Fans of the boyband One Direction have vastly different opinions on the post-breakup solo albums from Harry, Zayn, Louis, Liam, and Niall, but the group’s leader and most popular member, Harry Styles, has always stood out as a favorite. In the lead-up to his new record, Harry’s House, it’s time to re-examine exactly the quality of these nine solo albums. For those listening to the aesthetic qualities of the music, and not just to their love or hatred for each respective singer, there is only one viable option for the best! Scroll down to find out who it is.
9. Louis Tomlinson - ‘Walls’
In a weak batch of songs containing little defining personality throughout, 'Walls' stands out as the least risky choice for the worst 1D solo album, not appealing much to pop-oriented or rock-oriented listeners.
8. ZAYN - ‘Mind of Mine’
The sudden shock of Zayn Malik’s debut after breaking away from 1D left fans at crossroads when they heard his adult-oriented R&B style, but unfortunately, the songs apart from “Pillowtalk” are pretty much completely unmemorable.
7. Harry Styles - ‘Harry Styles’
It’s no surprise that Harry is the most popular of the group (he does have a great voice), but his songs, drawing from various tepid rock styles, lack a distinctiveness from what he’s copying to really shine.
6. Harry Styles - ‘Fine Line’
Fine Line shows Styles becoming more distinctive on his own, but he still apes too many disparate sounds across the board to make the whole album come together. “Sunflower, Vol. 6” is the first song where he officially claims individual songwriting greatness.
5. ZAYN - ‘Nobody is Listening’
The romantic, mature sound of Nobody is Listening gives it the edge over Zayn’s debut, but it’s still a step back from his grand capabilities.
4. Liam Payne - ‘LP1’
Traditionally considered the worst of the bunch by critics, the listening stats confirm that Liam Payne’s solo songs are not worth forgetting. Sure, the first half is hardly worth noting, but when the features come in heavy starting with Cheat Codes’ “Live Forever,” the album turns into the pop essentials of the time.
3. ZAYN - ‘Icarus Falls’
At 27 tracks (later, he added two more), Icarus Falls is an undeniably ambitious effort. Amazingly, many of the tracks show Zayn in peak form, and the 15 best songs make an incredible hip-hop/R&B-influenced pop album.
2. Niall Horan - ‘Heartbreak Weather’
Classic influences abound while Niall continues what he started on his first album. His singular focus makes the affair a little less engaging, but his melodic songwriting remains catchy and poignant.
1. Niall Horan - ‘Flicker’
Flicker followed Zayn and Liam’s solo albums by staying right in the perfect middle between modern pop and classic influence. Best of all, he is the only 1D member who knows how to craft emotionally resonant sounds with brilliant melodies. Niall’s top-notch songwriting and focused craft easily put him at the top of the 1D pack.
Harry Styles’ latest album comes out on May 20th, 2022, so check out the first single below.
All of these albums are available for streaming everywhere!