He was one fifth of the world’s biggest boyband, but now Niall Horan has branched out from One Direction and released his debut solo album, Flicker. A far cry from One Direction’s signature pop anthems with upbeat tempos, Niall’s debut is a stripped back collection of acoustic songs, which showcase a side to him fans and critics were perhaps unaware of during his time in the band.
Last year Niall released his debut single “This Town”. As good a song as it is, admittedly it was slightly underwhelming in the sense that it was very familiar to One Direction’s signature acoustic love song, “Little Things”. It was Niall’s second single “Slow Hands”, released in May, that got fans and critics excited for the release of his album as it contained a quicker tempo, more mature lyrics and showed off his vocal range – something he rarely got the chance to prove before going solo.
The first track on the album, “On The Loose”, is one of the more upbeat songs on the album, and not a song fans would typically expect from Niall. With its catchy chorus and chilled vibe, this is one of the best songs on the album and guaranteed to be stuck in your head all day.
Another standout track on the album is Flicker’s third single “Too Much To Ask”. Niall’s vocals are at his best on this thought-provoking love song, as are his underrated songwriting skills, resulting in this song being very easy on the ears.
Other tracks on the album worth mentioning include “Seeing Blind”, “Fire Away” and “Since We’re Alone”. These are the tracks which best accentuate Niall’s polished talent at singing and excellent songwriting skills. He sings of love and heartbreak with such conviction matched with faultless vocals set to rival any of his former bandmates, despite not getting as many solos as them during his time in the band.
It is clearly evident that since One Direction went their separate ways, Niall Horan has done a lot of growing up and has honed his skills in singing and songwriting to an impressively high standard. Flicker will take many fans and critics aback, but for all of the right reasons. Mature, cool, chilled out, catchy and heart-rending are just some of the many terms that spring to mind when listening to this effortlessly brilliant album. He may not have been a frontrunner in One Direction but Flicker certainly proves that he is a star in his own right, and if this surprisingly good offering is anything to go by, Niall Horan has an incredibly bright and successful future ahead of him as a solo star.