And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #249: Louis Walsh v The New Yoko

By | Published on Friday 27 March 2015

Earlier this week Zayn Malik left One Direction. Yeah, I know, they kept that one quiet didn’t they? But yes, after five years, he’d had enough and just wanted to be “a normal 22 year old”.

One Direction

It seems fair enough, really. He stuck it out for five years, and often seemed to receive harsher press scrutiny than most of his bandmates. For example, after Malik failed to show up for an interview on ‘The Today Show’ last November, seemingly because of illness, host Matt Lauer launched straight in by asking the other 1Ders if Malik was suffering from drug addiction.

Last week there was another absence, when Malik dropped out of the group’s ongoing Asian tour due to stress, at least in part brought on by new claims that he had been cheating on fiancĂ©e Perrie Edwards.

His statement alluded to a desire to “have some private time out of the spotlight”, the latest chatter about his private life probably the final straw after five years of constant scrutiny, gossiping and judging, all occurring whilst he and his bandmates ploughed on with a manic schedule of recording, promoting and touring, providing very little time for reflection. And however much money and adoration pop stardom may provide, many will reach a point where they decide enough is enough. And Zayn reached that point this week,

“But what’s the back story”, people like to splutter. And many in the 1D fanbase did indeed splutter such a thought. And them not being especially renowned for their measured thinking, especially when it comes to 1D members’ girlfriends, many fans immediately blamed the aforementioned Edwards for his departure. She must have forced him into it, they said. It’s totally unfair that she hasn’t left Little Mix too, they added. She is clearly The New Yoko.

Now, what we need here is someone with insider knowledge, who can talk freely about the pressures of fame to which the fans routinely contribute but largely never see. Someone who can point out that no one would take a decision of this kind lightly, and who can stress that ultimately it is a decision for the departing bandmate to make for himself. Someone like Louis Walsh, who has seen One Direction’s career bloom right from the start.

“What I found in the past is as things get on, and as they get girlfriends, the girlfriends are whispering things in their ears and saying like ‘You should be a solo star’, ‘You should be the lead singer’ – that’s usually the problem”, Walsh told Irish radio station RTE Radio One this week. Oh, good work Louis. He went on: “The first few years are usually great and then people always want to be the solo star”.

Now, it’s possible Walsh is really thinking of Ronan Keating here, whom he managed out of Boyzone and into a solo career, before an acrimonious split from the singer. Stop projecting your feelings about Ronan onto Zayn, Louis.

Backtracking slightly, Walsh went on to admit that being the public face of a boyband operation might not be as much fun as it sounds, saying: “I have heard the rumours for the last few weeks that everything wasn’t happy in paradise. The problem with these guys is they’ve been in a bubble for the last five years, pressure, working, a lot harder than people think, so something had to give. So Zayn was the first person just to crack up a little bit”.

He added: “He’s had an amazing time with the other guys. That’s the good side of it. The dark side of it is all the travelling, the airports, in a bubble, not really seeing real life”.

So, he admits that there is a “dark side” to this pop business thing, and that “seeing real life” might be something Malik is actually craving just now. Which doesn’t really tally with the “girlfriend wants him to go solo” angle really, does it? I mean, I’m not saying Zayn won’t go solo. Offers will flood in, and he might realise that singing pop songs is the only thing he’s really qualified to do. But that doesn’t automatically mean solo stardom is any motivating factor for this week’s decision.

Is it really reasonable to claim that Malik might have quit the band because he – shock horror – has a girlfriend with opinions? No.

Is Perrie Edwards the “new Yoko”? Well, I’m not sure Yoko Ono was even the “old Yoko”. People just sometimes decide they don’t want to do something anymore, even though to the outsider it looks like that thing must be the greatest thing in the world.

And if Malik got angry about the constant uninformed commentary on his life, well his wife-to-be being branded “the new Yoko” is probably justification for his anger. Five years is a long time to be in a boyband. And 22 is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. Louis Walsh is probably not a man whose insight should always, if ever, be taken at face value.

But what do One Direction fans think. Well, let’s go over to Twitter and take a look…

“I HAAAAATE Louis Walsh. He tried to derail them every week on ‘X-Factor’ and now is sparking Yoko theories?”

That’s smart thinking. Well done 1D fans everywhere. And what else?

“The only one who speaks the fucking truth is Louis Walsh. DID Y’ALL HEAR WHAT HE SAID? NO LIE. HE DEADASS SAID WE GOT YOKO’ED BY PERRIE”

Oh well.