When One Direction split up, it was only a matter of time before each of them released solo material. Now that all five have gone solo, let’s rank their debut singles and see which of them is the most impressive.
5. Liam Payne – ‘Strip That Down’ ft. Quavo
Liam Payne’s debut single attracted a fair bit of criticism for the line ‘You know I used to be in 1D, now I’m out free’. Some have likened it to Justin Timberlake’s solo material, whereas others have labelled its lyrics bland. Liam has also faced criticism for adopting the ‘gangster’ look of gold chains and watches, something which seems a million miles from his 1D looks.
4. Louis Tomlinson & Steve Aoki – ‘Hold On’
Louis decided to head down the dance/electronic route for his solo material, something completely different to the rest of the 1D boys. Praised for its uplifting lyrics and catchiness, the song was notably given its first live performance on the final of The X Factor just days after the death of Tomlinson’s mother. The song has, however, been criticised for being generic by some.
3. Niall Horan – ‘This Town’
For Niall’s solo debut, he stripped everything back and released a quite simple song that’s all about the lyrics, with the acoustic guitar and Niall’s vocals complementing them very well. Though many praised this Niall’s hometown tribute, some have criticised the folk-pop song for being too slow and boring, with many preferring his second, more upbeat single ‘Slow Hands’.
2. Zayn Malik – ‘Pillowtalk’
Zayn was the first to go solo with ‘Pillowtalk’, which was a huge chart success, reaching number one on both sides of the pond. Going down the urban route, Zayn’s release features more adult lyrics and themes than any of 1D’s material. In other words, it’s Zayn showing everyone he’s grown up now and no longer part of a squeaky-clean boyband. The song was well appreciated by critics for its slick R&B production, edgy lyrics and Zayn’s soulful vocals.
Harry Styles – ‘Sign of the Times’
Highly praised by critics, ‘Sign of the Times’ is a soft rock power ballad whose extended length gives it plenty of room to breathe. It surpassed many people’s expectations and was praised for its structure, mature lyrics, production quality and Harry’s vocal performance, not to mention its many rock ‘n’ roll influences.