One Direction release their fourth album (entitled, err… 'Four') on Monday, but could it be their last?

Here are four indications that Directioners may be staging protests and sobbing into their pillows before long…

1) Hair today, gone tomorrow

The hair situation. Harry Styles has allowed his barnet to get out of control in recent times, but seeing Zayn Malik with a ponytail – a ponytail! – on X Factor last weekend took the biscuit. It actually looked like a hairdo that Adele has been seen rocking in the past. And let's not forget (those of us who are old enough to remember, that is) that this is how the cracks started to appear in Take That. One video, Howard Donald had what would pass for 'long-ish' hair. In the next one, he had dreadlocks. Dreadlocks. Within two years, Take That were over. Funky hair is clearly a sign of discontent within boybands. Just sayin'.

2) Zayn and Louis are fed up with being in a boyband.

There was the controversial weed smoking video 'leaked' earlier this year that threatened to overshadow their massive worldwide stadium tour, which also saw Zayn giving out about the uncool way that 1D's new book was being marketed. It seems like the 'bad boy' of 1D has outgrown the boyband thing. It's only a matter of time before he adds to his growing collection of tattoos by getting 'I AM NOT A PUPPET' inked on his forehead.

In more recent news, Louis went off on one at a UK journalist who suggested that his wearing of a rainbow-coloured Apple t-shirt was advocating gay rights. He insists that he's straight – and has a long-term girlfriend - but the creepy fan-fiction about him and Harry (Directioners call them 'Larry Stylinson' and fantasise about them being a couple) has dogged him since the band's early days. His recent outburst suggests his discontent remains very real.



3)They're all starting to hate each other.

Well, maybe 'hate' is a strong word, but there's certainly been rumours of various fractures within the band. It seems that Zayn and Louis get on well together, but Zayn was the only member of the group not to turn up at Louis' mum's wedding during the summer, which caused tension. On the other hand, Liam and Niall seem to get on well but don't really mix with the others outside of the tour, and Niall seems to spend more time tweeting about golf, hanging out with the band's personal trainer and keeping his nose relatively clean. Harry is a lone eagle, presumably swanning around posh hotels in Los Angeles, schmoozing with Pixie Geldof and Alexa Chung and generally enjoying his fame without the other four lads. Five very different personalities were brought together for a common goal – world domination - but now that they've achieved that goal, is there any need for them to even pretend to like each other anymore?


4) They've already been together four years – time's almost up. Solo careers beckon.

The average lifespan of a boyband is about three years before things start to go belly-up. One Direction have had a good run of it – and true, they still sell plenty of albums and even more tickets – but every band should bow out gracefully and leave their audience wanting more. The first member to go solo? You'd be a fool to bet against Harry Styles. It's only a matter of time, folks. Only a matter of time. Their 'On the Road Again' worldwide stadium tour (the second in two years? Can you say 'milking it'?) takes them up to next September. After that? Who knows…