The only way is up for latest One Directioner transitioning into isolation.
Niall Horan, the one-time One Direction wallflower whose feathers dilatorily became too bright for Simon Cowell’s cage, finally flew unaided on March 13, with the eagerly anticipated drop of his second solo project, Heartbreak Weather – an album likely to have toddlers and lonely mothers besprinkling their jim-jams with equal effusion.
The 26-year-old’s 2017 debut release, Flicker, received critical sneer, with the thinly veiled hallmarks of Syco’s stamp burdening the ensuing yield.
By contrast, the new LP’s snappy title track swung like an unstifled wrecking ball into the subconscious of listeners across the globe earlier this month, adjacent to an accompanying video chock with enough saccharine to overdose a type two diabetic ingesting an unintentional shard.
The accompanying visuals serve to exhibit the adaptable virtuoso as a master of disguise, ostensibly from the comfort of his loving parents’ dimly lit basement.
Far from a one-track issue, Heartbreak Weather is an LP loaded with prime cuts: Black and White summoning the spirit of preeminent wordsmiths Chaucer, Shakespeare and Mercury, with the gushingly provocative libretto ‘I want the world to witness, when I finally say I do, It’s the way you love, I gotta give it back to you.’
Small Talk is a hypnotic tour de force easily prone to glide under the radar, exempt as it is from commercial incentive. The song bequeathing a peek into the core of a desirous renaissance, while hinting at unrequited yearning.
By a similar token, the melancholic Still, the conclusive canticle of the confessional chef d’oeuvre, provides an epitaph to wistful nostalgia, arcing towards reassuring ambiguity. One can picture Niall strumming his banjo string in a darkened room with some deliberately whimsical off-key whistling for accompaniment.
One Direction acolytes will be elated Niall has so seamlessly transitioned towards inevitable solo stardom, while those lovers of Queen and Prince who have yet to experience the bliss of his ingenuity can eulogise the coronation of the industry’s dewiest royal suckling.