By Christine Richie

#OnTheList with Xtine is a weekly feature from Fresh 102.7’s Christine Richie that will be highlighting all things music, from her favorite emerging artists, top female vocalists, and much, much more!

WIN PASSES: Get ‘Up Close & Personal’ with Niall Horan on May 30th @ Fresh

I know the pain of your favorite band going their separate ways. It’s hard on the fan, but just think about the artists. Being forced to stay in a band is like falling out of love with your significant other, yet having to work with them everyday. Eventually any amount of money isn’t worth that kind of aggravation.

You also have to let an artist explore their creativity. Sometimes when members of bands go solo it works (Paul McCartney) and other times it doesn’t (Axl Rose). Then there’s hearing the solo stuff that sounds nothing like the music the band made together and you think “where did this come from?” For example, Robert Plant or HARRY FREAKIN’ STYLES!

Zayn would’ve been first until Harry came and blew them all out of the water. But before we jump headfirst into a fiery debate, let me explain my ranking of the separate directions former members of One Direction have taken.


1. Harry Styles

harry styles 2017 courtesy columbia #OnTheList with Xtine: Ranking The Solo Careers of One Direction

Harry Styles / Courtesy Columbia

Harry Styles made us wait the longest (excluding Liam, obviously), but his solo stuff was probably the most anticipated. I really had no idea what to expect from him. I was shocked when I first listened to “Sign of the Times.” I heard a little bit of The Beatles, David Bowie, and Pink Floyd. It sounds like a delicious throwback to the Classic Rock of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but updated. I love that there is nothing like this on the radio right now.


Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Harry Styles, a guy who most write off as a boy bander, single-handedly moves pop music away from electronic beats and toward real instruments with this classic rock sound? Please, music gods make this happen. We’ll get to hear another new song when he’s on Saturday Night Live this weekend. Then the countdown is on until the release of his debut album!


2. Zayn Malik

zayn malik by nabil #OnTheList with Xtine: Ranking The Solo Careers of One Direction

Zayn Malik / Nabil

Zayn Malik had the tough task of being the first to leave the band and faced the most amount of scrutiny. After hearing about his anxiety and “rules” he had to follow while in 1D, it seems he did what was best for him and you have to admire that. It was a huge gamble that has definitely paid off. Who knew he had such sexy R&B music in him?


“Pillow talk” debuted at #1 and surely quieted any worries he had about leaving the band. Now he has a hit with another bedroom playlist-worthy song with Taylor Swift. He may need some work on how he breaks up with girlfriends; text messages are unacceptable, but seems to be on the right musical path. He’s already cemented his status as a successful solo artist.


3. Niall Horan

neil horan getty 946 #OnTheList with Xtine: Ranking The Solo Careers of One Direction

One Direction\’s Niall Horan (Carrie Davenport/Getty Images)

Niall Horan is right in my musical wheelhouse: Irish singer-songwriter who plays guitar. I instantly fell in love with “This Town”; a sweet song about not being able to move on from someone you love. Judging by this one, he seems to be the most sensitive of the guys. I’m curious to hear where the rest of his debut album goes.

What will his more upbeat music sound like? I’m okay with just sweet sensitive songs. but apparently not everyone feels the same. He did say his debut album will be influenced by bands like Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles. That has me very anxious to hear his debut album.


4. Louis Tomlinson

louis tomlinson #OnTheList with Xtine: Ranking The Solo Careers of One Direction

(Mat Hayward/Getty Images)

Louis Tomlinson hooked up with Steve Aoki for his solo debut. This sounds more like what’s on the radio lately; an upbeat dance track. Since this was a collaboration, we still don’t have a clear idea of his voice as an artist. He cites Ed Sheeran, Green Day, and Robbie Williams as influences, which I don’t hear on “Just Hold On,” so maybe we’ll hear more of that on his debut album.


He did say he wanted to continue writing with Liam, so that will be interesting to hear. Right now he’s busy working with a girl group he’s put together, so we may have to wait awhile for his debut.


Your move, Liam Payne!

liam payne one direction #OnTheList with Xtine: Ranking The Solo Careers of One Direction

(RJ O\’Shaughnessy/Columbia Records)

Oh, look!

Liam Payne Announces New Single ‘Strip That Down’

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More #OnTheList with Xtine:



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