The One Direction alumni, Niall Horan, gets back in the headlines again today. His first debut album, Flicker, was just released today. The 24 year old singer first got his start on the British singing show, the X Factor, after being put in the boyband, One Direction. The band went in hiatus back in 2016 and have been in hiding ever since. Separately, each boy has done their amount of solo work, with Harry Styles just releasing his album a few months ago and making his debut in film with the movie Dunkirk. Now it’s Niall’s turn. He’s been teasing fans with singles for almost a year and now we finally get to hear what solo Niall sounds like. He’s had a lot of dedication on the album, “I’ve spent the last year and a half writing and recording this album. It’s something that I’ve worked really hard on and I’m incredibly proud of it. This is the first time I’ve put my thoughts and emotions on paper and then onto record and it feels really good,” he wrote last night right before the album dropped at midnight. Let’s look deeper into the album and give a short play-by-play of each track so you’re prepared to listen to the album on repeat.
1. On The Loose
‘On The Loose’ is one of my favorites. It’s upbeat and a good start to the beginning of the album. It’s catchy and you’ll have it stuck in your head singing it all day. Horan’s vocals are on point, as usual, as he sings about a wild and dangerous girl he’s getting caught up with and who is coming for him. “‘On the Loose’ is definitely on the album, it’s probably my favorite track,” Horan had stated in an Australian interview.
2. This Town
‘This Town’ was Horan’s first solo single that was released mid last year after One Direction had announced their hiatus. It’s a slow and sad guitar song about a lover that is no longer around. Throughout the song he reminisces bitter sweetly about their old encounters. It’s a song about a lover moving on, but him not being entirely moved on from them. It got a lot of hype last year and was tying us over until we got the album. It’s a classic from him and clearly holds a very deep meaning since it was his first solo single.
3. Seeing Blind
‘Seeing Blind’ is a collaboration between Horan and Maren Morris, a country singer who will be his opening act on his upcoming tour. The duet between Horan and Morris definitely has the country feel to it. Perhaps this means Horan might go on to test the waters in the country genre, he’s got the country vibe and voice to do it. This just goes to show that there’s few things that Horan can’t do.
4. Slow Hands
‘Slow Hands’ was the second single off of the Flicker album. It was released earlier this year prolonging our waiting for the album. ‘Slow Hands’ shows a edgier side to Horan, giving out classic rock vibes that he credits some of his inspiration to. It’s different from the rest of the album, giving a very heavier bass than seen throughout the rest of the album.
5. Too Much To Ask
‘Too Much To Ask’ was released just last month. It’s a slow and regretful song about a lover leaving him, but he still wants her back. It shows the deep regret of losing her and hoping that one day she’ll come back to him. It echoes the whole theme of Flicker, being lost love. It’s a nice way to slow things down.
6. Paper Houses
‘Paper Houses’ is about a relationship that’s built up on really unbelievable expectations that will eventually result in the downfall of the relationship. It expresses the feelings of remorse of placing these unrealistic goals on love.
7. Since We’re Alone
‘Since We’re Alone’ is a more laid back, but upbeat song about trying to get someone to fall in love with you and trust you. “I love you best when you’re just yourself,” the lyrics in the song are sweet and lighthearted. I think this will be a quick fan favorite. It’s fun, catchy, and has incredible lyrics.
‘Flicker’ is the title track of the album. It gives the perspective of a lover that left without his lover. They’re separate and as the song says, “flicker of hope,” the lover is hoping for the best and hoping that his lover won’t leave him. The theme is similar to Too Much To Ask, there’s more hope in that the lover will return in this track, though. It’s a nice slow song that has wonderfully relaxing vocals that anyone can be soothed with.
9. Fire Away
‘Fire Away,’ instead of keeping up with the lost love theme and being sad, is more being supportive of your lover. The track is a nice change of tone mid album. It’s him saying that no matter what they go through, that everything will be okay. Even if he doesn’t understand what’s going on in their relationship, he’s always open to work on things and talk to her whenever to try to fix things out.
10. You and Me
‘You and Me’ is another slow, but upbeat song that is from the perspective of a boy with life that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to be in a relationship or be able to love. He’s trying to make his lover realize that everything he does, he does it for them and for their relationship. This could be written about Horan’s own life in his perspective. Since 2010 when One Direction formed, none of the boys have had much of a break throughout their hectic lifestyle. Preforming at sellout arenas every night, making a new album every year, going on tour all over the world. The life could be seen as being selfish, only thinking of themselves, but deep down he’s doing it to make a better life for him and his loved ones. Although time might not be on their side, because with tour comings being in different time zones and different worlds all together, he’s willing to work things out and make the best of what they’ve been given.
11. On My Own
‘On My Own’ is a fun song for all the people who like being alone. While everyone around Horan has always been in relationships, especially in the band, Horan is perfectly fine with being by himself. In fact, he prefers being alone as oppose to a relationship. This song mirrors his in real life relationships. He’s had the fewer public relationships out of everyone around him. So this is a feeling of just wanting to be alone.
‘Mirrors’ is unlike the rest of the songs, this shows the perspective of a woman, probably a young girl, who is struggling with personal things that no one but herself knows about. She wants to feel love and she’s struggling with the fact that she feels all alone. Halfway through the song, she found someone to love. “As he walks away, she slowly breaks a smile. The skies are blue, haven’t been for a while,” she’s having more hope of possibly this man being someone she’ll be able to love and who will be able to love her in return.
13. The Tide
‘The Tide’ talks about a relationship and the struggles the two people are going through. When the high tides come in on beaches, they tend to take things back out with them, the main protagonist is trying to plea to his lover to not let him go. He doesn’t want the lover to give up on their love.
I think this is a very good start to Niall’s solo career. It’s a very promising album with several catchy tunes that most will love. It’ll make a big wave in the music charts, not to mention his very loyal fans who have been waiting almost two years without any albums from him. This is just the beginning of Niall’s solo career, but perhaps we’ll get a One Direction reunion in the future sometime. For now, Niall has left us with a refreshing update in his life with the work of art that is Flicker. Lucky for us, Niall is touring next year. Tickets have already went on sale a few weeks ago, Niall will be coming July 18 to The Cynthia Woods Michell Pavilion, if you’re hoping to get tickets to see him preform tracks off of Flicker, you better act fast. Tickets tend to sell out fast for the One Direction boys, due to their very loyal fans.