Why be cool, when you can listen to One Direction?

In Commentary, HOME, MUSIC by Sam Prance

For a while I thought I was cool. I only listened to guitar music made by men with jeans skinnier than mine and avoided the charts like the plague. Then in 2010, five boys auditioned for the X Factor and that was it. I became a directioner. Harry, Zayn, Louis, Niall and Liam (in order of preference) won over not just the world but my stone cold indie heart. At this years Brits, I realised I would much rather spend my time making out with Harry or Zayn than the ‘saviour of rock and roll’ Alex Turner. After being a fan from the beginning, I am so bored of people laughing it off as poor taste.

It’s cool not to like One Direction. It’s cool to laugh at the millions of teenage girls screaming about them. It’s cool to call them ‘gay’ and laugh at them just because they’re another ‘product’ of Simon Cowell. It’s easier to insult them than to say ‘yeah they’re doing well for themselves’ and I’m sick and tired of people insulting them because they are the figureheads of manufactured pop music. They’re so quick to ignore the fact that they are in many ways the biggest rock band on the planet right now and through their heavy guitar influenced music it is them saving rock and roll (sorry Alex Turner). In the words of Louis Tomlinson ‘do you think slagging off boy-bands makes you more indie?’.

Yes teenage girls like them. Yes they scream and perhaps are a little over-enthusiastic, but why is this a bad thing? A thing to be mocked? Hey 16 year old teenage boy with a ‘mod’ haircut, NME in hand and mass-produced Beatles t-shirt, who was it championing your beloved Beatles? It wasn’t middle aged Q readers. It was screaming, crying, hysterical teenage girls. Who were Elvis’ (the King of rock and roll) biggest fans?. Yes, those same teenage girls that you love to mock so much. If your only argument against One Direction is that you couldn’t possibly like them because girls like them, please shut up and try and compile a better argument.


What’s more – One Direction are probably one of the few male bands in mainstream music promoting a healthy message to their young female fans. They recognize their fan-base and in their music and interviews alike use this to put across a hugely important message of gender equality. Harry Styles especially in interviews consistently says that the band are against female oppression and women are never used as props in their videos. I don’t know about you, but if I was a mother I’d much prefer my twelve year old daughter to listen to music where she’s being told that she’s beautiful even if she might not know it, than watching an Arctic Monkeys video where the only women are either scantily clad or nameless props. For young muslim girls (and boys) throughout Britain and the world, having Zayn Malik as a positive role model must be hugely important. How many other muslim young people are there in the public eye as much as Zayn? One Direction’s ability to represent some of the diversity in which we live is something that should not be taken for granted and its importance not to dismiss it. It’s not every day that five working class boys become millionaires.

Then there’s the simple matter of liking pop music. It’s not for everyone but people shouldn’t be mocked for liking it. It’s just a genre and a bloody infectious one at that. Perhaps some of the latest album Midnight Memories is obviously ripping off bigger, classic rock songs but if it gets people listening to The Who (Best Song Ever) and most importantly Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield (Does He Know?) then that can only be a good thing for the rock fans amongst us. In the Midnight Memories video Louis wears a Stone Roses t-shirt, and recently wore a Joy Division t-shirt, predictably, the same dull abuse was hurled at them. A northern teenage boy wearing a Stone Roses t-shirt is the least shocking thing about the band. I’m sick of this division of indie and pop and the inevitable backlash when they combine. Harry Styles is a huge fan of The Cribs and this can’t have done bad things for their popularity.

My biggest secret is that I’m waiting for a scandal to hit, them to disband and Harry Styles to meet me. After being disgraced I’ll be his shoulder to cry on and a passionate romance will quickly ensue. He’ll be my best friend and I’ll be his. We will grow old together and own a bakery and live happily ever after. But until that day I’m going to stick on Best Song Ever and dance around my bedroom, feeling smug about finally picking music which makes me smile over ‘good’ music. Chances are I’m having more fun.

Rachel Earnshaw

Rachel Earnshaw is a Psychology student at the University of Edinburgh, and no, unfortunately, this does not mean she can read your mind, as much as she’d like to pretend. She spends most of her time trying to make her fringe look exactly right and eating cinnamon buns. She really wishes her parents had called her Catherine Earnshaw.

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(Images sourced from: www.telegraph.co.uk)