The 10 best One Direction songs, definitively ranked

Ten years ago, on July 23, 2010, Simon Cowell grouped five singing hopefuls together on "The X Factor U.K."

Those kids were One Direction. Although they came in third on the TV competition, they went on to achieve unimaginable success worldwide, selling out stadiums and scoring Top 10 hits including "Story of My Life," "Best Song Ever" and "Drag Me Down." But it wasn't all roses. In 2015, Zayn Malik abruptly left the group, and later that year, remaining members Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson announced they were going on hiatus.

"It's not goodbye, it's just, 'See you later," Payne told USA TODAY in 2015, ahead of the release of the band's fifth and last album "Made in the A.M." "It's like what Tigger used to say: 'Ta-ta for now.' "

With 1D's 10th anniversary this month, their loyal fans (also known as Directioners) are still crossing their fingers for a reunion as the guys enjoy successful solo careers. In the meantime, here are 10 of their best songs to celebrate the milestone.

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10. "Little White Lies" (from "Midnight Memories, 2013)

The closest 1D ever got to a dubstep song, making it a refreshing outlier in the band's pop-rock and folk-leaning catalog.

9. "Night Changes" (from "Four," 2014)

A smooth romantic ballad about growing up and growing old together. It was also the last music video featuring Malik before his departure, giving the lyrics sadly eerie resonance.

8. "History" (from "Made in the A.M.," 2015)

Whether you're a die-hard Directioner or first-time listener, it's impossible not to get nostalgic hearing this soulful ode to their brotherhood and time together, made all the more bittersweet by their decade anniversary.

7. "She's Not Afraid" (from "Take Me Home," 2012)

There are two things in this world we'll never understand: Someone being scared to fall in love with 1D, and why this punchy pop anthem was only a bonus track on the "Take Me Home" deluxe edition.

6. "Change Your Ticket" (from "Four," 2014)

Another bonus track that should've been a single, in which Payne oozes charisma as he takes lead on vocals.

5. "Long Way Down" (from "Made in the A.M.," 2015)

"Made in the A.M." featured some of the band's most mature songwriting, evident on this reflective song about the highs and lows of fame.

4. "Stockholm Syndrome" (from "Four," 2014)

Co-written by Styles, who shows his penchant for absurdity on this playfully suggestive track about being trapped in a relationship – and loving it.

3. "Perfect" (from "Made in the A.M.," 2015)

Styles has always been intentionally vague about whether "Perfect" was a retort to ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift's "1989," which has four songs vaguely referencing him. (Speculation is "always fun to see, but it's up to everybody's individual interpretation," Styles told USA TODAY in 2015.) Regardless, this '80s-inspired throwback is tailor-made for jamming in the car with the windows down.

2. "Once in a Lifetime" (from "Four," 2014)

Perhaps the most gorgeous song 1D ever released, this is a tender, almost wistful ballad that showcases all the guys' voices, particularly as they harmonize together on the haunting chorus.

1. "What Makes You Beautiful" (from "Up All Night," 2012)

Call us boring or basic for ranking this puppy-love anthem No. 1. But 1D's breakthrough hit is 3 minutes and 19 seconds of unadulterated joy, with its insanely catchy hook and endearingly earnest lyrics. The boys released their cheeky "Best Song Ever" in 2013, but we'd argue this is actually it.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: One Direction 10th anniversary: The group's 10 best songs, ranked