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A Definitive Ranking of Every Single One Direction Song

For some people, reading week was an opportunity to catch up on some much-needed sleep. For others, it was a chance to get ahead in classes. For me, it was the perfect time to refamiliarize myself with every single song in One Direction’s music catalogue.

Since their formation on the British TV program The X-Factor in 2010, One Direction has become a household name, playing four world tours and releasing five studio albums. Although they have been on an indefinite hiatus since August 2015, their music is still widely popular, with over 23 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone as of February 2021.

However, some of their discographies have held up better over time than others. Spurred on by a mixture of boredom and exhaustion, I’ve ranked all 91 One Direction songs, despite knowing absolutely nothing about music production. Check out my thoughts below and let me know if you agree!

91. “I Want” – Up All Night

With gross lyrics and an awful melody, this song from their debut album Up All Night lands itself at the bottom of the list. Liam recently revealed on Instagram Live that this was his least favourite One Direction song, and I’m inclined to agree.

90. “Na Na Na” – Up All Night

Real lyrics from this song include "we're like na na na / then we're like yeah yeah yeah." Who let this track see the light of day?

89. “Everything About You” – Up All Night

This weird synth-pop number should have been scrapped for sure.

88. “Stole My Heart” – Up All Night

This sounds identical to "Everything About You,” only with a slightly catchier chorus.

87. “Another World” – Up All Night

This song feels like it should be in an early 2000's movie, and not in a good way.

86. “I Wish” – Up All Night

The most generic pop song I've ever heard. I wouldn't have known this was One Direction unless someone told me.

85. “Gotta Be You” – Up All Night

Between the bad rhymes and blatant overuse of the word "girl," this debut album track is pretty rough.

84. “Over Again” – Take Me Home

I don’t know what’s worse: the awkward almost-rapping or the line “I can make your tears fall down like the showers that are British.”  

83. “Save You Tonight” – Up All Night

Yet another synth-pop creation with an icky message and awful lyrics.

82. “Stand Up” – Up All Night

I couldn't tell you what a "stand up" actually is, but this one’s catchy.

81. “I Should Have Kissed You” – Up All Night

Another debut album track that lacks substance but will inevitably get stuck in your head.

80. “Tell Me A Lie” – Up All Night

This was written by Kelly Clarkson, and you can tell. It's still one of the better songs off their debut album.

79. “Alive” ­– Midnight Memories

I genuinely thought this was sung by the Jonas Brothers the first time I listened to it.

78. “C’mon, C’mon” – Take Me Home

The chorus is fun, but the premise is about ditching your date for another girl, which is gross.

77. “Same Mistakes” – Up All Night

For their first album, it's not bad, just bland.

76. “Taken” – Up All Night

The rhymes in this one are rough, but it's super catchy.

75. “More Than This” – Up All Night

The over-the-top cheesy chorus wrecks any potential that this song had.

74. “What A Feeling” – Made In The A.M.

The boys tried something different with this one, and in my opinion, it just doesn't quite pay off.

73. “Never Enough” – Made In The A.M.

This one would have been decent without the background grunts.

72. “Does He Know” – Midnight Memories

Is it catchy? Yes. Is it a blatant rip-off of "Jessie's Girl?” Also yes.

71. “I Would” – Take Me Home

This one is fun, but it’s wrecked by oddly specific lyrics like “cause I can’t compete with your boyfriend / he’s got 27 tattoos.” Why???

70. “Loved You First” ­– Take Me Home

Awful lyrics, good chorus.

69. “Summer Love” – Take Me Home

Nothing about this ballad is groundbreaking, but it sure is cute.

68. “Truly, Madly, Deeply” – Take Me Home

Much like “Summer Love,” it’s cute but utterly forgettable.

67. “Rock Me” – Take Me Home

Putting the message of this song aside, it's just not very strong lyrically.

66. “Change My Mind” – Take Me Home

Yet another generic ballad. The lyric changes on tour make this one a bit more fun. 

65. “Moments” ­– Up All Night

Liam does a great job with the first verse, but the rest of this song falls flat.

64. “Magic” – Take Me Home

I'm definitely not the only one who forgot this song existed until it became popular on TikTok.

63. “Still The One” – Take Me Home

It’s pretty catchy, despite a rough chorus. 

62. “A.M.” – Made In The A.M.

