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Breaking down the appeal of One Direction’s best video ever
If you thought One Direction had peaked, think again. The “Best Song Ever” video is their best one yet.
They sing (mostly “yeah yeah yeah” and “oh oh oh”). They dance (or at least, they manage more than five consecutive seconds of dance moves, which is pretty impressive for 1D). Also, there are some bizarre facial prosthetics involved. It’s more or less meaningless, but it’s also incredibly entertaining, and here’s why:
If you’re over the age of 18, then the only BSE you’re likely to remember is Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. But no, don’t worry, thousands of teenagers aren’t tweeting about mad cow disease, it just stands for Best Song Ever. And OK, objectively speaking, this may not actually be the Best Song Ever unless you’ve already accepted One Direction into your heart, but the video is pretty good. Everyone in the band dresses up in funny costumes and plays multiple characters, meaning that at one point you get to have two Harry Styles at once. A dream come true!
GIF by kneeyum
It looks like a summer camp skit
I showed the BSE video to my mother to get a viewpoint from the pre-Millennial generation. “Are all these costumes symbolic of the fact that One Direction have more than one dimension?” Nice guess, but no. I’m reasonably sure that 1D (or their handlers) just decided that it would be funny for them to dress up in wigs and old-person prosthetics, and play a bunch of cheesy comedy characters. How long before we get a Spice World: The Movie-style One Direction film? I can’t wait.
GIF by rraemm
Homage to boy band history
Compared to boy bands of the past, One Direction are seriously terrible at things like wearing matching outfits and performing synchronised dance routines. On the bright side, they’re awesome at homoerotic friendship and being adorable (the two other cornerstones of boy band success), so we’ll give them a pass.
GIF by liliceinwonderland
Luckily, the band seem 100 percent aware of this, so this video is full of old marketing guys (also played by One Direction) telling the boys to shape up their act and start wearing cute stage costumes instead of mooching around in skinny jeans and hoodies. And as for the whole dancing thing, well… the fans are in on the joke. Everyone knows 1D can’t dance, so it’s just heartwarming to see them try. “THEY HAD LIKE 5 NEW DANCE MOVES IN THERE,” exclaimed one fan on Tumblr, while another posted in apparent astonishment: “dude they were actually in sync”.
Zayn Malik in drag
Yes, they put one of the band members in drag, and it wasn’t weirdly sexist or homophobic. In fact, he plays it straight. So to speak.
GIF by harryniips
Zayn Malik, in the role of “Veronica”, is just as beautiful as a woman as he is as a man, prompting #LesbianForZayn to trend worldwide when the first video trailer was released. This has already spawned a new fanfic pairing: Haronica, since Harry Styles and Veronica were clearly flirting. Although as Tumblr user tuave pointed out, there may have been an ulterior motive for having “Veronica” be the only girl in the video:
“Im glad one direction finally realized that there cant be an actual girl in their videos without starting world war 3”
She has a point. Why would they include competition in their videos when they can just keep it in the family?
Photo via YouTube
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested.