As I discussed in a previous blog post on Middlesborough singer/songwriter, James Arthur, the X-Factor can sometimes provide genuinely talented musicians with a platform to get their music into the world. Another example of one of these artists is the boy band, One Direction. The pop boy band, initially made up of Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson,Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Niall Horan would go on to release five massively successful and popular albums and become one of the most popular groups in the world.
When One Direction announced their hiatus in 2016 it left the boys at a musical crossroads. Thankfully for their legions of fans, all the boys have managed to go on to carve out music careers in the aftermath of their life in the boy band.
So far, of all the members of the band, I have preferred the solo work of the Mullingar native, Niall Horan. September 2016 would bring the news that Horan had signed a solo contract with the Capitol Records label, and shortly after he would release his first single as a solo artist. This Town, a heartfelt song about a childhood love that was one of my favourite songs of that year. There’s nothing particularly special or groundbreaking about this single, but there is no denying the genuine and touching sentiment behind the song, the idea of how certain places will forever be connected with certain people in your head, regardless of how long you’ve been apart from them is particularly powerful. The song would go onto be commercially well received as well.
May 2017 would see the release of the second single by the Irish singer/songwriter, the fantastic Slow Hands. The funky guitar vibe and the low register vocal were well received by fans and critics alike, and the more risqué lyrics marked another step forward in the sound of Horan as he further tried to distance himself from the sound that he had been known for with One Direction.
On 20 October 2017, Niall Horan’s debut solo album would be released to the world.
Flicker would receive generally favourable reviews from critics and would chart very well.
As was said previously, there’s nothing about the music that Niall Horan creates that is particularly new or groundbreaking. But all the songs on his debut release are written with a care and a precision that is hard not to appreciate. There is a sense that we are finally getting a proper insight into the man from Mullingar, and it will be very interesting to see where he takes it from here.
“I know that it’s wrong that I can’t move on, but there’s something about you…”