Saturday, 1 February 2014

To Prove I'm Right, I'll Put It In A Song

As threatened, here's a commentated countdown of my favourite songs by seminal pop band the One Directions, in order to bludgeon, corrupt, and educate my lovely, lovely friends, who may casually be known here as "fuckin' haters." You don't have to be a hater. Hopefully this ridiculous, unnecessary, unfortunately long, uncomfortably sincere, potentially hilarious blog post will entertain one and all, especially those of you who already like 1D, or those who - like I was, back in the day, many moons ago - are casually curious.

About a year ago, my interest in a certain boyband turned from "casual and via osmosis" to "proper obsessed." You might have picked up on that a little bit. It's possible. Now, for anyone who's seen that and sneered - I'm not going to waste all my energy explaining why you're wrong about judging One Direction, or why they are culturally important and a total game changer in terms of the pop industry and fandoms, or why each individual member is a special snowflake (even if I literally want to punch Liam in the gut right now.) If you know me, you'll know how much I care about the entertainment industry. You'll know how much store I put in artists having integrity, in how they interact with fans, in how much they buy into the hype. You'll know that I always support the underdog and that I've worked with bands and artists for free and you'll know how much I prize the organic evolution of art and of fandoms, and how much I dislike delusions and pedestalling, and how this entire concept in general is a really big part of my life and one I've expended much mental energy on.

One Direction, to the naysayer, seem to be the opposite of everything I've claimed to value above. To the indie snobs and hardcore kids who haven't had any cause to give 1D the time of day and instantly hate on anything that screaming pre-teen girls love, I get how they'd form an instant negative judgement on everything surrounding this band. I don't approve, but I get it. But you're going to have to trust me on this one, because as I said, I'm not going to lay out all the morality-based reasons you should love One Direction right now. Just trust me - if you value artists operating with integrity and making fantastic business decisions and not adhering to a created, PR vision and managing a genuine and naturally-grown fan base, then this dumb pop band deserves your respect. I have never seen anything like what they are doing. I didn't have some sort of brainwashing or drink some Kool-Aid or start loving them as a guilty pleasure. I don't make any excuses like "oh I don't usually like boybands but they're just so fun!" Nope. My music taste is incredibly varied, it always has been, and I enjoy and respect One Direction as a band for the exact same reasons that I enjoy and respect all the other artists I love. I love 1D even harder for it, because they're doing what they're doing in the pop industry, which is typically - sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly seen as far more false and worthless than the rock industry. Pop music is not "real music." It is much, much harder to be a popstar and be considered to have integrity than it is to be in an indie rock band and be considered to have integrity. And yet these guys are generally just doing it so right, moreso than most other acts currently out there.

That's enough of that. I can't force people to respect One Direction - I can call them ignorant, or show them that their arguments are blustering and unfounded while dropping truth bombs on them that obliterate their point of view, or I can brattily shout YOUR FAVES COULD NEVER, but I can't force them. All I am saying is - trust me. I am not an idiot, I am not easily influenced, and in fact I'm a pretty big snob, and I respect the hell out of these kids. Hopefully that tells you something.

What I can do is make y'all a KICK-ASS LIST OF ONE DIRECTION TUNES TO JAM TO, whether they're a guilty pleasure or a proud war chant. I've been threatening to do this for a while, and I was holding off until the Midnight Memories single was released so I could include the official video in this post. This is a countdown of my top 14 One Direction songs - it was meant to be a top ten, but I genuinely couldn't bear to narrow it down more than this, and this is my blog and it's 2014 so you get a top 14.

This heartbreaking work of staggering genius is dedicated to all of you, to everyone throughout time who has ever lived, to the lovers, the fighters, young and old, male and female, but it's specifically dedicated to my Not Another Teen Wolf Podcast team - BrookKarenDonya and Courtney, who are basically a bunch of clean fools, even though I love them. They are also, respectively and in varying levels of willingness, the Harry, Niall, Liam and Zayn to my tyrannical Louis in terms of running our little show. And because I have the strength of the Tommo behind me, I am going to break every. single. one. of. them.

