One Directions’ Niall Horan recently released his debut solo album, Flicker. The Irish native was much involved with this album from songwriting to being a session musician.
The album starts with a rich guitar and drum beat as if you were on the run. I assume that this was his musical intentions because the track is title, “On the Loose.” Following that, you notice that this folky soft pop album is guitar oriented, as Horan plays the guitar. The albums sound is like a mixture of Bob Dylan and Vance Joy.
Flicker includes his chart topping singles, “This Town”, “Slow Hands”, and “Too Much To Ask.” All these songs are musically contrasting as most of the other tracks on the album. “This Town” is an acoustic song including a guitar, a piano and a hint of strings. “Slow Hands” instantly comes in with a drum kick, a heavy bass and an electric guitar. “Too Much To Ask” is piano based track that’s intimate and emotional.
Lyrically there’s a string that’s weaved throughout the entire album that revolves around the theme of one or more girls who have either broken his heart or made him feel different in a positive way.
With deep personal stories, you feel the emotional connection Horan has with each song. The album’s title track, “Flicker” is one of Horan’s most difficult and lyrical songs. “I’m afraid that what we had is gone, then I think of the start, and it echoes a spark.” Contemporary and, once again, guitar based, Horan takes you on a reminiscing journey. Stripped down and rooted it’s about how relationships can die, but when you think back to the beginning, when there were the unknown and exciting emotions, the flickering spark might still be there shining. You can only hope and pray it doesn’t fade away.
“Seeing Blind” the only duet track off this album which features the American female artist Maren Morris. Horan seems to enjoy the hard strike of a guitar because this song has a heavy beat with the subtle use of palm muting on the guitar. Throughout the song there’s a good use of the xylophone as well. On top of the instrumental choices there’s the precise pleasing harmonies. The two of them mesh well vocally making this song that more flattering.
Niall Horan’s solo career seems to be pretty bright from the large positive reaction after his album release. I think this album is really suitable for many occasions, like going for a drive after a breakup, outdoor camping with someone special or sitting alone in the night, making it relatable to many.
Horan is already touring the world with this album. Fans had so much faith in his music they sold out the whole tour. Needless to say, it may have been a good choice to branch out from One Direction for a little to sky rocket as high as a solo artist.