The Irish-born former One Direction singer Niall Horan recently dropped his solo debut album ‘Flicker’ through Neon Haze Music and Capitol Records. According to Billboard, the album is on track to peak at No. 1 on this week’s Billboard 200 chart, and I foresee that coming.
What can I say, he’s done it. While other ex-One Directioners’ solo careers are seemingly picking up with high speed, Horan’s debut album is bound to put his name out there. ‘Flicker’ is a cohesive, mature and well-thought-out collection of songs about love and infatuation. That is timely, since we are currently in the midst of the cuffing season, when the weather’s getting colder day by day, therefore making us long for that certain someone to stay warm with.
The title track ‘Flicker’ contains lyrics that might hit home for people who, for some unexplainable reason, cannot be with someone who means the world to them. The melody is calm and peaceful, letting the words speak for themselves: “Then I think of the start/ And it echoes a spark/ And I remember the magic electricity/ Then I look in my heart/ There’s a light in the dark/ Still a flicker of hope that you first gave to me/ That I wanna keep/ Please don’t leave.”
On the Beats 1 Radio show interview in September, Horan said that ‘Flicker’ meant the most to him and “was a very poignant moment in the recording process,” to the extent that “it changed the way I recorded the rest of the album.”
The 24-year-old stripped down the sound of his solo album, filling it with solid instrumental accompaniment, as well as his own guitar work. Horan took it back to the basics, with none of that distracting and often irritating, machine-produced beat that fills our radio speakers nowadays.
Horan wrote several songs for the album, including ‘This Town’ and ‘Too Much to Ask.’ The lyrics are heartfelt, honest and most of all, they make sense. You can relate to them. While most of his 13 songs are relaxed and mellow, ‘On My Own’ abruptly picks up the beat; it’s not happy-go-lucky, but it is subtly optimistic. ‘The Tide’ also has a fast-paced chorus, which made me want to go on a run, somewhere by the ocean. Let’s hope that that will happen in the near future to all of us.
This album is perfect to wind down to at the end of a long day. It’s not your typical sound produced by a big-shot pop artist. It has soul, and heart and grit, and if I dare say so, it’s rather old-school, which is refreshing.