As One Direction celebrates their 10-year anniversary on July 23, 2020, Billboard has ranked all of the group’s singles, from “What Makes You Beautiful” through the very last Made in the A.M single, “History.”
Where does your favorite land? Check out Billboard’s list of every One Direction single ranked below.
17. “Gotta Be You”
Earnest, inoffensive lyrics about a cute girl? Check. But as sweet as the tune is, it’s pretty forgettable. This Up All Night track was a good starting point, but the guys had much better in store for their devoted fans.
16. “Little Things”
We know this ranking is controversial: the song certainly has its superfans, but we never got on board with one of 1D’s biggest ballads. The guys’ harmonies are on point, but the lyrics fail to measure up (and, it must be said, rubbed plenty of people the wrong way).
15. “More Than This “
Off their debut album, this track is fine – plenty of high school slow dances have taken place with this solid tune playing in the background – but for as memorable as many of 1D’s pop bests are, this one isn’t in the same league.
14. “One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)?”
This is a charity single and a double cover, so consider its inclusion here just a bonus. The cover of the classic tunes is nothing special, but there is a super goofy video that shows the guys at their charming best. Not the band’s greatest single, but the impetus for one of their most enjoyable videos.
It’s impossible to not hear “History” and be drowned in nostalgia for one of the greatest boy bands that ever was. “History,” the third and final single from 1D’s Made in the A.M., was also their final single before embarking on an indefinite hiatus in January 2016.
12. “Midnight Memories”
Adding a bit of rock n’ roll edge to their pop ways, the title track off their third album showcased a group that was maturing and the promise of what the future could hold. Plus: The tune has one hell of a sing along-worthy chorus.
11. “Night Changes”
The guys grew up before our very eyes! “Night Changes” is a ballad showcasing tight harmonies and a markedly different sound than first Four single “Steal My Girl.”
10. “You & I”
A Midnight Memories slow burner, “You & I” succeeds with its moving melody and aching lyrics — not to mention a few killer high notes toward the end.
9. “Drag Me Down”
The group’s first post-Zayn single was an ode to the fans and a logical pop-rock progression following the arena-rock heard on Four.
With lyrics that are a great fantasy for fans, the second single off Made in the A.M. was perfectly tailored to channel big ’80s sound, which a chorus that, while not as memorable as some of 1Ds best, still manages to worm its way into your head. We’re not complaining.
7. “Best Song Ever”
Yes, it sounds like “Baba O’Riley” — that’s the point. One Direction sought a big, dumb slice of fun to lead third album Midnight Memories, and with “Best Song Ever,” the boys howled toward the Who and let the sexual innuendos fly freely. It’s not the best song ever, but it’s a pretty great one.
6. “Kiss You “
One Direction has better singles than “Kiss You” (hence its No. 6 ranking on this list), but none are quite as giddy or as effervescent as this three-minute romp. “Kiss You” captures the rapid exhilaration of a first kiss, and is just as unforgettable.
5. “Story of My Life”
The Mumford & Sons homage is real, but so is the emotion: “Story of My Life” is ace songwriting no matter the genre, with all five members pulling their weight and crafting a folk-pop chorus one can’t help but sing along with by the end of the song.
4. “Live While We’re Young”
Following the sugar rush provided by their Up All Night singles, One Direction returned with a single just as sticky-sweet and quotable. “Live While We’re Young” flaunts a bulletproof guitar riff (thanks, the Clash!), dizzying bridge and some of the boys’ most quotable lyrics to date.
3. “Steal My Girl”
Perhaps more than any other One Direction track, “Steal My Girl” makes ample room for a killer instrumental to balance out the vocal hooks. The arena-rock backing track here is pitch-perfect, and the stomp-clap power of the chorus is undeniable on both headphones and in a stadium.
2. “One Thing”
“One Thing” is easily One Direction’s most underrated single ever, a gooey puppy-love song with incredible melodies and a gorgeous breakdown-to-final-chorus transition. “One Thing” deserves to be remembered as essential.
1. “What Makes You Beautiful”
“Baby you light up my world like nobody else/The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed.” And with that, we were putty in the hands of these five U.K. lads. “What Makes You Beautiful” towers above the rest of One Direction’s strong singles discography, an effortlessly charming and supremely durable introduction to the world at large following their X Factor run. The group never really topped the majesty of its debut single — and that says less about their follow-up hits and more about how freaking good “What Makes You Beautiful” is, was and always will be.