The Ultimate One Direction Playlist for Dads

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Want to get your dad into 1D without telling him that he’s listening to a boy band? Here’s how to turn pops into a Directioner.

Say you’re a One Direction fan, like we are over here at Billboard. You talk about them with your friends, debate Zayn vs. Harry with your older sister, and sing along to “Story of My Life” in the car with your mom. Then, you try to convince your dad to check them out while sitting down to a family dinner — and he almost chokes on his pot roast before scoffing at the suggestion.

“One Direction?!” he snorts. “They’re that boy band, right? I like rock music. I like Springsteen, Zeppelin, and other bands that dads like. You can keep your One Direction, child!”

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Here’s the thing, though: the lads of 1D have been making rock-influenced music for a while now, and they’ve done a pretty great job of it. The group’s new album, Four, directs them even further away from their bubblegum beginnings while synthesizing the arena-rock titans of the two decades prior to the members’ births. If your dad could just listen to One Direction and their guitar-driven 70’s and 80’s influences, without his anti-pop prejudices or the prior knowledge that he’s digesting a world-conquering boy band… he’d probably be pretty into some of the tunes, right? Well, it’s time to find out with the One Direction Playlist for Unassuming Dads.

Have your dad listen to the 12 songs below and stick closely to our suggested quotes for each one, while keenly avoiding naming the artist behind the tracks. We’ve even provided a rock reference point for each song, for an easy off-the-cuff comparison!

1. Best Song Ever

Rock Doppelgänger: The Who, “Baba O’ Riley”

What To Tell Your Dad: “Hey dad, check out this just-discovered B-side from Who’s Next! The Who sure sound young here, don’t they?”

2. Midnight Memories

Rock Doppelgänger: Def Leppard, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”

What To Tell Your Dad: “I’ve been listening to a lot of 80’s metal lately, dad. I forget the name of this band, but listen to this song — I’m pretty sure it was on the last Guitar Hero soundtrack!”

3. Story of My Life

Rock Doppelgänger: Mumford & Sons, “I Will Wait”

What To Tell Your Dad: “So there’s this hot new group at the heart of the folk revival, and this song blew up radio late last year. Very inspirational, and very rustic, stuff here.”

4. Live While We’re Young

Rock Doppelgänger: The Clash, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”

What To Tell Your Dad: “What do you mean, this isn’t a long-lost Clash song? Did you hear that opening riff?!”

5. Diana

Rock Doppelgänger: Don Henley, “The Boys of Summer”

What To Tell Your Dad: “They simply don’t make pop-rock music this tight anymore, dad. The percussion on the back half of the bridge? Phew. Whoever these 80’s revivalists are, they sure are impressive.”

6. Little Black Dress

Rock Doppelgänger: The Shins, “So Says I”

What To Tell Your Dad: “You know, dad, I’ve never been a big garage-rock fan, but this indie band — I forget their name — really nails the melodies here. Horns up!”

7. Steal My Girl

Rock Doppelgänger: Journey, “Faithfully”

What To Tell Your Dad: “This song deserves to be played in arenas, or even stadiums, dad! Check it out, and try not imagining yourself holding up a lighter and swaying side to side during the chorus.”

8. Little Things

Rock Doppelgänger: John Mayer, “Daughters”

What To Tell Your Dad: “I heard that this song was co-written by Ed Sheeran — you remember him, dad, he was that charming redheaded kid at the Grammy awards — but it has more of that sensitive acoustic vibe of a John Mayer track to me.”
9. Summer Love

Rock Doppelgänger: Dobie Gray, “Drift Away”

What To Tell Your Dad: “Since you’re such a huge fan of soft rock, dad, I figured you’d appreciate this one. Hey, maybe Uncle Kracker will remake it someday!”

10. One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)

Rock Doppelgänger: Blondie, “One Way Or Another” & The Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks” (duh)

What To Tell Your Dad: “Some geniuses mashed up two of your favorite songs, dad! And it’s for charity! Pretty cool, huh? What? No, I don’t remember the name of the group, just check it out!”

11. Better Than Words

Rock Doppelgänger: Cheap Trick, “I Want You To Want Me”

What To Tell Your Dad: “The lyrics in this song are a little suggestive, dad. Just don’t blast it around my little brother, you know?”

12. What Makes You Beautiful

Rock Doppelgänger: N/A

What To Tell Your Dad: “Dad, I know you don’t like pop music, but seriously, check this song out, it’s pretty perfect.”

So how successful was our One Direction playlist in convincing your dad to love the group? Is he pre-ordering Four now? Can he spell Niall’s first name? Sound off in the comments section.