Earlier this year I did a review of Ed Sheeran’s album Divide, which I really enjoyed writing. In fact, I loved it so much that I’ve decided to write another album review! This time, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Niall Horan’s debut album, Flicker. I’ve listened to the album about twenty times now, and am excited to share it with you all! In many ways, Flicker reminds me of Divide since both Niall Horan and Ed Sheeran have a combination of heartbreaking, upbeat, and fun songs on their albums So sit back, relax, and enjoy listening to the thirteen songs off of Flicker.
1. “On the Loose”
She’ll dance in the dark
A real work of art
Her eyes could burn down the room
So get out while you can
You don’t understand
She doesn’t know how to lose
I like this song because it’s extremely upbeat and catchy although the lyrics are not. In the song, Niall tells a story about a girl who loves to flirt with every guy, but ends up leaving them for someone else. However, I find myself forgetting this when listening to the song, since the rhythm is so upbeat. The tune is also quite unique; I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song that sounds like this one.
2. “This Town”
And I want to tell you everything
The words I never got to say the first time around
And I remember everything
From when we were the children playing in this fairground
Wish I was there with you now
Niall released this song as a single about a year ago, but it still tugs at my heartstrings. The lyrics are written in a way that perfectly express how Niall is feeling, yet also leaves people with questions about the relationship he’s talking about. It’s one of those songs that has me missing the boyfriend I’ve never had; it’s humorous and amazing that a simple song can make me feel this way.
3. “Seeing Blind” ft. Maren Morris
I was young, my heart was always on the run
But you make lovin’ fun
I never knew it could be
Hey, I see you from a different point of view
I feel it’s too good to be true
I found my missing piece
I was surprised I enjoyed this song so much when I first heard it, because it definitely fits under the country category. In general I don’t like country music, but this song is an exception. The song talks about unexpectedly falling in love with someone, and how the experience is so eye-opening. Along with this, the rhyming in it is smooth and the positivity radiating from both Niall and Maren’s voices makes me smile. I also think their singing voices blend well together, and make the overall song very appealing and fun to listen to!
4. “Slow Hands”
Fingertips putting on a show
Got me now and I can’t say “No”
Wanna be with you all alone
Take me home, take me home
Okay, I admittedly don’t like this song very much. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but when it comes on the radio I can’t say that I turn up the volume and sing along. I think the lyrics are a little awkward, but I do think the beat is somewhat catchy. I guess I just don’t think this is Niall’s best song lyrically– some of his other songs are much more mature and creative.
5. “Too Much to Ask”
Someone’s moving outside
The lights come on down the drive
I forget you’re not here when I close my eyes
Do you still think of me sometimes?
This is definitely one of my favorite songs off the album. It’s another song about missing someone, like in “This Town”, but the message is a little different. In this song, it sounds as if the relationship has just ended but there’s a chance of it being rekindled, so there’s a feeling of hope throughout the song.
6. “Paper Houses”
I don’t wanna lose your touch
I don’t wanna hurt this much
I can feel you slipping away
Yeah, I paid the price and own the scars
Why do we climb and fall so far?
In this song, Niall sings about a relationship that is fragile and delicate, like a house made of paper. In one line he says, “We made our love out of stacks of cards.” I really enjoy the consistent metaphor throughout the song, it makes for an interesting perspective of a relationship that people can understand and sympathize with.
7. “Since We’re Alone”
All your thoughts running through your head
The things you think that are left unsaid
Just wanna know where you came from
Why would you wanna play someone else
I love you best when you’re just yourself
Yeah, you’re everything I want
I adore this song in every possible way. I love the tune, the lyrics, and the way Niall presents it. Listening to this song is very soothing, and I especially love the message. In this song, Niall’s telling the girl he loves that she can open up to him, because he thinks she’s amazing just the way she is. In other words, he wants her to not be afraid to talk to him, and I think that’s a common feeling not talked about enough. I know I’ve met people who I’ve wanted to have an open conversation with, but for some reason that barrier isn’t broken. It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only person who feels this way.