Remember at the end of Camp Rock 2 when everyone sits around the fire and sings together? That's the vibe this song gives off.

61. “Nobody Compares” – Take Me Home

The chorus for this one almost makes up for the cringeworthy first verse that opens with “you’re so pretty when you cry.”

60. “Little White Lies” – Midnight Memories

It’s so catchy, but the chorus is absolutely awful. 

59. “Irresistible” ­– Take Me Home

It's a shame that this is only a bonus track on Take Me Home because it's significantly better than some others that made the album.

58. “Better Than Words” – Midnight Memories

Ignoring the cool premise of making a track out of other song titles, this Midnight Memories track is just okay.

57. “Up All Night” ­– Up All Night

It's nothing special, but it's a fun throwback song.

56. “I Want To Write You A Song” – Made In The A.M.

This one sounds like they ad-libbed the entire thing on the spot. It’s still cute, though.

55. “What Makes You Beautiful” – Up All Night

This hit single from Up All Night is definitely nostalgic but has zero depth.

54. “One Way Or Another” – No Album

One Direction's cover of this Blondie song (mashed with The Undertone's "Teenage Kicks") is simultaneously awful and fantastic. The music video also features some cringeworthy dancing that is definitely worth a watch.

53. “End Of The Day” – Made In The A.M.

This Made In The A.M. track feels like ten songs smushed together, and it just doesn't work.

52. “Best Song Ever” – Midnight Memories

You know when you can tell a song was written for the sole purpose of topping radio charts? Yeah. That's the vibe.

51. “Hey Angel” – Made In The A.M.

This repetitive track is definitely not what I would have chosen as an album opener.

50. “Midnight Memories” – Midnight Memories

The namesake for the Midnight Memories album misses the mark, feeling more like a parody of an 80’s song than an authentic track.

49. “Once In A Lifetime” – FOUR

I think I’ve fallen asleep to this one before.

48. “One Thing” – Up All Night

It’s fun to sing along to but isn’t anything special.

47. “Drag Me Down” – Made In The A.M.

Even Harry's fantastic high notes can't save this song, thanks to its weirdly monotone chorus.

46. “Right Now” – Midnight Memories

This song is too boring to be memorable, save for Zayn's impressive falsetto.

45. “Stockholm Syndrome” – FOUR

The extended kidnapping metaphor just makes this one weird.

44. “Illusion” – FOUR

There's nothing wrong with Illusion, but there's nothing special about it either.

43. “Live While We’re Young” – Take Me Home

Much like "Best Song Ever," you can tell this track was made for radio.

42. “Heart Attack” – Take Me Home

Niall's punchy "ow's!" are exciting at first but feel overdone by the halfway point.

41. “Change Your Ticket” – FOUR

It's a good song that doesn't quite live up to The 1975-esque sound it's trying to imitate.

40. “Spaces” – FOUR

The lyric “who's gonna be the first to say goodbye” is sad in hindsight, but this one’s unremarkable otherwise.

39. “Diana” – Midnight Memories

I genuinely can’t tell you what my problem is with this song. It’s just not for me.

38. “Act My Age” – FOUR

It's definitely hard for a song that begins with "when I'm fat and old" to redeem itself, but this track manages to somehow pull it off, mainly thanks to Niall’s excitement while performing this one on tour.

37. “Last First Kiss” – Take Me Home

The chorus elevates this one from forgettable to insanely catchy.

36. “Little Things” – Take Me Home

For a song that’s full of backhanded compliments, it’s pretty good.

35. “Little Black Dress” – Midnight Memories

This one is a lot of fun- just don’t listen to the lyrics too closely.

34. “Love You Goodbye” – Made In The A.M.

Louis's fantastic high note on the bridge is the best part of this ballad.

33. “They Don’t Know About Us” – Take Me Home

If you ignore the blatant overuse of the word "girl," this Take Me Home track is ridiculously sweet.

32. “Long Way Down” – Made In The A.M.

Liam and Louis teamed up to write this track that showcases Harry fantastically during the chorus but is at times a little too slow.

31. “Clouds” – FOUR

This peppy breakup song is good, but it's nothing compared to some of the other tracks on FOUR.

30. “She’s Not Afraid” – Take Me Home

Super fun to dance along to, nothing special lyrically.

29. “Steal My Girl” – FOUR

This song is great - as long as you don't pay attention to the lyrics. Bonus points for Zayn's high notes.

