New direction

New direction
(L-R) In this file picture taken on November 23, 2014, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, and Harry Styles of the musical group One Direction attend the 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California.

When Zayn Malik announced he was leaving One Direction on March 25, you would've thought Armageddon was upon us.

Fans openly wept.

The Twitterverse went insane with heartbroken teens begging the 22-year-old to return to this generation's biggest boy band.

And predictably, people rushed to cash in.

American diner chain Denny's tweeted a cheeky offer to let Directioners drown their sorrows in comfort food.

Madame Tussauds London even had a full-time "tissue attendant" to console visitors examining the UK group's popular wax figurines at the museum.

Not being a Directioner, I don't fully understand the hype.

I've lived through the break-up of plenty of bands in my time - Oasis, Rage Against The Machine and The Spice Girls - and I've never shed a tear.

If anything, history has taught us that bands, like civilisations, must rise and fall to give way to new ones.

And let's not forget that One Direction hasn't officially broken up; they're just missing one member.

Louis Tomlinson, 23, Liam Payne, 21, Harry Styles, 21, and Niall Horan, 21, are still in it to win it.

The lads have vowed to soldier on without Malik, as a foursome, continuing their On The Road Again worldwide tour and putting out their fifth album later this year.

"It's been a tough few weeks, probably the toughest since the band was formed five years ago," Payne admitted in One Direction's first official post-Malik interview with The Sun.

"We're gutted that Zayn chose to leave, but now after a few performances as a four piece, we're feeling confident and are determined to carry on stronger than ever."

Tomlinson added: "All four of us are 100 per cent committed to staying in One Direction, and we want to thank the fans for being so incredible during this time. We have so much more we still want to achieve."

Of course, the 1D dynamic will inevitably change.

Malik was the mysterious one in the group, the soulful one who didn't speak much and mostly let his talent (and tattoos) do the talking.

NEWFOUND FREEDOM

His newfound freedom seems to suit him. He has already declared he has never felt more in control of his life since leaving.

And even before Directioners have had time to catch their breaths, Malik is busy preparing to launch his solo career.

He has been recording tunes with English DJ-producer Naughty Boy, who posted a teaser of Malik's song I Won't Mind online last week.

The stripped-down ballad features him crooning to the sounds of an acoustic guitar.

While the song isn't bad, fan reactions have been mixed, since many of them are still feeling betrayed.

Just ask the 50,000 people who unfollowed Malik on Twitter after I Won't Mind's unofficial release.

This doesn't bode well, but help is on the way. Word has it that English singer Robbie Williams is reaching out to Malik to advise him on his career.

Apparently, Elton John did the same for Williams when the latter left Take That in 1995, and Williams has sold more than 77 million records since.

Malik could do a lot worse.

So while the dust settles from the storm, let's remind ourselves that music, like life, is always evolving.

One Direction will carry on for the moment, Malik will make the sort of music he likes and the world will go on.

And if you're still grieving, there's always comfort food.

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