Stalk the Line: One Direction, Fandom, and Self-Reflexivity in “One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)”

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Here’s something I never thought I would ever say: a One Direction song is brilliant. Yes, brilliant. I have been a bit of a naysayer about the band, more against their rabid, over-zealous, cultish fans than the band itself, but I have no choice to admit that one of their songs is a brilliant example of self-reflexivity of public image. Which track am I talking about? Technically, it’s not one of their original songs; it’s their cover of “One Way or Another/Teenage Kicks”, the former originally by Blondie and the latter by The Undertones. Whether or not this was a PR move or their own sly smarts, choosing the former song in particular, what can be described as a Stalker Anthem of sorts, and blending it with the angst and sensuality of the latter track makes for one of the most interesting tracks I’ve ever heard. Did I mention that the cover is actually pretty damn great?

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