Natalie's Extremely Important Be-All and End-All Top 14 for '14 One Direction TUNEZ

Before we get started, honourable mentions must go to: Rock Me, the most hardcore I ever expected 1D to get before their new album came out, also, please, one day, PLEASE change the lyrics to "fuck me" while onstage, you know you want to; the "I'm a thief, I'm a thief" chant and harmonies in Stand Up, mmmmm; Heart Attack - and I'm like OWW! Never thought it'd hurt so bad! Getting over you-OUU!; Moments for being relatively pretty I guess but especially Harry's raw as fuck strained just-gave-head voice on his last solo; Little Things, again, for being kind of nice, for being a good song to showcase their voices, and especially for Harry changing his "buts" to "ands" while doing it live, I'm fucking cry, like, these lyrics have been called out as slightly problematic? and kind of like "you should be grateful because you are flawed but I love you anyway" and then you have Harry goddamn Styles changing the lyric "you still have to squeeze into your jeans but you're perfect to me" to "AND you're perfect to me" Do you know how much that means? And the little fucker does it on purpose too, it's a conscious context change - someday I will re-find a relevant tumblr post discussing this and I will link it here, but trust me it's a thing and I JUST CAN'T; I Want for sounding like a Panic! At The Disco song; Alive for being all pro-kink exploration, pro-sexual freedom "fuck yeah! what you want is okay as long as it isn't harming anyone else!"; Better Than Words for being an adorable baby version of the "forget-me-nots and marigolds" rip-off sentiment expressed in Motion City Soundtrack's LGFUAD; and I Would and She's Not Afraid for being TOTAL JAMS which very very nearly made the actual countdown - like I kept exchanging the last two spots for a really long time before I made a call and stuck by it. But it doesn't make them any less awesome. Well, marginally less awesome, I guess, given they didn't actually get a top spot. But you know. Jams.

14. One Thing (Up All Night)

I must admit that a great part of my fondness for this song does come from Nick Grimshaw insistently singing it over and over again in the "Which Direction" segment of LadsFM that Harry co-hosted, and yes, every single time I hear the song, I sing the intro in Nick's bad monotone. However, I do love this song for its own merit - once I downloaded the whole One Direction back catalogue and had watched the Up All Night tour DVD, this was the song that really stuck in my head, plus the video is super cute and has fan stuff and is all on-location Londony. It's a bit naff because it was right when they started out - it's polished in a way that they soon realised is totally unnecessary, but you can already see the derp shining through.

13. Nobody Compares (Take Me Home)

Sorry about the weird fan-made lyric video, but I guess that's what you're getting when the song in question wasn't released as a single. This song, like She's Not Afraid, was one of the extended edition extra tracks on Take Me Home, and I wish they'd give this one a crack live. It instantly stood out to me as interesting on a sonic level - it's not a standard structure and it just really stuck with me - and I think the "You're so London/We're so Paris" lyrics are cool and unusual too.

12. Through The Dark (Midnight Memories)

One Direction - Through the Dark SNL 7/12/13 by newsevoce

The first of many Midnight Memories tracks on this countdown. There are fourteen songs listed here - literally half are from the new album. Not only is it genuinely and objectively fucking good, miles ahead of everything else they've done, it was also written by the guys, which makes it a million times easier to truly care about the songs and their lyrics and what they might mean to the person who wrote them. Until Midnight Memories came out, my care for 1D's music was pretty tangental to my care for them as people. I enjoyed it, a lot, and I enjoyed watching what they did with it, how they performed, but it wasn't like "I love this song because they wrote it and it means something to me." The new album changed that completely. In different formations, alone or as a group, the guys wrote 15 out of 18 songs on this record - maybe not every note of every orchestration, but they wrote lyrics and melody - these are their songs and I am so proud because the whole "fake pop manufactured don't write own music" thing was one of the biggest ways that naysayers could cut them down, and I love that they've taken this into their own control in the same way they've taken all the other aspects of their brand into their own control. Through The Dark is a Louis/Liam collaboration - quite a lot of this album was written by Louis and Liam as a duo, they even registered a publishing company together. Their friendship means a LOT to me and this is probably my favourite of all the songs they did together. It's got a beautiful, driving sound and when they performed it on SNL, which is what this video is from, the response was so, so positive - floods of total randoms on Twitter being like "whoa One Direction got good" to some extent, and I thought about how proud they must be to have achieved that reaction with one of their own songs. Liam looks so nervous when he opens, and Louis looks so fucking chuffed. Here's the studio version too.

