In the early 2000s, the boy band world was pretty quiet; the Backstreet Boys were still around, but albums were further apart, *NSYNC broke up, and Nick Lachey was more reality TV star than boy band member. Territory and airspace that had formerly belonged to boy bands was claimed by pop punk acts like Good Charlotte, Sum-41, and Yellowcard. A few Disney and Nickelodeon-based acts (the Jonas Brothers, Big Time Rush) saw a decent amount of success, but weren’t really boy bands as we once knew them.
Enter British boy band One Direction, a Simon Cowell-crafted amalgamation of five male vocalists competing on UK’s The X-Factor. The boys were a fan favorite and put up a good fight, but ultimately came in second place…like it matters. They quickly became the biggest boy band in recent pop culture history, ushering in the new boy band era. Social media put fans closer to the boys than ever before–for better and for worse. After four intense years of touring and making albums on the road, they went on hiatus early this year. While we all wait for their return, why don’t we rank their music videos?
“YOU & I” (2014)
The concept is straight up boring: the guys wear the same sweater and morph into each other while they walk down a pier. I spend way too much time watching teen sci-fi shows (read: Roswell) to not find shapeshifting creepy.
“STEAL MY GIRL” (2014)
The band goes to meet Danny DeVito in order to “bring life to the desert.” Zayn is matched up with sumo wrestlers, Niall dances with African performers (hiiiiii cultural appropriation), Louis spends time with a monkey, Liam leads a marching band on top of a cage, and Harry wears a horrifying leopard print duster. They all come together to dance and sing in the rain at the end. I just…don’t even know.
“MORE THAN THIS” (2012)
This one is straight performance video with footage taken from the Up All Night tour. Poorly dubbed, because it’s a live performance with a recorded track over it.