Niall Horan - 'Flicker'
A powerful debut that will show the world that Niall Horan can - and will - succeed as a solo artist.
ORIGINALITY7.2
LYRICS8.2
REPLAY VALUE8.8
INSTRUMENTATION6.5
IMPACT6.6
We liked..
  • Being hit in the feels with those damn pop ballads.
  • The unexpected country songs.
  • That Maren Morris feature.
We didn't like...
  • Some tracks lacked in power.
7.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
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Coming from one of the world’s biggest boy bands, it’s safe to say that Niall Horan could’ve released just about anything and still ended up in the charts.

It was hard to say which way this album was going to go. While his debut solo single This Town left us with so many feels that we didn’t know what to do with them, Slow Hands had us dancing those feels away. Nobody was sure what to expect.

So it was a pleasant surprise when the rest of the album was as good in quality as these two tracks.

The album is packed full of pop ballads like Too Much To Ask that will have you nursing your broken heart, even if you don’t have one.

Despite this, there are a few upbeat tracks like On My Own that make you want to, in Niall’s own words, ‘drink ‘til its empty, stay up ‘til its late.’

It’s a good balance, which highlights Niall’s talent perfectly.

While Niall may not have stepped as far away from One Direction’s style as his ex band mate Zayn Malik did (tracks like Since We’re Alone would not have sounded out of place on 1D’s Four,) it is quite clear that this is the sound that Niall was made for.

His voice knits in perfectly with the simplistic backing tracks on songs like Since We’re Alone and it’s almost impossible not to tap your foot or bob your head along. Flicker is the definition of easy listening.

The tracks may be simple, but this does not take away from the quality of them. Songs like Fire Away would make the hardest of hearts fall for Niall’s Irish charm, listening to it is almost like him personally taking you out for dinner and serenading you.

Parts of the album are not hard to imagine on an established country singer’s record. You and Me has all the qualities of a great country song, a deep brooding accent, simple repetitive guitar and the word ‘darling.’

A feature from Maren Morris reinforces this point.

Seeing Blind is a duet that I never knew I needed until I was repeating it on Spotify at full blast and howling along to it. If country music is the way that Niall Horan wants to go, then he has my full support, because he is doing an incredible job at it.

Niall with a guitar

Dominic Chan / WENN

A few of the tracks seem a little like filler tracks. Paper Houses, for example, lacks the same power that is seem elsewhere in the album. It is a song that takes a while to build up, and then when it does it is still one of the weaker parts of the album.

The stand-out track, for me, is on the deluxe edition of the album, The Tide.

The Tide blasts away any theories that Niall’s vocals are lacking, if One Direction had showcased his talent like this, they may have been even bigger (if possible…)

With a chorus that makes you want to scream and a beat that instils a sense of urgency, I for one am ready to start a petition that Niall has this on his tour setlist.

Forget any preconceptions you may have of Niall Horan and check the album out for yourself, you may be surprised.

Find Flicker here:

Featured Image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04cxn74

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