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The Mass Media

Zayn Malik: In Memoriam

Zayn Malik Has Quit One Direction to Become a Normal 22-year-old
Zayn Malik Has Quit One Direction to Become a “Normal 22-year-old”

Zayn it isn’t so! Zayn Malik has left One Direction and with one pun already down, there is a tentative promise not to use any more. Especially since the play on which direction and in how many directions the band will now go has been completely overdone in a matter of days. One Direction’s song, “Moments,” sums up the desire of audiences to have Zayn back, “If we could only have this life for one more day/If only we could turn back time.” Quoting a song does not count as a pun.

However, the puns keep coming in the wake of Zayn’s absence, because that is the kind of publicity that boy bands always attract. Boy bands in the moment of their fame can only be a spectacle to anyone that isn’t already a devout fan of the pre-adolescent kind, because there’s an age at which it just becomes cool to hate the new boy bands. For these young boy bands it seems to be inevitable not only that their fame will fade, but that they will, in time, become an object of nostalgia to restore their glory. To focus of nostalgia hinders, prohibits, and discourages growth—the concept of the boy band can only survive with the Peter Pan mentality of never growing up. For Zayn, the spectacle of being in a boy band was ultimately too much, and he has decided that it is time for him to grow up.

Zayn brought the ambiguous foreign mystery to One Direction, but without him there is something missing. It is unclear whether One Direction will continue with only four members, ignoring their glaring lack of diversity, or if they would dare attempt to replace him. Boy bands have survived losing various members before, while others have fallen in the wake of catastrophe. In some cases, the member that leaves goes on to have a successful solo career, like Justin Timberlake who had also gotten a start as a heartthrob in Backstreet Boys. Just kidding, it was ‘NSync…that was a test. It can also act as testament to how two such boy bands have stood the test of time. As for Zayn,it seems highly unlikely that he has a chance at some other music career. As of right now the reasoning for leaving the band has been to achieve a sense of normalcy, away from the spotlight.

Zayn has found himself in the spotlight, even with his attempt to escape the spotlight. Despite his statement to the public regarding his reason for stepping down, many have continued to speculate some deeper meaning behind the change. Some say the band forced him out due to his partying. It has recently surfaced that One Direction was requested to pay a weed bond while on tour in the Philippines due being spotted in public with marijuana previously. Bands like One Direction not only have a large audience, but an impressionable one, which is why they were fined a weed bond in the Philippines.

There are other considerations as to why Zayne left, and one of the more intriguing theories is that this departure was foretold in the naming of One Direction’s previous album, named ‘Four,’ which happens to be how many members that currently reside in the band. Whether it is because of Zayn’s partying, wanting to be normal, or because of his fiancé, one thing remains certain  is that there will be other conspiracies as to why he left. Fans have a need to come up with ways to cope with the loss, and to ascribe some semblance of meaning.

So far, the best predictor for the future is to look at history. The past of boy bands, like the Backstreet Boys, have proven that, as a group that still occasionally tours, they have a future. Moreso, they have proven that individual members that leave sometimes come back, and the same can be said for when bands go on hiatus. Kevin Richards proved that the return is possible when he came back to Backstreet Boys, because Backstreet is back and that is their thing; there’s a whole album about it. Maybe Zayn will be able to have the normal life, the successful solo career, or maybe he will return. The fact is that the One Direction community has lost, but will go on as Backstreet Boys went on with or without Kevin Richards. Can Zayn be replaced? To some that is a legitimate question, but to the community on Urban Dictionary, the words ‘Zayn Malik’ can be used to refer to something that is perfect, and perfection cannot be replaced.