It’s been nearly ten years since a wee 16-year-old Niall Horan shot to fame. He auditioned for the X-Factor back in 2010, performing Ne-Yo’s song “So Sick,” and nearly didn’t get through as Katy Perry liked his personality but she wasn’t too keen on his voice, she said: “Likeableness is not gonna sell records.”
Horan was later selected to be in a boy band formed through the X-Factor called One Direction, and they quickly became one of the most successful groups in the world. They toured the world until they parted ways in 2015. All have successful solo careers: Zayn branched out and explored R&B music, Harry released soft pop/rock music, Liam went down the hip-hop route, and Louis remained with pop music.
Now, the Mullingar native has released his second album, “Heartbreak Weather” with a pop/ folk genre. The album is full of catchy tunes and a clever concept – exploring breakups through the weather.
The golf-loving, pigeon-fearing star is stuck in two mindsets throughout the album, he both misses his lover and is trying to erase her from his memory. It contains both memorable anthems you want to sing along to as well as heartbreak ballads.
Horan had heavy involvement in writing the album, similar to his One Direction days. He co-wrote with Teddy Geiger, Tobias Jesso Jr., Greg Kurstin, Scott Harris, and Julian Bunetta, who regularly wrote for the band too.
The album contains some heavy-handed friskiness, the first single, “Nice To Meet Ya” contains the lyrics: “I’m gonna take you somewhere warm, you know j’adore la mer,” His sly cockiness in the upbeat tune makes it the perfect introduction song that blends 2000s rock with elements of R&B.
“Heartbreak Weather” is a swaggering song that displays the confidence of an 1980s pop hit. It definitely resembles the kind of song One Direction would have sung, but here, it provides Niall with a platform to display his own personality as a solo artist.
However, it’s not all upbeat, sing-along tunes, the mood regularly shifts throughout the album, symbolising that realistically, life can be like that too. “Arms of a Stranger” is about lost love, it is easy to imagine Horan singing this in an arena surrounded by swaying phone torches.
This album proves that he has experienced real growth since his One Direction days. The very personal breakup ballad “Put a Little Love on Me,” highlights his emptiness, and his powerful emotions. This song expresses the greatest anxieties “Do you hate the weekend/’Cause nobody’s calling?” The lyrics reach the listener with unexpected thoughtfulness. The vulnerability portrayed in his songwriting gives his soulful vocals a chance to shine in this song and on the moving “San Francisco.”
Just like his X-Factor days, Horan is still impossible to dislike, some people may think he’s cheesy, but it’s just his Irish charm. The record is real and raw; it proves that Horan didn’t forget about traditional Irish storytelling through music. He is a musician who wears his heart on his sleeve and h pratically oozes the Irish flag as he makes it on his own.
Image Credit: Album Cover