess what, he kept his promise. It is with this song that we knew they are going to create history (no pun intended) as a boy band. The song itself is among the ones having the catchiest tunes, focusing on the fact that even if girls are insecure about their flaws and don’t think themselves are beautiful, in reality, they are the ones who are beautiful.
Coming to the music video, we know it isn’t the best of them. It just showcases the boys driving down the Malibu beach, playing will a soccer ball and in the sea waves, and lighting firecrackers with three other girls. The song sets us in a great mood, and who can forget the iconic bridge part of the video when Harry sings to one of the girls, making all the Directioners jealous. The official video has above 1.2 billion views on YouTube, and it surely is justifiable.
2. Story of My Life (2013)
The song is a little more serious-sounding than the ones they had released before, featuring the adorable polaroids from the childhood days of the boys, and then recreating those in real-time, with their family members. The video is heartwarming, reminding us that growing up is inevitable, but deep down, we will always remain a kid to someone.
The ‘Story of My Life’ music video is the first video by the band that can be boasted of like a video for a wonderfully delightful bubblegum pop song. The highlight of the video is when Louis comes back to the present, but the places of his grandparents remain vacant, indicating that he has lost them. The song has more than 880 views on YouTube.
1. Best Song Ever (2013)
Indeed the best song ever! The song was released as the lead single from the third album of the group titled, ‘Midnight Memories’. We all know what is the essential requirements of a 1D song— carefree antics, and zero love interests. Written by James Corden with Ben Winston directing it, the video has been released to promote their upcoming movie documentary, ‘This is Us‘ where the boys were seen in a totally new disguise.
Harry was seen playing the character of Marcel, the marketing guy; Louis and Niall as the studio executives; while Liam played the character of Leeroy (remember the dance steps?). The highlight of the video is how Zayn Malik was dressed up as Veronica Malik, a sexy assistance in the video, with whom Harry cannot help but flirt. The rest of the song showcases what the guys want in their film— doing crazy things in the studio (rather breaking things), along with throwing in some cute dance moves together. Standing strong with 710 million-plus views on YouTube, the music video won the Brit Award for British Video in 2014.