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Faith in the Future: Louis Tomlinson expands his sound with sophomore album

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

After almost three years of waiting, Louis Tomlinson’s second studio album is finally here! Faith in the Future was released last Friday, so I’ve obviously had it on repeat all week.

A record about love, loss, and hope, Faith in the Future reflects the rawness of the emotional journey that it articulates. It purposely lacks the polish and clean arch that stands out in Walls, Tomlinson’s debut solo album. It’s more deconstructed and full of unrefined energy — an album that was crafted for the adrenaline rush of live music, as Louis told Rolling Stone.

Rooted in early 2000s sound, Faith in the Future radiates nostalgic, coming-of-age energy. Over the course of the album, Tomlinson explores an array of genres, sifting through indie-rock with “Silver Tongues” and “Bigger Than Me,” pop-punk with “Out of My System” and “Face the Music,” and even some experimental electric synth beats with “She is Beauty We Are World Class”.

You can watch the music videos for “Silver Tongues,” “Out Of My System,” and “Bigger Than Me” here

The album is encapsulating Tomlinson’s musical journey, with pop ballads that are ever slightly reminiscent of the One Direction days, the revival of the dance sound that started his solo career, and this new grittier sound that he has played around with in the past, but not fully dipped into until now. 

The record speaks loudly to Tomlinson’s versatility. What The Guardian calls “mimicry,” I call range. While some artists might struggle to exhibit a clear identity with such a varied sound in one project, Tomlinson manages to balance anthemic energy and intimacy, melancholy and optimism in perfect tandem. He wraps the diverse sonics together through thematically grounded lyricism, with his unique, soft, raspy voice and signature accent serving as the bow on top. 

After distancing himself and his sound from the pop-y One Direction identity box he’s been put in and kept in for years, it’s clear Tomlinson isn’t looking to be put into another one. No one is ever just one thing, and that’s the point that Tomlinson is making with this record. He found his voice by embracing his artistic range and sounds comfortable and confident in it.

No doubt Tomlinson finds his influences in 90s and 00s indie/alt-rock, with bands such as Oasis, the Kooks, and Arctic Monkeys, and I’m here for it! Both “Y2K” and the 90s have been revived in various trends as of late, and Faith in the Future serves as an indie, more alternative addition to that movement within the music scene. It’s revitalizing, and a unique breath of fresh air in my Spotify.

If you were a fan of One Direction, you probably know that Tomlinson was the most active songwriter in the band, writing 38 of the band’s songs. With 12 of the 18 songs on Midnight Memories being his, Tomlinson is largely credited for shaping One Direction’s sound, moving it in the rockier direction that really popped off with fans. Some of the band’s most loved (and perfectly unhinged) bangers were written by him, so chances are, you have Tomlinson to thank for your favourite 1D song.

Tomlinson’s talent for songwriting really shines through on this record with his strong imagery and pensive lyricism. He has a way of speaking directly to you through his lyrics. They’re intimate and relatable. They both tug at your heartstrings and offer reassurance.

And lastly, I’m calling it now: I would not be surprised if “Written All Over Your Face” becomes a TikTok song/trend (much to Louis’ irritation, I’m sure, as he’s expressed his dislike for the app on multiple occasions), or at least serve as a breakout song that introduces Louis to an even wider audience. With its catchy lyrics, whiny vocals, and edgy punk-pop dance sound, I’ve already seen videos popping up on my and my roommates’ For-You pages, like this one here.

So, Faith in the Future upholds its name: Louis Tomlinson has reintroduced himself to the music scene, more confident than ever, and I’m excited to see where he takes it from here. Tomlinson’s faith in the future is well-grounded. Now that he’s taken another step towards redefining his sound and identity as an artist, there is only more momentum and growth coming his way. 

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Sarah Malina

Carleton '23

4th-year Journalism and Political Science student at Carleton University.