11. Over Again (Take Me Home)

My fondness for this song is mixed between genuine love and total ridicule. It has gorgeous harmonies and a gorgeous chorus ("and I can lend you broken parts that might fit") - I mean, Ed Sheeran wrote it, and he's generally considered an indie genius or whatever. However, it also contains the lyrics "hole in the middle of my heart like a Polo" and "I can make your tears fall down like the showers that are British" which, yeah, no. Watching this song live is fantastic because Louis is unable to get through it without making fun of it in some way, either by ridiculous miming or rolling his eyes or just not being able to muster up a fuck to give. This song makes Louis Tomlinson hate his life, which I find terribly amusing, while also kind of actually legit loving the song. Studio version here.

10. Midnight Memories (Midnight Memories)

When I heard this - the title track and fourth song to the new album - I knew things were going to change pretty quickly and amazingly in One Direction-land. As mentioned previously, I used to think Rock Me was the hardest 1D would ever be allowed to, well, rock. MM is a full-on stadium 80s hair metal anthem. I cannot wait to see this motherfucker done live. It has a HUGE sound and it's totally epic and Harry is going to destroy his vocal chords doing that scream every night for a world tour but goddamn it's going to be sexy. The video was JUST released today - I was waiting for it in order to post this blog. While I agree with this criticism, let's just enjoy it right now. First of all, my roommate saw stills from it and said "Louis looks like the villain in an 80s teen film." Friends, she said this like it was a BAD THING. What crazy talk - he is wearing a Stone Roses t-shirt and seriously they all look freaking fiiiiiiiiiine, like late 2013 pinnacle moment, they look AMAZING and a bit rough and dirty and tired like a wannabe pop punk band. Mmmm. This video re-visits a common One Direction theme (unfortunately sometimes one that crosses over to real life when Louis Tomlinson is involved) of them busting into places and making people's jobs harder with no consequences - this time a kebab shop! They're making some MIDNIGHT MEMORIES, you see, and Zayn takes over the music at the party and the record sleeve for this single is BLACK AS YOUR SOUL, AS BLACK AS THIS SONG, SO EDGY - also you can tell that they really freaking love Ben Winston because his name is in the "opening credits" and, as far as I know, pre-Winston videos never featured a "directed by." I mean he's pretty much the eighteenth member of One Direction now, along with Nick Grimshaw, Gemma Styles, Lou Teasdale, and a bunch of other people. I'm lead to believe that the Midnight Memories video implies that Harry performed sexual favours on an elderly woman in order to charm her and her mates into lending the guys their scooters. Oh my god is that Tower Bridge bit REAL or a set? I know helicopters were involved in this shoot but no that cannot be real oh god that's so terrifying and exciting apparently it is real fuck. Also, a bit which I didn't know was sung by Niall is actually sung by Niall and he's going to have to watch his voice too, or he will break it from rocking too hard. Finally, I have a genuine worry that the bit where they steal the police boat and drive/sail down the Thames is the closest that this band will ever get to re-creating SpiceWorld: The Movie, and I need them to get closer, guys. I need them to get closer.

09. Half A Heart (Midnight Memories)

This is the very final track of the extended album. I'd love this a touch more if one of the boys had written it - it's one of the three tracks that were written by songwriters - but it's quite simply the most beautiful their voices have ever sounded. It's the best ballad they've ever done, the lyrics are beautiful rather than cheesy, regardless of who wrote them, and they just sound perfect and raw. I'd never outright state that Zayn is my favourite singer in the band - he's good, but Liam is better, technically, and Harry's hoarseness is more my general style - but he actually often has some of my favourite parts in songs and his "we'll go for lunch down by the river" line is maybe the most beautiful-sounding single vocal part on any 1D record, I want to live inside it.