When you lay there and you’re sleeping
Hear the patterns of your breathing
And I tell you things you’ve never heard before
Asking questions to the ceiling
Never knowing what you’re thinking
I’m afraid that what we had is gone
When I heard the opening lines of “Flicker”, I knew I was diving right into a pool of sadness. This song is equally beautiful and heartbreaking. Here, Niall shares his thoughts about a relationship that was once amazing and strong, but that has worn out over time. However, as he notes, he still has a “flicker of hope” that he wants to hold on to. The lyrics are incredibly moving, making this a tear-jerking, heart-aching tune to listen to.
9. “Fire Away”
Hold me close but at a distance
Thinking that I’ll never listen, but I do
I know sometimes it get confusing
You might be lost but I ain’t losing you
The message of this song is pretty similar to the one of “Since We’re Alone”, but is told in a simpler way. What I mean by this is, in both songs Niall is telling the girl to open up to him because he cares about her, but in “Fire Away” he expresses this desire in less words. This is another song off the album that has a country feel to it, but is also calming to listen to. It’s short and sweet and clearly shows Niall’s compassion towards this girl.
10. “You and Me”
Time’s never been on our side
So would you wait for me?
I lead a selfish life
‘Cause that’s what I need
What do I have to do
To make you believe?
It’s all for you and me
The first thought that came to my mind when I heard this song was: Wow, he’s being brutally honest. The rhythm of the song is pretty slow and unique. The approach Niall takes with this song is interesting, the line that intrigues me the most is when he requests: “Time’s never been on our side / So would you wait for me?” He’s being pretty blunt here, which I find somewhat amusing and thought provoking. It’s not my favorite song of his, but it is an attention-grabbing one.
11. “On My Own”
I’ll drink ’til it’s empty
Stay out ’til it’s dead
I’ll wake up at midday
And marry my bed
I’ll kiss all the women
Get punched in the head
You could offer the world, baby
But I’ll take this instead, yeah
Every time I listen to this song I laugh. It’s so catchy, yet confusing. To be entirely honest I’m still not quite sure what Niall’s trying to express here, but the chorus has some odd statements: “And marry my bed / I’ll kiss all the women.” They’re not things you hear on a daily basis, and it makes me wonder what inspired him to write such a strange song. Like I said though, it’s pretty catchy and worth a listen!
I need love to hold me closer
In the night, just enough
To feel my body come alive
When my bones start breaking,
My heart starts shaking
I need love
This song impacted me greatly once I understood what the message was. In “Mirrors” Niall tells the story of a girl who struggles with her body image. It’s rare to come across a song written by a male artist that sings from a female perspective. I love how there’s a tone of seriousness to the song, but it’s also positive. At a recent concert, Niall opened up about the meaning behind the song, telling the audience, “I know that a lot of young ladies struggle within themselves sometimes. I just wanted to write a song and put a little light on that to let everyone know they are not on their own.” I admire Niall for writing this song and not being afraid to present it to his fans, showing how much he cares about them.
13. “The Tide”
Don’t let the tide come and wash us away
Don’t let the tide come and take me
I just want a safe place to hide us away
So don’t let the tide come and take me
Here, Niall uses the metaphor of a tide as an obstacle in a relationship he’s in. Specifically, he’s begging to remain with his lover despite how many bumps in the road they encounter, threatening to split them apart. I really like the use of the repetitive “tide” metaphor because it gives listeners an image to keep in mind while listening, and helps them visualize the message Niall’s trying to get across.
I admit that I’ve been a fan of Niall’s way before his solo career. I used to admire him a lot when he was in One Direction, and this is definitely part of the reason why I like this album so much. I’ve heard his voice mature over the years, and I remember in the early days of One Direction’s career he wasn’t given many opportunities to sing lead in their songs. It makes me feel proud of him, knowing that he’s stepped up from being a “background” singer to solo performer.
However, I think that anyone can love and appreciate this album, not just One Direction fans. Overall, the album has a very relaxing, soothing vibe that makes a great companion for long bus rides. I’d rate it an 8.5/10 stars!
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