Pop Theory: One Direction’s ‘Best Song Ever’–An Ode to Fan Fiction?

Whatever your feelings are towards pop songs, you must admit that they are catchy.  But could there be more to the intoxicating melodies? Could “Hit Me Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears be a reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet? Is “Mmmbop” by Hanson criticizing society’s obsession with consumerism? Probably not, but for Pop Theory, we’ll examine some of the possible meanings  from today’s biggest pop songs. Is there something deeper beyond their repetition, simple lyrics and great beats? Who knows, but we hope so. Otherwise, how else will we justify our irrational love for them?

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For this Pop Theory, let’s find some meaning behind the song ‘Best Song Ever’ by One Direction.

Check out the song and lyrics below.

This song has infected my brain so much that I often wonder ‘but what does it all mean?’ And one day, after listening to the song for an obscene amount of times, I figured it out. ‘Best Song Ever’ is about fangirl culture, especially in terms of fan fiction. Fan fictions are major components of the 1D fandom. If you search “One Direction” on popular fan fiction sites like fanfiction.net, you’ll see thousands of  stories related to the band.  Besides that, several times on Twitter, One Direction fan fiction related topics have trended worldwide.

Not only is One Direction fan fiction a major part of their fans’ identity, but fan fiction is become  part of the pop culture mainstream. Several best-selling authors originated as fan fiction ones. Additionally, major publishing companies now stroll fan fiction sites looking for the next big thing. One 1D fan got offered her own book deal because of her work. Therefore, it’s not a completely crazy concept to think the boys understand how important fan fiction is to their fans, and play on that knowledge with ‘Best Song Ever.’

Here are a couple ways that I believe help prove that the song is an ode to fan fiction

#1. The Title

‘More Than This, ‘Not Your Typical Love Story,’ ‘Moments’ and ‘One Special Day.’ What do all these titles have in common? They are all titles of 1D fan fiction, but they also lack creativity.  Uncreative titles are common in general literature, but even more so in fiction created by fans. A popular lazy method by writers is to use songs as their stories’ titles.  Usually songs they consider the best ones ever. You get where I’m going here?

Not only is ‘Best Song Ever’ one of the simplest song titles I’ve heard, but it also could be a little bit of a tongue-in-cheek nod towards fan fiction authors using music titles to name their work. Additionally, the stereotype of young girl is that they say things that are over-exaggerations, like saying a song is the best one ever. Stereotypes that fan fiction authors often capitalize on.

#2. Lyrics

The storyline of the song is that some girl sneaks into a club (maybe a concert). Then she just happens to meet one of the band members, and they instantly fall in love. It’s all very magical and romantic. It is also the plot to many fan fictions involving bands. Not only that, it’s every girls fantasy when she’s crushing on a band, musical artist or even the occasional heterosexual broadway musical dude.  With a song titled ‘Best Song Ever,’ the plot of the song could be anything. However, they cleverly chose to make it the same tone as fan fiction, which seems highly deliberate, even if they’ve had other songs with similar themes.

#3. The Video

From my knowledge, there are basically two types of popular fan fiction. The most common one uses real life people, or already established characters, and puts them in an alternative universe. The second type creates their own characters but they list different actors that they would play these characters. This helps readers and fans visualize this world.

For the ‘Best Song Ever’ video, the guys pretend to be these wacky characters. Not unlike the type that would appear in fan fiction. The whole reason the boys meet their alternate universe selves is because they’re creating a movie.  The video is partially a cross promotion of their new song and their documentary, ‘This Is Us.’ However, the concept of the video, creating a fantasy world and characters, also nicely ties in with the idea that the song is  an ode to fan fiction.  The video, upon initial viewing, seems out of place with the song. Nevertheless, if you view the song as being part of the boys discussion about fan fiction, then the video works effortlessly. It’s through imagery  that the boys show how their fans create these weird, fantasy versions of them for their art.

The ‘Best Song Ever’ could be One Direction’s way of playing with the idea of their fans writing fan fiction about them. Or it could be a meaningless pop song, made to sell million of copies to teen girls who are obsessed with them. Chose your poison.

Watch the music video below, and then give your opinion on what the ‘Best Song Ever’ is really about.