Review: Niall Horan’s debut solo album ‘Flicker’ shines bright

This cover image released by Capitol Records shows "Flicker," a new release by Niall Horan. (Capitol Records via AP)

This cover image released by Capitol Records shows "Flicker," a new release by Niall Horan. (Capitol Records via AP)

Since the split of boyband One Direction, Niall Horan has developed his own style as he has come into the role of singer/songwriter. Filled with warmth and soul, Horan’s debut solo album titled “Flicker” displays his talent that has really shone since the boyband split up. Based off the success of his singles “This Town,” “Slow Hands” and “Too Much To Ask,” which are all featured on the album, anyone could guess the album would be just as spectacular, and it is.

“It’s something that I’ve worked really hard on and I’m incredibly proud of it,” Horan said of the album on Twitter, "This is the first time I’ve put my thoughts and emotions on paper and then onto record and it feels really good.”

Horan, a 24-year-old from Mullingar, Ireland, made his fame on the X-Factor when he was put into a group of five other male contestants to create One Direction. Despite the extreme success and fan base of the band, they split in Dec. 2015.

Each member has gone on to create solo music with their own personal style. Niall has listed The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac as his inspirations, and this is shown through his folky sounding music.

As Horan sings “My shadow’s dancing / Without you for the first time” in “Too Much To Ask,” he shows he is moving on and ready to find his own voice apart from his bandmates.

The album features a mix of acoustic ballads such as “Paper Houses” and “You And Me”, and faster-paced sultry hits such as “On The Loose” and “Mirrors.” Many songs on the album sound slightly similar, but they all contain at least a little bit of their own unique flare. It’s clear that Niall’s smooth voice creates a soothing and pleasant-to-listen-to vibe that carries over throughout the entire album, no matter what tone the song carries.

The entire album has a sense of maturity that many One Direction songs lacked. The album offers a more real and personal look into Horan’s life, scratching deeper beyond the surface than most One Direction songs could. It is clear that Horan’s audience has expanded beyond mostly teenage girls and can now be appreciated by a larger crowd.

Niall Horan may not have necessarily been the “star” of One Direction, but through his solo career, Niall has shown that he carries a lot of the heart and soul. He has managed to create music that is sweet and romantic but not too sugary-sweet to be superficial. His duet with country singer Maren Morris, “Seeing Blind,” is a perfect example. It’s the kind of music that makes you feel all warm inside.

Personally, I was a huge fan of One Direction and have been anticipating Niall’s album since the release of his first single. My only complaint about the album is that it feels a little too safe to me and actually kind of reminds me of One Direction’s more recent albums. I would like to see Niall branch out a little more in the future.

While Zayn Malik has followed a R&B path and Harry Styles has taken a more alternative rock route. Niall has stayed with a more mainstream pop sound. It works for him, don’t get me wrong, but I’d like to see him expand his boundaries a little for future work. For now, “Flicker” is a great start.

Rating: 4/5


Melissa Scrivani is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at melissa.scrivani@uconn.edu.