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Saying goodbye to One Direction's Zayn

BY EMMA MCCLATCHEY | MARCH 26, 2015 5:00 AM

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One of the most commercially successful bands of the last decade will have to settle for four-part harmonies.

Of course, I'm referring to British boy band One Direction, whose fifth member Zayn Malik officially quit Wednesday morning via an earth-shattering Twitter announcement. Citing stress and the desire to regain a sense of privacy — tabloid cheating rumors have allegedly put a rife between Malik and fiancée Perrie Edwards—the West Yorkshire native has pulled his impressive vocal range and Jared-Leto-like looks out of the One Direction mix.

One Direction is my musical guilty pleasure, a bubble-gum, cotton-candy blend of Backstreet Boys harmony, Bruce Springsteen-style pop, and Spice Girls cheekiness. This is top-down car music at its finest, and I can't help but prefer it over the warbling Katy Perry and take-themselves-far-too-seriously Taylor Swift and Sam Smith.

The Beatles, One Direction are not — though the droves of female fans flocking to their concerts in the past five years have resembled Beatlemania — but perhaps, like the Fab Four, One Direction will find greater artistic success with a more succinct four-man group.

It's just too bad Malik had to go, especially after delivering arguably the most impressive vocals on the band's latest album Four (a title no one can convince me was not prophetic).

"Directioners" and skeptics alike: Four is worth a listen, if you're the kind of person who is cheered up by puppies and ice cream. Check out these five tracks, which contain particularly strong performances by Harry, Louis, Liam, and Niall's fallen comrade. The lyrics may be sappier than a maple tree, but Zayn makes them sound damn good.

'Steal My Girl'

Malik's best line: "She's been my queen since we were sixteen/ We want the same things, we dream the same dreams."

'18'

Malik's best line: "Kiss me where I lay down/My hands pressed to your cheeks/A long way from the playground."

'Night Changes'

Malik's best line: "Going out tonight, changes into something red/Her mother doesn't like that kind of dress/Reminds her of the missing piece of innocence she lost."

'Stockholm Syndrome'

Malik's best line: "I know they'll be coming to find me soon/But I fear I'm getting used to being held by you."

'Clouds'

Malik's best line: "Someday, you're gonna see the things that I see/You're gonna want the air that I breathe/You're gonna wish you never left me."


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