Frequently Asked Questions: One Direction

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(Courtesy Columbia Records)

(Courtesy Columbia Records)

Frequently Asked Questions is exactly what it sounds like, where we have experts guide you through the unknown about people and topics in music and pop culture. One Direction‘s new album ‘Midnight Memories’ is out today, and if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about or have been living under a rock that’s been sealed in a chamber and haven’t seen the light of day in three years, this is an FAQ about the world’s most popular boy band.

Who are One Direction?

One Direction are a multi-platinum-selling boy band that, like many other leading boy bands, was hatched and had initial success in Europe. All five members — Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Niall Horan — auditioned for The X Factor UK in 2010 as solo artists. They were put together as a group by the show’s producers, eventually placing third on their season. They subsequently signed to Simon Cowell’s label, Syco Records, and became a worldwide phenomenon. Upon its release in February 2012, One D’s “What Makes You Beautiful” became the highest debut on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart for a British act since 1998.

How are One Direction different from any other boy band?

The world of boy bands has taken a 180 since the ’80s and ’90s versions of the phenomenon. Whereas ‘NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block and the forefather of those groups — New Edition — were of the harmonize-and-do-choreographed-dance-moves school, One Direction do not dance (they actually have insisted in several interviews that they are incapable) and do play instruments in addition to harmonizing.

Really, this comes down to a split in influences. Where ’80s and ’90s boy bands took their cues from Motown singing groups (think of the Temptations or the Mircales, with their choreographed on-stage moves and hits written by in-house songwriters), One Direction and other current boy bands are more of The Beatles style (play an instrument, don’t dance, write their own music).

So which one’s the JT of the group?

Clearly you didn’t read what we just wrote about 1D being more like The Beatles than ‘NSYNC, but we’ll forgive it. Harry.

Read more on Radio.com.

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