Choosing your favourite One Directioner single is like choosing your favourite hand. Except that you'd need need five hands to do that. Goro from Mortal Kombat had four and he never looks happy, so we think we'll probably just stick with two for now.
We know that there's no such thing as a "bad" One Direction single, really. But now that Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik have all released their debut solo efforts we couldn't help but throw them into battle to see who's best. Brace yourselves, people, this is going to be brutal.
In terms of the charts, both Harry and Zayn scored No.1 singles, while Louis went to No.2 and Niall charted around the top ten. For now we'll have to wait and see how Liam Payne's debut 'Strip That Down' performs.
Now for the rules. We'll be solely comparing each of the lads' very first singles and we're including Zayn Malik, even though he departed One Direction before their hiatus. Firstly because he released music first, secondly because we're still hoping he'll come back for their eventual reunion. *Crosses fingers*
So here we go. You'll have the option to rank your favourite singles at the bottom of the article and please let us know how much you agree with our verdict over on @DigitalSpy.
5. Liam Payne – 'Strip That Down' ft. Quavo
Okay, it might seem harsh to chart Liam Payne's solo debut as the worst One Direction single on the day it's released, but let's face it, he had some tough competition. It might be a side-effect of going last, but it has just been weeks since we've digested Harry and Niall's solo efforts.
We'll start with the positive, he's gone for a hip-hop feel, which the other guys haven't quite touched on yet, so that's, erm, nice. However the song screams of trying to be grown up, which admittedly Zayn also tried, but with Liam's song, it comes across a little cheesey.
He's the only one who's used their music to address the elephant in the room – "You know, I used to be in 1D (now I'm out, free)" – which some fans aren't happy about. References to Ferraris and asking his girl to "swing that round for me" come across as generic. By no means is it a bad song, but Quavo, who features on the track, sounds more at home on it than Liam does.
We know he's written plenty before, including half an untoured 1D album, so perhaps production is where Liam's greatest strengths lie?
4. Louis Tomlinson – 'Just Hold On'
Right, it's getting tough now. We have to give Louis Tomlinson props for going into a completely different direction to the rest of the band. His dancey and electronic collaboration with DJ superstar Steve Aoki is the biggest separation from his peers.
However even with a promising opening and plenty of Europoppy "Oh-oh-ohs" to chant along to, the final product is a little bit generic. Perhaps this is a hangover of making his first effort a collaboration with someone already established, but out of all of the guy's songs, the lyrics give us the most flashbacks to One Direction lyrics of yore.
That's no bad thing, but we're keen to see what Louis can produce when he's fully and truly working solo.
3. Niall Horan – 'This Town'
Niall's single isn't groundbreaking, it has elements of simplicity a bit like Harry's, but similarly like the man himself, it's just nice.
The lovely acoustic guitar is basic, but leaves leaves plenty of room for us to hear Niall's solid vocals and the very beautiful chorus. He might not be the best singer in the band, but you can easily see this song appealing to the 1D fandom and beyond. It's easy listening, your mum will probably like it, and your nan, and maybe even your brother who swore he hated One Direction a long time ago.
We can see this one sitting quite comfortably as a regular on Magic FM for years to come. Overall this is a double blow of showing Niall as a great singer and musician, which is exactly what you need when you're going solo.
2. Zayn Malik – 'Pillow Talk'
We've got a lot of love for Zayn's debut album Mind of Mine and although 'Pillow Talk' is definitely not the strongest track from his record, its R&B feel gave it a stark distinction from what we'd come to expect from the Directioners.
It did go a bit overboard with the whole "I'm going to talk about bonking lots now because I'm not in a boyband anymore" aesthetic, but it was a cool, sexy and stylish track. Zayn is also the only one to drop the F-bomb in his debut single, as he brags about "f**king and fighting" multiple times.
But overall, it fell just about the right side of trying to be grown up – it's a great track with really interesting production.
1. Harry Styles – 'Sign of the Times'
We imagine this is going to be a popular choice for many. Harry Styles' debut solo track hasn't landed at the top spot simply because it's Harry Styles, although that's arguably a very good argument. Hazza's eerie and atmospheric anthem has echoes of Prince and David Bowie, which is no bad thing, but the main reason we think it's best is because it's so different to what we've come to expect from One Direction.
Harry has always been vocal about his love of the likes of Pink Floyd, Eric Carmen and The Beatles, all of which he's listed as influences for his self-titled debut. Hopefully his new music will help fans appreciate some of those amazing influences, but separately to that, it's just a striking and beautifully simple song, plus it shows off his true prowess as a vocalist. After listening to all the guys' songs, this is one we just can't get tired of.
Which do you think is the best One Direction single? Use our poll below to vote now:
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