Is One Direction’s "History" Music Video About Zayn Malik? They Do All Have A Lot Of History

It’s another banner day in the world of One Direction fans. On Tuesday, rOne Direction released the video for “History,” the latest single off their hit album Made in the A.M., and it turned out to be a touching tribute to the band’s… well, history. And, as if a new One Direction video weren’t reason enough to celebrate, the band seemed to pay tribute to each other and their fans with the video that poignantly celebrates their past, all the way back to the very beginning. But of course a big part of their past — the pink elephant in the One Direction room — is the member that is no longer apart of the group: Zayn Malik. So, to write a song called “History” that is largely about a relationship that has changed over time may have many people wondering: Is One Direction’s "History" video about Zayn Malik?

Luckily for us, this question is actually pretty easy to answer. The guys have actually spoken out about this speculation, anticipating the eager interpretations in the wake of the video of One Direction fans everywhere. The video, by the way, features a number of clips of Malik from when he was still apart of the band. In an exclusive interview with EW, Tomlinson said that it is only natural for people to read into the song that it is about Malik. “But actually,” Tomlinson says, “conceptually, ‘History’ is more about the relationship as a whole, you know? As a band. We’ve all been through this together and we’ll never forget it but also we’ve been in this relationship with the fans and that’s … that’s kind of as far as it goes.”

And, watching the video, that meaning becomes even more clear.

The whole video reads like a scrapbook, really. A three minute and 15 second scrapbook of their history as a band, from the opening frame of the five of them on the X Factor stage in 2010 to the last frame featuring fans going crazy for their performances. And, yes, of course there’s some Malik in there. If the video is about the band as a whole, Malik was definitely a huge chapter of that. But, ultimately, it seems to me like it’s the opposite of some jabby drama. They’re honoring his place in their history and his time in the band by including him in this touching music video.

Really, the video is a tribute to the band’s fans, and that becomes clear in the final scenes. Front and center is not the band themselves but the people who made the band who they are: The concert-goers, the record-buyers, and the people who have supported them from the start.

And you gotta love those boys for avoiding the negative and focusing on what really has made their band what it is.