Flicker Sessions: All the Songs Kind of Sound the Same, But It’s Still A Bop

On October 20, 2017, Irish heartthrob Niall Horan became the third member of One Direction to release a debut album, which is titled “Flicker.” In March of 2015, Zayn Malik was the first of the former boy band to do so, and his album came out on the one year anniversary of his abandoning the group, which took place in the middle of the Asian leg of their tour. Harry Styles came in second place, releasing his own album in May 2017. However, Horan made the somewhat strange decision to release his album in the middle of his tour, “Flicker Sessions.” While fans may not have had the physical album in their hands, everyone already knew the words to all 13 songs of the album by the second show of the tour.

Niall’s album was exactly what I would have expected it to be based on the singles that he released previously, but, at the same time, he still managed to surprise me. Important note: Niall Horan is the love of my life; I would do anything for him and support him as a solo artist until he comes to his senses and returns to One Direction.

 

However, the first time I listened to his album, I was underwhelmed. I put “Flicker Sessions” on my playlist for while I am walking around campus, and a couple of weeks ago, “The Tide” came on, but I didn’t recognize it to be one of Horan’s songs. The first few beats faded away and when Niall’s sultry voice came on and sang “Oh no,” I let out an audible gasp. That was not the sound that I expected from Niall at all, but it was a welcome addition to the album and the perfect last song.

As a solo artist, Niall strayed from One Direction’s pop image to a softer, soulful sound that was more about the lyrics and the music, which led many of his songs have a similar vibe. I’ve had the album on repeat for weeks now, and there are still songs that I couldn’t name. Nevertheless, I’ve still been listening to this same album for weeks. Quite a few of the songs, like “Since We’re Alone, have the same magnetic quality of Top 40 pop songs to get stuck in your head and stay there.You can listen to it for a few days straight and still find yourself discovering lyrics or guitar riffs that you hadn't heard before, like in “On the Loose.”

While I wasn’t lucky enough to see Niall when he came to New York on Halloween, based on the videos I’ve seen from his shows and what I know about his performance style in One Direction, “Flicker” is the perfect album for him to perform. The dynamic of him being able to sing songs that he’s labored over writing for months and play his guitar in front of a huge audience is the best space for him to be in as a performer. From performing on the Country Music Awards to selling out his first tour, Niall is clearly in his element on stage, and it shows.

 

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