My Reaction to Zayn Malik’s Departure From One Direction

Zayn Malik

Some may say that it is the end of an era, while others remain unaffected and, perhaps, unaware. Whether you are in the first boat or the second boat, it is safe to say that emotions of heartbreak, loss, betrayal, anger, bitterness and disappointment are present around the world as a result of Wednesday’s news.

One 22-year-old man’s name and face spread across social media like wildfire on Wednesday, March 25. People shared, commented, liked, tweeted and insta’d about Zayn Malik’s decision to leave the famous group of guys, One Direction. Needless to say, the press had a field day in response to the news.

Music magazines and newspapers posted different headlines describing the singer’s departure, including “Zayn Malik has left One Direction, band confirms” and “Zayn Malik quits One Direction: What it means for the world’s biggest pop group.”

The One Direction Facebook account sent out a formal statement Thursday morning regarding Malik’s decision and motivation for leaving. The supposed reason behind his departure: a desire for simplicity. Malik stated that he wants to spend his time out of the spotlight and live a “normal” life. Whether or not that is realistic is up for interpretation and frankly, none of our business.

Some think that the loss of Malik will change the entire dynamic of the group, while others think that the band will be able to continue on. As one who has been a fan of One Direction since they formed back on The X Factor, I can safely say that their sound will most certainly change. All One Direction fans know that Malik’s harmonies and high notes add an enticing element to their songs. Songs like “You and I,” “Night Changes” and “Steal My Girl” would not be the same without Malik’s solos.

Sure, Harry Styles may be the most famous of the group, but everyone has a soft spot in their hearts for Zayn Malik, the dark, broody one. In regards to the music, I will say that the remaining guys – Styles, Payne, Horan and Tomlinson – are all strong vocally, and the quality of the music will not suffer. The only expected, noticeable change is fewer high notes.

The group of five, who met on the British version of The X Factor, have released four albums and are currently working on a fifth. To say the band has been successful is an understatement. Hate them or love them, you cannot deny that One Direction is a global phenomenon.

This is what brings me to a standstill. A global phenomenon surrounding five guys who have had their lives broadcasted for the world to see for the past five years. Some members of the band are better at keeping their personal lives under wraps, but the paparazzi lurks around and tries to get a glimpse whenever they can. Most of us are unfamiliar with this lifestyle. When we get a new tattoo or propose to a girlfriend, boyfriend or partner, the news is not being spread around the globe.

I would most definitely be lying if I said that I am not upset by the news. I have been to a One Direction concert; I have danced for hours listening to their music; I have learned all of their lyrics; I have spent hours watching their interviews on YouTube and yet, I cannot judge him for leaving because I do not know what it is like to be a member of One Direction.

While millions of their fans may cry themselves to sleep for the next week, or even month, those tears are a testament to their love of the band and of Malik.

People will speculate reasons for his departure, but that will pass. The band will eventually break apart, but their music will remain in people’s lives for many years to come.

Feature image: Javierosh, Creative Commons

Katherine Kelliher
Katherine is currently a senior at Saint Louis University studying Political Science, Communication-Journalism and French. She drinks her coffee black and is an avid film watcher.