08. What Makes You Beautiful (Up All Night)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Overplayed, overrated, easily parodied, easily mocked, questionable lyrics. Shut up. I don't care. Do you know what this song represents? Do you know what this song did? This song broke Sony's record for the highest volume of pre-sales in history. It probably broke a bunch more records as well. This is their debut single – as in, they had not released any music of their own yet. People had not heard this song. And yet it broke records IN PRE-ORDER. It wasn't that it took off once it was released and spread around. Pre-order. It debuted at number one in the UK singles charts without having had radio play, nothing. Do you understand what this means? It represents the organic and incredible support and fandom growth that this band has fostered since the X Factor. It is such a gorgeous thing to see, because of course while the X Factor is a manufactured process, in a way, it's different to the way that record companies hunt out young singers to become popstars, sign them, train them up in secret, plan a huge marketing campaign, and launch them on the world hoping for a success. That often works – the Spice Girls are an example. But 1D, for all that they were “manufactured” on the X Factor rather than forming themselves and attempting to make it big like an indie band or something – it all happened in public, with everyone watching and falling in love with them.

X Factor is a place where hopefuls go to try and get a record deal, and it's less of a creepy marketing process than the private creation of a popstar – it's all dependant on who the public likes. The show works with that the contestants have to offer, it doesn't try to make them something they're not, and with 1D, Simon Cowell constantly stated how easy and professional the guys were, how many good ideas they had, how he didn't style them, he let them choose what they wanted, the whole way through. The feedback from all the mentors and feedback passed on from the crew and vocal coaches and stuff – everyone loved them. They were good to everyone, great to work with, professional, clever, sweet, mature. Everyone loved them and the fan response was instant and huge in a way that the show had apparently never seen before. It wasn't like they were getting special treatment – they were just part of the X Factor, all the contestants are basically treated the same in terms of makeovers and marketing during the show's run, and then when it ends most of them are never heard of again.

It wasn't like anyone cooked up One Direction with a long game plan in advance. They built what they have purely by being themselves and earning love. People saw them, backed them, wanted them. It was pretty much a viral hit. Even in the This Is Us movie, you have Cowell being like “...I don't even know why that happened but it did. This does not usually happen.” They didn't even win, in case anyone reading this doesn't know. They came third. People who come third on X Factor usually vanish into the ether, but as if that was going to happen to them given the instant fandom they grew themselves. Their success is a matter of demand before supply, and I love that. One Direction were not craftily manufactured as a product and sold to us, in that skeezy pop-launch “here's a new popstar for you to consume!” way. They were shown to us for who they were, right from the start, and then, as I said, the demand came before the supply. They didn't win, but people WANTED to support them. They wanted the product before the product existed! So Simon Cowell says “shit son, if people want to give me money, we better make a product for them to buy!” - signs them, they record What Makes You Beautiful, breaks pre-order record. Because people loved them and wanted to support them and wanted them to succeed.

It reminds me a bit of StarKid's success, in a way, and the way that as soon as they released a product people could pay for (the Me and My Dick original album, after the Potter stuff was released for free) that record charted on Billboard. I'm not saying 1D was a happy accident, fueled by love and innocence and puppies - but they were signed to make money because it was clear that people already loved them and wanted to support them. The success of What Makes You Beautiful always reminds me of that, and that kind of thing is so so so important. It's so so so organic as far as fan culture goes, it's so weirdly grass-roots, even for a manufactured X-Factor boyband. And so yes. What Makes You Beautiful is fucking precious.

Plus, it's still a fucking tune, don't even front. It's physically impossible for me to NOT sing along with Zayn's bit in the second verse, no matter where I am. You'll see me doing hand gestures and shouting “to prove I'm right I’ll put it in a so-O-ong” alone, in public, whatever.

