Is this a One Direction reference in Zayn’s new music video?

Some things just can’t be unseen, and ever since Teen Vogue pointed out this One Direction reference in Zayn‘s new “BeFoUr” music video, we can’t stop thinking about it.

Both the video and Zayn’s new album dropped on the anniversary of the day he left One Direction, so it’s kind of impossible to not have any feels. Making things even more complicated is how the “BeFoUr” video seems to be a direct reference to the video for One Direction’s “Midnight Memories,” but seen in a completely different light. Here’s “BeFoUr”:

And here’s “Midnight Memories”:

Let’s break it down. First, part of each video is set in a take-out restaurant:



And they’re both just hanging out with friends, making their own party all over the city:



However, Zayn’s take on this theme in “BeFoUr” is noticeably darker. We don’t know if this was purposefully to distance himself from his work with One Direction, but it definitely shows a side of him we’ve never seen before.

Even the lyrics are somewhat reminiscent of each other, both talking about outgrowing a past life and learning from mistakes. “Midnight Memories” proclaims:

Compare that with Zayn’s lyrics in “BeFoUr,” which declare:

And later, “Time for me to move up/So many hours have gone.”

While the two music videos debuted over a year apart, they dovetail together nicely. Zayn seems to be calling back to that time in his life, showing how he’s moved on from One Direction and how he was ready to grow into this awesome new artist. (And also grow out his new beard.)

We’re not sure if it’s a One Direction reference or not — or how many other tidbits of his One Direction past are hidden in his new album — but we’re willing to listen to it over and over again to find out.