When I feel the need to ground myself, I tend to go back in time. I put on songs that I am familiar with to their core — songs I know from the inside out. Songs that bring me back to a simpler time while also giving me a momentary understanding of just how much I’ve grown.
Listening to One Direction does that to me.
In case you lived under a rock from 2010-2015, One Direction was a boy band consisting of Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne. Zayn Malik was also a member until he left in early 2015. Known for smash hits “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Story of My Life,” “Drag Me Down” and numerous others, the British-Irish pop group was launched into international fame after placing third on “The X Factor UK” in 2010.
Despite all the times I got made fun of, I stuck with One Direction and was always excited for every new release. Looking back, I now realize their music just made me feel good. Going to their concert in 2015 is something I recall fondly because I had so much fun. Almost six years later, listening to One Direction not only brings back simpler times, but it’s an instant mood-pleaser. “What Makes You Beautiful” is a must-play on any road trip with friends, and if you don’t sing every word to it, I will shove you out of my car.
One of my favorite One Direction songs is a relatively unknown one from their fifth and final album. “Walking in the Wind” is a song that deserves more attention than it gets. Sonically, I feel like this song could’ve been created before I was born, yet it hints at the current pop industry. From time to time, this song plays on my shuffle and I get obsessed with it all over again.
I believe this song contains some of the best lyrics in its discography. Phrases like “You’ll find me in the region of the summer stars” and “The fact that we can sit right here and say goodbye means we’ve already won” hit me right where it hurts. But the special thing is that the lyrics could mean different things for different people. Some see it as a goodbye, some see it as a moment in time when you realize that you’ll never live something like this again. Some see it as a fresh start. I’ve seen it as all three in varying stages of my life.
For me, this song captures both ends of a spectrum. It captures waking up in a haze yet also feeling alive at 1:39 in the morning. It captures the silent laughter after one of your friends tells a dumb joke as you’re hugging them goodbye in the middle of the afternoon, not quite knowing how life will change once you see them again.
It’s the song version of those conflicting feelings young adults face all the time: wanting to relive a specific moment, knowing that another moment or feeling will eventually replace it.
Life is filled with moments, and if you don’t take the time to stop and appreciate those moments once in a while, you’ll miss the beauty of them. I know that’s incredibly cliché, but so is this song, in a way. It’s cliché, yet also completely original.
On a side note, where’s the 1D reunion? Even though they’re all focusing on their own solo careers now, I can’t help but think that if they did a reunion tour, it would be one of the fastest-selling tours in history. While it’s wonderful to see all five members happy and on their own adventures, nothing will ever beat 13-year-old me anticipating the release of a new song. Or perhaps that’s just me yearning for simpler times again.
Once you get past the hits that everyone knows — which are still absolute bops — it may be a surprise to some that One Direction does have good music. Across their five albums, you’re sure to find at least one song you connect to. Maybe “Walking in the Wind” is that song.