We are no strangers of the superstardom stint of everyone’s beloved boyband One Direction. I remember a sudden explosion of fanbase for 1D at my high school where girls and boys – but especially girls – would go gaga over their songs, music videos and the boys themselves. Everybody would have a favorite band member who they would thoroughly know and love as a fan should. An American band creating such an impact in Indian schools clearly point towards its success as an expander of the American culture worldwide. They made groovy and relatable music with flawless lyrics and impeccable music videos – what else does a high schooler need? Probably a lot, but I guess what I’m trying to say is – One Direction’s music had a mass appeal and their songs became sensational hits.
Rising to fame from X-Factor 2010, One Direction was together for almost 5 years before it disintegrated, and the promising members of the band moved ahead in lives envisioning powerful solo careers. This blog post is not about their overall success, but about their last fling together – Drag Me Down which has a single that released after the departure of the band lead – Zayn Malik. People had their doubts about the band surviving after the parting of a crucial member, but all reservations were shattered to pieces when Drag Me Down broke Spotify records, defeating Wiz Khalifa’s See You Again. The song was also the first track ever to hit No. 1 on the Spotify Global Chart on its first day of release. Carrying out a successful single without Malik, the band proved that they are still very capable of producing exceptional music and derive their power from their loyal fans. I feel Drag Me Down was one final goodbye and a heartfelt letter of gratitude for the millions of fans that supported and encouraged One Direction.
The reason why Drag Me Down creates a cultural effect is the fact that they love doing what they do, and their music is likeable, meaningful and fun! Everyone likes a good structure, whether that be of an article, a movie or a song. One Direction does that to their entire tenure – an amazing opening, a splendid journey and a sweet goodbye.
The reason why Drag Me Down creates a cultural effect is the fact that they love doing what they do, and their music is likeable, meaningful and fun! Everyone likes a good structure, whether that be of an article, a movie or a song. One Direction does that to their entire tenure – an amazing opening, a splendid journey and a sweet goodbye. Directioners might express their sorrows over the short life of the band, they certainly couldn’t have asked for a better cheerio.
The single has an overwhelming amount of love, gratitude and enthusiasm. A never-say-die spirit that encourages the youth to keep persuading their dreams despite the major setbacks one receives. In the music video, Harry, Liam, Niall and Louis are seen doing groundbreaking things and being successful at those which I feel is a symbolism for what they are capable of doing with the never-ending love from their fans. Towards the end of the video they are literally seen as taking off – which can be interpreted as launching into new horizons and never stopping. The enthusiasm they generate in their music and video transcends global boundaries. The fact that 1D is still one of the most-streamed boybands on Spotify, with 18,247,928 monthly listeners, even when no new music is made speaks of its global appeal and cultural significance. The gratitude leaks into the lyrics “If I didn’t have you, there would be nothing left; The shell of a man that could never be his best”. That is some excellent poetry right there.
The mutual zeal of the artists and their fandom may also lead to certain parasocial relationships which not only facilitate fans to become increasingly involved in the lives of the artists they follow, but also feel attraction towards them in a way that these artists seem to be the most important humans in their worlds. Now, as you guessed this might have their own pros and cons. One cannot help but wonder whether these parasocial relationships are a boon or a bane; because on one hand, they promote creativity and act as a social glue to bring people together, while on the other hand, may produce maladaptive behavioral patterns where individuals overly obsess over these artists who they don’t know personally. There can be many psychological cons involved as well – such as the fans getting overly involved in their fantasy world to a point where they actually imagine being a part of the artist’s world or feel dejected when they are not getting noticed or when the artist isn’t producing new music. Nonetheless, fans getting hugely attracted and invested in 1D does follow this phenomena.
Good music is played and remembered even when the artist is no longer around, that is one way to make a cultural impact on people around the world. Appealing to the youth is a massive accomplishment and One Direction was successful in doing that. Even though the band isn’t around anymore, there will always be a high schooler who has Steal My Girl on their playlist.