07. Up All Night (Up All Night)

I actually thought this song was really dumb when I first sort of got to know it, but the Take Me Home tour changed that. As you'll see above - or you would have seen something similar if you saw This IS Us - the show opened with a long video intro leading into this song and hearing it takes me back to that instantly, like puts me in the moment of that extended intro, in the dark, excitement rising, spotting the silhouettes of the boys for the first time, and just knowing everything was about to kick off. The video above is nearly the same exact view I had at my first show - this side of stage position but on the other side of the arena - and the EXACT view I had at my final show. It's a silly little song (here's the studio version) but they make it work SO well live and every time I hear it I just want to be back at that tour, which was genuinely one of the best things I've ever experienced as a music fan. This song is now a memory that means a hell of a lot to me.

06. Something Great (Midnight Memories)

Harry co-wrote this song with Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol (indie cred!) and it fucking destroys me. His openness and earnestness astounds me, and he's fantastic with words, and he makes me so sad. Everything he writes is going to mean a hell of a lot to me, and everything he writes is going to spark some questions about what inspired it, but this song has a very similar theme to Don't Let Me Go, the solo song of his that got leaked early last year - the idea of wanting a relationship, a particular person, so very much and so very badly, but having that get fucked up by outside circumstances, particularly fame. "All of a sudden these lights are blinding me, I never noticed how bright they would be" "I promised one day that I'd bring you back a star, I caught one and it burned a hole in my hand" "The script was written and I could not change a thing, I want to rip it all to shreds and start again" - these are all part of the same sentiment to me, as are some of the lyrics from Happily, Harry's other song on Midnight Memories, which you'll hear more about in just a second.

05. Don't Forget Where You Belong (Midnight Memories)

If you have ever loved a band that loves each other and this song doesn't make you weep, you are a monster. This has a gentle and beautiful sound, perfect lyrics, and it's certainly made me cry far more than any other 1D song ever has. If they don't release it as a single with a tour/on the road/documentary montage video (pretty much exactly like the above fanvid, WATCH IT, it is stunning emotional terrorism) maybe after Where We Are tour, with new footage - it's a crime against humanity. Niall, who's far and away the most drama-free member of this band, wrote this song with McFly. I'm not in McFly's fandom but I know that they're a band who have been through so, so much together and are still so supportive of one another, like closer than family – best men at each other's weddings, first ones to jump out of the crowd and mob the stage when another member is participating in some special event – they are so bonded. So they're writing this from a place of experience and it's so genuine, and the sentiment is something that crosses over to 1D and what they've built with each other, and that was what Niall wanted to share for this album, as opposed to a song about a girl or whatever. “If you ever feel alone–don't. You were never on your own.. and the proof is in this song.” This is his love song to the band, about feeling displaced, and I am so glad that they have each other because lone entities escalated to that level of fame so young – Bieber for example – go fucking crazy and I think that will never happen to 1D because they have each other, to diffuse situations and share wins and losses and keep each other in check. I adore this song and I'm literally crying writing this right now. I will cry so much seeing it live. Cry, cry, cry, cry, cry.

04. Best Song Ever (Midnight Memories)

This song itself is rather meaningless, but it's totally fun and a fantastic transition from the rockier stuff on Take Me Home into the overall style of Midnight Memories, which is exactly what it was intended to be. It sounds so good, and it will always mean a lot to me because I think this was the moment when One Direction really became mine, or I became theirs. This was the first proper new release of material that I was in the fandom for, but that's not exactly why... I think it was the video that really affected me, because it was the first sign of just how cool, different, organic and in control the whole Midnight Memories situation was. Like. Their previous videos were pretty standard - the directors managed to pick up on the right kind of marketing for them, but this one is just next-level. It was the first official music video they made with Ben Winston, who did a lot of camera work and production for both the previous Year in the Making documentary and the This Is Us movie. He goes on tour with them. He knows them and he knows how to show them off in the way that they want. He wrote this video treatment with James Corden, who of course is very famous, but he's also a good friend of Ben and has become a good friend of 1D and someone who has their best interests very much at heart ("You've never forgotten that pizza. I love you for that.") This entire video - aside from being hilarious, the ridiculous character work, all that - is a tribute to these guys wanting more than anything to be themselves and to not be a product of marketing. A lot of that is self explanatory in the video, and it's a bit heavy handed - especially because they're kind of bad at acting when playing themselves, but it's fucking cool. It hammers home just how different they are to the way the boyband has usually operated. Plus of course the bad dance routine made up of all their other signature bad dance moves used in other songs. But the thing that kills me every time is that they're wearing their own clothes - in the parts where they're playing themselves, they're wearing literally their own street clothes, things I have seen them wear on other occasions casually, not things from a photoshoot or whatever. That's how far they take the whole "This Is Us" concept and it kind of makes my soul cry out and I just had so many feelings for them as an entity which up until this point had sort of been scattered and uncategorized. Seeing what they did in this video made me realise that I'd fallen in love with them, properly, without noticing.