28. “Night Changes” – FOUR

I love the music video, but this definitely isn’t their strongest single. 

27. “Girl Almighty” – FOUR

It's an undeniable bop, but this song makes absolutely no sense. Seriously, what is “her light is as loud as many ambulances / as it takes to save a saviour” supposed to mean?

26. “Back For You” – Take Me Home

The chorus is great, however, the first verse is pretty rough.

25. “Temporary Fix” – Made In The A.M.

This song is a welcome change from One Direction's earlier G-rated discography, but the lyrics aren’t great at times.

24. “Home” – No Album

Another track that was co-written by Louis and Liam that’s good but not exceptional.

23. “Why Don’t We Go There” – Midnight Memories

Super catchy with very little substance.

22. “Story Of My Life” – Midnight Memories

Although this one's been ridiculously overplayed on the radio, it's still full of heart, something other One Direction singles lack.

21. “Infinity” – Made In The A.M.

This Made In The A.M. track starts slow, but the second half is fantastic.

20. “Don’t Forget Where You Belong” – Midnight Memories

Louis and Zayn singing the bridge together more than makes up for a clunky chorus that includes the line “if you ever feel alone, don’t.”

19. “Kiss You” – Take Me Home

This one is so upbeat that you can't help but sing along- although there are some cringe-worthy lyrics scattered throughout.

18. “Something Great” – Midnight Memories

Louis's solo at the end of this song elevates this track from something good to something great (pardon the pun).

17. Ready To Run” – FOUR

If I could, I’d play this song on repeat all day.

16. “Olivia” – Made In The A.M.

Liam does a great job leading the boys through this peppy number that’s sparked a fun TikTok trend.

15. “If I Could Fly” – Made In The A.M.

The Harry-written "If I Could Fly" is heartbreakingly beautiful, and one of the rawest and real songs in One Direction's entire discography.

14. “Wolves” – Made In The A.M.

I guarantee this one will get stuck in your head for hours after listening.

13. “Half A Heart” – Midnight Memories

Zayn's vocals on this song are arguably some of his best- just listen to that first chorus!

12. “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” – FOUR

Niall takes the lead on this upbeat track and absolutely kills it. Bonus points for Louis’s fantastic last chorus.

11. “Perfect” – Made In The A.M.

A strong single from Made In The A.M. with stellar lead vocals from Harry.

10. “Fireproof” – FOUR

Great songwriting from both Louis and Liam and amazing vocals from all five boys make this song an instant fave.  

9. “You & I” – Midnight Memories

Zayn's high note. That's all.

8. “18” – FOUR

"18" is sweet, soft and personal- it’s got all the elements of a perfect ballad.

7. “Happily” – Midnight Memories

"Happily" is one of those songs that you've got to scream at the top of your lungs at least once. It's not anything groundbreaking, but it's one of One Direction's most fun songs.

6. “Strong” – Midnight Memories

Louis's writing on this song is absolutely fantastic, and Zayn and Niall do a great job with the bridge.

5. “Walking In The Wind” – Made In The A.M.

Harry flexes his writing chops again on this emotional song that’s rumoured to be about Zayn's departure. Cue the tears from me.

4. “Fool’s Gold” – FOUR

Arguably one of One Direction’s best ballads, “Fool’s Gold” is three minutes and thirty seconds of pure perfection.

3. “No Control” – FOUR

One of my personal favourites, this catchy Louis-centric track will have you wondering why he didn't get more solos.

2. “History” – Made In The A.M.

Not only is this song super strong lyrically, but it's also one of the last songs One Direction performed before their indefinite hiatus, meaning it's guaranteed to make me cry.

1. “Through The Dark” – Midnight Memories

To me, this song is quintessential One Direction. Between Louis and Liam’s writing, fantastic vocals from all five boys and a heartbreakingly sweet message, “Through The Dark” has everything. It's been one of my favourites since I first listened to Midnight Memories back in 2013, so it's no surprise that it's at the top of this list.

From the cringeworthy to the classic, One Direction’s discography has it all. There’s definitely more to these boys than “What Makes You Beautiful,” so give some of their other songs a listen and let me know if you agree with my rankings!


Nicole Persaud

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Nicole is a 4th Year BBA student double minoring in Medieval & Medievalism Studies and Political Science. You can find her ignoring her readings, hanging out with her dogs, and planning her next Disney vacation. 
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