As we speak, #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik is trending on Twitter. Which makes sense, because Zayn Malik will always be in our hearts. Unless, of course, you’re considering that to be a literal statement. Which means you’d be dead. Because a 22-year-old ex-boy band member cannot survive in your heart. Or on your heart. He’d be too large, and you would die.
But I digress. Times are tough for One Direction fans, who find themselves confronted with the following harsh realities:
A. One Direction now has four members, not five.
C. The biggest band in the world has already begun its long, painful, downward roll into oblivion.
I know, Screaming Girl. I know. One Direction is different, and its music is special, and you’ve never felt this way before, and Zayn was sensitive, and … yeah. We’ve all heard it before. By “we,” I mean anyone over the age of, oh, 22. Boy bands come, boy bands go. They manipulate the fragile emotional states of pre-teen girls, offer up thin beats and exorbitant ticket prices, coerce you into buying T-shirts and magazines and dolls and hats and whatnot—then vanish. They vanish for myriad reasons, all of them pretty reasonable …
A. Because one guy is usually more talented than the others, and he comes to the realization that $5 million divided by one is much better than $5 million divided by five. See: Timberlake, Justin. See: Brown, Bobby. See: Jackson, Michael. See: Osmond, Donny.
B. Because boy bands become man bands, and pre-teen girls don’t scream for people who look like this. And they shouldn’t. It would be quite weird. Once, long ago, Jordan Knight (New Kids) was every little white girl’s fantasy. Then he got old, sorta grumpy, appeared on a reality show. Same with Bobby Brown. He was awesome with Don’t Be Cruel. He was scary and weird and drunk with Whitney Houston. He looked like a guy who smelled of armpit. He grew up. It happens to everyone. Even Peter Pan.
C. At some point, the pre-teen girls are exposed to, oh, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Heart. This usually happens freshman year of college, but sometimes in the late high school years. And when you hear enough good music, shit music sounds awfully thin. It’s true. Here’s the proof: Go into a room and play a One Direction song six or seven times in a row. Then pick an Aerosmith tune. Any Aerosmith tune. It feels like eating a brownie after six years of rice cakes.
Anyhow, here’s what’s about to happen (with some probable slight variations): One Direction wishes Zayn well and continues on. Their next tour will do fine. They’ll release another studio album, and it’ll sell, but not quite as well as the last one. Harry, the most famous of the bunch, will grow restless and do a solo album. He’ll insist he’s not leaving the band, but—of course—he leaves the band. The three remaining One Direction guys know they’re fucked, because even the most die-hard *Nsync fan isn’t paying dough to watch a trio of Chris Kirkpatricks. So they take some sort of desperate action—either changing the band’s name to Three Direction, or welcoming Zayn back after he realizes people no longer give a shit, and his other option involves serving as a celebrity guest judge on some Food Network cupcake battle. We’re graced with the big One Direction four-man reunion tour, but promoters quickly see arenas are only half filled, so the remaining shows are shifted to smaller clubs.
Ultimately, one of the guys winds up in rehab, another comes out of the closet, a third follows some oddball religious cult and the fourth marries Eva Longoria or Madonna (his choice). Meanwhile, Harry, the escapee and “talent” of the group, gets fat and bald and releases some quirky concept album of Pat Benatar covers.
His obit kindly excludes that fact.