It’s been over a decade since the four British and on Irish boys from across the pond took the world of pop music by storm with the formation of the boy band One Direction. The group composed of Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson rose quickly to the elevated status of icon with teens, who are now fans in their twenties. Although the group called it quits, their music is still relevant and their five album releases stand as a testament to the greatness the group achieved. Here is a ranking of all five One Direction studio albums according to popularity and sales.
5. “Up All Night”
“Up All Night” was released in 2011 and it featured Zayn, Liam, and Harry taking the lead on vocals with Niall and Louis falling to the background. Isureville viewers ranked the debut release as the least popular album but it’s important to note that it was still popular. The boys were still working out their approach to audiences and time would tell where each member of the group would fit in. Each of the boys had a lot of growing to do and they matured nicely into their roles over time. The greatest hit track of “Up All Night” turned out to be “I Want,” with the least requested song “Stole My Heart.” This was the debut album for One D, and it gave the world a glimpse of what these talented young singers were capable of. As a first album, it received an overall ranking of 3 out of 5 in ratings, but it appealed to tweens from across the globe and started the frenzy that led to a movement.
4. “Made in the A.M.”
This album dropped in 2015. It was the final album released for One Direction as a group, although a few of the boys continued to enjoy solo careers. It had been a rough few years as petty squabbles began to appear in the headlines of gossip columns. Each member of the group had experienced fame and fortune and some of them were interested in pursuing a life outside of the group. It was a hard life of touring and dealing with the hassles that come with negotiation contracts in the music industry and they were starting to show the sign of burnout. After just five years the work had taken somewhat of a toll on the group and Zayn sat out on the making of this one. The handwriting was on the wall for the demise of the group, which was reduced from five members to just four. The most beloved track on the album was “Walking in the Wind,” with the least popular “Long Way Down.” The overall rating of this album was still a healthy 3.5 out of 5.
“Four” was released into the fourth year that One Direction was a thing. It is one of the more popular albums with the hit track “Stockholm Syndrome” and others that made it so good. For older listeners, it was a nostalgic trip back in time to high school days, and for the younger, it was a continuum of the frenzy that was in full swing at the mention of the name One Direction, or One D, as fans affectionately nicknamed the group. This would be the last time that Zayn would lend his talents to a studio album. It’s one of the favorite fan albums, but critics were not as generous with their ratings. They took it down a few pegs in ratings, nicking the album for the track “Illusion,” as one of the fillers. They were less impressed with some of the styles that Liam and Harry adopted and it influenced their overall perception of the group. Overall, the album received a decent rating of 3.8 out of 5.
2. “Take Me Home”
“Take Me Home” dropped in 2012. The tracks on this album were geared to the tween generation and early teens. It was the quintessential Junior High group at this stage in their development. One Direction had not been on the scene long but the retailers were already making bank on licensed merchandise that they couldn’t seem to keep in stock. The popularity of the group hit a high and their fans couldn’t get enough. The five young men were riding high on a crest of popularity. Their concerts were sold out and people from all generations couldn’t help but love the sound these kids were cranking out. It inspired young fans and it reminded older listeners of some of the best times of their lives. Although the group was still in the process of forming its identity, the singers were still young and fresh, and unjaded by the rigors of touring in the music industry, and contract squabbles. They were all about the music and the fans at this point in their careers and it showed in their performances and heartfelt song deliveries. All five were still having fun. The most successful track was “Over Again,” with the least “Still The One.” The combined score from critics and fans was an insane 4.3 out of 5.
1. “Midnight Memories”
“Midnight Memories” is the most highly ranked album for One Direction of all time. The album dropped in 2013 when One D was at the top of their game. It was one of their edgiest albums ever released. The boys were each entering a new phase of maturity after three years in the business. They knew what it was all about, and they began to change their images and styles. Each entered into somewhat of a career shift as they were starting to get a little older. One Direction moved from the cute tweener stage to slightly bad-boy teens with a new appeal to kids of their peer group that was also starting to mature slightly. They became an influential teen band in 2013 with the favorite track “Happily” and the least favorite, “Don’t Forget Where You Belong.” This drop was one of the most beloved albums of all time for the group. They achieved an overall ranking that of 5 out of 5. They achieved perfection with this one.