03. Stole My Heart (Up All Night)

This song is the fucking BEST. However, it is not a One Direction song. Oh, it's not a cover, it's released by them officially on their album, but it just doesn't suit them AT ALL. It's from the first album and it's so obviously an example of the label trying to see what style would take off for them, like just throwing ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks. This one, thankfully, did not stick because this is just NOT One Direction at all - it's a full on dance floor filler, primed for a club remix. It's a rave track. It is absolutely not One Direction. But objectively it';s a fucking phenomenal song. PUT THIS ON EVERY WORK-OUT PLAYLIST OF ALL TIME. SO PUMPED. My friend Nat, who provided most of the initial content that I ended up osmosis-ing to do with 1D, thinks it sounds like a Eurovision entry, in a good way, and it is the greatest tragedy of her life that they've never played this live.

02. Happily (Midnight Memories)

Screaming. SCREAMING. Harry STYLES. You little SHIT. How DARE you write this magnificent song you horrid little boy come here and let me cradle you. The internet meltdown when this was released, my god. Objectively this is such a fucking awesome song, to start with, it is a total Mumfords/Magnetic Zeroes indie banjo shouty awesome song and I can already imagine the days when there's the Harry Styles Indie Solo Project and he plays this, flourishing his acoustic guitar at the crowd, jangling a tambourine between his knees, wearing a ridiculously large hat and being a weird cross between Pete Doherty, Patrick Wolf and William Beckett. Someone made an acoustic remix which kind of gives the impression of what that might be like... It's a fucking amazing song. NO ONE can hate this song. It is just legitimately good. And then the lyrics! Harry Styles! How very dare you write these lyrics! As I mentioned earlier, there's the same sentiment of his other songs "we were meant to be but a twist of fate made it so we had to walk away"  but Happily almost feels like a solution to Something Great, in a way. But jesus fuck. "I don't care what people say when we're together." This song is about Nick Grimshaw. This song is about Caroline Flack. This song is about Louis Tomlinson. This song is about Taylor Swift. I don't know obviously and I am not doing One Direction ship wars but I DON'T CARE WHAT PEOPLE SAY WHEN WE'RE TOGETHER. This implication, man, whoever it's about. It implies publicity drama and just not giving a fuck. It implies hooking up with someone on the sly while they are purportedly with someone else. This song literally has a reference to Harry Styles coming on someone's face before that someone has to go see their real boyfriend. And it's still one of the best songs that I've ever heard. It is SO FUCKING GOOD and I am SO FUCKING PROUD OF HIM FOR EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SONG, how brazen the lyrics are and how different the sound is from a traditional 1D song and just fucking everything. BEST. HARRY. STYLES. This absolutely has to be the next single. It HAS to.

