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Five albums in five years? These boys earned them their hiatus! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting our picks for the top 10 One Direction songs.
For this list, we’re taking a look at the band’s entire discography, not just the singles. We’re also looking at the band’s new album, so post Zayn 1-D counts too. However, we’re only ranking originals, so a cover like “One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)” doesn’t count.
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#10: “Drag Me Down” Made in the A.M. (2015)
It’s the first single since Zayn left the group but the guys didn’t let us down. They proved that even without Zayn and with their upcoming hiatus, they could make a crowd-pleasing hit. The song is high energy and powerful, giving it a more mature sound than past hits. It’s the perfect declaration of independence and determination, as well as a thank you to fans that have been there since the group’s beginning. Fans responded to the single, and the song broke the Spotify record of most streamed song in a day with 4.75 million streams.
#9: “You & I” Midnight Memories (2013)
One of 1D’s biggest strengths is in making songs that make young love seem eternal, and this ballad is one of their strongest statements. The guys declare that they don’t want their love “to be like them” and that “not even the gods above/could separate the two of us.” Love doesn’t get much stronger than that and they sell that message in every line. There’s a soft rock quality to the song’s melody, which pairs nicely with their aching, earnest lyrics. It’s no surprise that the romantic ballad even inspired a fragrance with the same name.
#8: “Little Things” Take Me Home (2012)
It’s not a surprise that a ballad co-written by Ed Sheeran would be a hit for the band. “Little Things” combines Sheeran’s thoughtful lyrics about a woman’s imperfections making her beautiful, and the band’s emotional deliverance and harmonies. You can’t help but to melt as their voices blend and they sing the last lines. The accompanying music video was shot entirely in black and white, which gives the song even more of a personal touch and highlights the beauty in the simplicity of its meaning.
#7: “Kiss You” Take Me Home (2012)
Not many songs capture the feelings of giddiness and anticipation before a first kiss but this one gets the job done. It’s high energy and full of life, which makes it one of the fan favorites during live performances. The lyrics are the perfect balance of naughty and nice with lines like “If you don’t wanna take it slow/And you just wanna take me home/Baby, say yeah.” That slight hint of cheekiness makes the song that much more delightful and keeps fans wanting more. The group even paid homage to iconic pop acts of the past in the music video, which simply makes the song impossible to hate.
#6: “One Thing” Up All Night (2011)
According to one of the group’s longtime songwriters, Carl Falk, this track started off as two different songs, one with a great chorus, and the other with a great verse. We’re glad they saw the foresight to combine those elements together and make this hit. It’s the perfect follow-up to earlier singles like “What Makes You Beautiful,” since it contains similar lyrics about falling for someone. Harry and Liam take the leads on the song, and drive home the message that they’re crushing on a girl who hasn’t noticed. We’d notice boys!
#5: “Live While We’re Young” Take Me Home (2012)
Who doesn’t want to party with 1D? Time and time again, the guys have proved they can make great party anthems and this is their ultimate party tune. Zayn took the lead on this track, and his soulful delivery made staying up all night sound irresistible. The lyrics are just edgy enough to show the guys’ naughty sides but they’re still catchy enough for all ages to appreciate. Even though the song and video suffered from an Internet leak, the band was still able to break records with its number of views on Vevo and eventually became a top ten hit in fifteen countries.
#4: “Best Song Ever” Midnight Memories (2013)
From the opening guitar riff, it’s clear that this song offers up a fun time. It doesn’t hurt that the song’s intro is a nod to another great rock song, The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” The boys more than deliver on that promise of fun as they tell a story about meeting a mysterious girl named Georgia Rose and dancing to a song with words they can’t remember. The lyrics are largely nonsensical but they do a great job of showcasing the group’s sense of humor and cheeky attitude. The track was named Best Song of Summer at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and its music video went down as one of the group’s best.
#3: “Steal My Girl” Four (2014)
As the first single from 2014’s Four, this song is the perfect balance between the group’s slowed down ballads and their more upbeat songs. Liam and Louis helped co-write it, and their efforts are evident; the song’s content centers on a comfortable relationship where even the girl’s parents approve of their union, and they’re ready to declare they’re love to the world despite the others trying to break them apart. The song has the same road weary attitude of classic hits like Journey’s “Faithfully,” but the guys update it for a modern audience.
#2: “What Makes You Beautiful” Up All Night (2011)
Sometimes, you strike gold with your first song and that’s the case with 1D. Who can deny the song’s catchiness and utter charm? Lyrically, the guys tell their sweetheart that she’s beautiful even if she doesn’t know it. With quotable lines like “the way you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,” the power pop tune is an instant earworm, and puts listeners in a feel-good mood. It’s the perfect song to woo your crush to, and the “na na na’s” of the chorus give it that endless summer feel. Right off the bat the group made a perfect pop song that will stand the test of time.
Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Midnight Memories” Midnight Memories (2013)
- “Night Changes” Four (2014)
- “No Control” Four (2014)
- “Perfect” Made in the A.M. (2015)
#1: “Story of My Life” Midnight Memories (2013)
It’s one of the band’s most heartfelt songs, as the guys sing about a relationship that might not make it despite efforts to make it work. The relationship in question feels doomed but never has hopeless love sounded so good; the song shows off the group’s matured vocals and gives a sense of urgency to their love that wasn’t there before in previous ballads. Along with the introspective lyrics and the fact that every member of the group is credited as a co-writer on the song, it makes it clear that this is one of their most personal songs to date.
Do you agree with our list? Which song is your favorite 1D track? For more harmonic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to Ms.Mojo.