“GOTTA BE YOU” (2011)
“Gotta Be You” truly challenges One Direction to adopt the boy band angst of yore. It’s a lot of wandering around in upstate New York with a whole lot of feelings. And sweaters. Seriously, there’s a whole lot of yarn here. This is also the last time we see a member of One Direction having a ~moment~ with a girl, as there is a certain subset of Directioners that will use social media to go after video extras. Welcome to the new norm, brought to you by the social media age!
“LITTLE THINGS” (2012)
This video features One Direction performing this Ed Sheeran-penned ballad in a recording studio. Their staring into the camera makes things a little uncomfortable, but the video isn’t poorly shot. It’s more serious in tone for a more serious song, but they can’t hold it the whole time–during the last chorus, Zayn sits there and pokes Harry in the side of the face while he’s singing his lines.
“STORY OF MY LIFE” (2013)
This video opens with the band surrounded by photos of childhood memories, some of which they reenact for their video. They move throughout the photo frame while their companions stay completely still, making it look slightly like their companions are dead. In Louis’s case, two of them actually do disappear for the present photo, which is pretty sad. It’s an interesting concept for a video, though one that has nearly nothing to do with the lyrics.
“WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL” (2011)
With this first video, the world (beyond the British version of The X-Factor) was introduced One Direction. Wave goodbye to synchronized group dances, wave hello to semi-synchronized jumping around. This video is the epitome of summer fun; shot in California, it follows the boys as they run around in the ocean, hang out with girls around a bonfire, and in Harry’s case, sing awkwardly into the mouth of one of those girls. As the debut video for a British boy band, it’s interesting to see a video with distinct American vibes.