01. Kiss You (Take Me Home)

Kiss You is quite simply the best pop song of the 21st century. I will fight you. It is SO good. So TELL ME girl if EVERY time we TOU-OU-OCH. You get this kinda RU-UU-USH. It is so good. Fuck you. It is SO GOOD. Okay I am going to descend into mindless shouting so some real talk here. This is the song that actually got me hooked on their music. I knew plenty of other songs, yes, and I was sort of already really invested in them as people and as a business and stuff - like I said, the music was originally SO secondary for me - and then I heard this song and I just died. This was the one. This was the one that just hooked me, and made me actually WANT to actively listen over and over and over again. I am never sick of this song. I will never be sick of this song. I have walked around listening to JUST THIS SONG on repeat more than ten times in a row. It is easily the most-played song on my ENTIRE IPOD. The break-down into the chorus, every fucking time, I'm doing like the rock finger point/fist pump combo. This song, lyrically, I admit, is dumb as all fuck. But I love that it's so blatant and sexual and kind of female dominated (if you don't wanna take it slow and you just wanna take me home) but sonically. SONICALLY. This song is the gift that never stops giving. I want to strip it apart and listen to every layer individually. It is SO complex instrumentally and vocally and sometimes I just sit there focusing on different harmony lines or drum lines or whatever. It is SO. GOOD. THERE ARE SO MANY PARTS AND THEY ARE ALL PERFECT. It is such a creative and well-crafted song. It's been ten years since I studied music theory so this is not a very good technical description but seriously listen to it and just listen to the layers. It is extraordinary and so cool. And it's so good live and was the final, explosive number of the main set, and Harry plays the drums! And it is so fun and I love it! And the video. THE VIDEO IS SO IMPORTANT because again it was one of the first thing of their actual music that I properly saw and I was like YES. Whoever is doing their marketing KNOWS THEIR SHIT and knows to just let these guys be derpy. Their upbeat songs - they never actually try to be taken seriously, and thank god because it comes across wanky. It is all light and fun and purposely idiotic - like you can't put them in costumes and try to make it an actual THING, not these guys. It has to be tongue in cheek and it has to draw back the curtain a little, it has to show how they take it as a joke, and this is so perfect. Harry covering his nipples and then his extra nipples! Zayn and his water wings because he can't swim! Also there's the ALTERNATE VERSION, below, which is even more amazing because it's like half behind-the-scenes footage and even derpier! Kiss You, you guys, KISS YOU. It's so fucking important and I am going to rock the fuck out of this at karaoke one day.

Addendum: I also need to include these two covers because they are super special.

One Way Or Another/Teenage Kicks (Comic Relief single)

The guys went to Ghana and made this video there - they filmed it themselves, pretty simply, and donated the money they would usually budget on a video, as well as all the proceeds, to Comic Relief. You can also watch the official Comic Relief videos from their trip to the hospital in Ghana - here and here - they're pretty awful though, both the circumstances shown and Harry Styles sobbing his head off, so be warned.

Teenage Dirtbag (cover for Take Me Home tour)

This still amazes me - it's SO FUCKING GOOD, they sound so cool, it suits them so perfectly - Niall gets to play guitar, Harry gets to do raw croaky rock voice shit, the whine in Louis's voice (I like it, not hating, but it is a whine) is suited perfectly to the chorus, Liam's falsetto, and Zayn getting to belt out the long notes. That rockstar flailing is just a small taste of what Harry's going to be like on the next tour, I think. Calm down, Mick Jagger. This was included in the movie, but an edited version missing the middle verse. Here's the "studio" version - the movie clip - and here's a perfect audio-only soundboard recording, but I've tried to find a live version that showcases the whole song. I've heard Harry do that opening slightly purer and with a better tone than in this particular video, he CAN nail it and he does in the alternate link, which is also live, but this particular video quality is great and involves some hilarious, shambolic banter beforehand, which is very indicative of a live 1D show. I am so sad that they won't be playing this forever, it's one of the best covers I've ever heard - certainly the best Teenage Dirtbag cover I've heard and I've seen a bunch of bands attempt to cover it. YES. SO GOOD.

That's all, folks! I hope that you've enjoyed the slow spiral down into virtual shouting and flailing. If anyone is interested, I've uploaded a bit of a compilation tape here - this includes all the honourable mentions as well as the countdown. I don't know if it's in order or anything, just whack it on shuffle and party, I guess. Sorry in advance.

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