Track-by-Track Review: Niall Horan, ‘Flicker’

On October 20th, former One Direction member, Niall Horan released his solo debut album, Flicker. This album not only made millions of girls fall to the ground in tears, but it helped One Direction make chart history.

With a remarkable 152,000 equivalent unit sales during the week ending October 28th, Horan achieved a No. 1 album in the US with his debut solo, Flicker. This achievement of topping the albums chart has helped One Direction join the ranks of The Beatles as the only groups to have three of its members hit that No. 1 with solo albums.

When Niall heard the news, he reached out to his fans [via Twitter] by saying, “Wow! Thank you so much. My mind is completely blown. An album I wrote has gone to #1 in the United States, and I cannot thank you guys enough for supporting it. It’s been a crazy couple of years for me between writing, recording, and promoting this record. Today it really feels like all the hard work has paid off. Huge thanks to my label and my management for the constant support on everything I do. My band has been amazing. Traveling around on every TV show and every radio thing with me this year helping me achieve this. The fans. You have been incredible! The love I get on a daily basis is amazing. Thank you and thank you again. Love, Niall”

Horan, being as grounded and thankful as he is, makes him stand out far from many artists. This is one of the main reasons why Horan, the lad from Mullingar, Ireland, has always been my favorite member of One Direction. If you were to have asked years ago which One Direction member do you think would release the best solo album, I guarantee that Horan would not have been the top choice, it most likely would have been Harry Styles.

However, looking at just how far Niall Horan has come over these past seven or so years since being on The X Factor UK is mindblowing. If you are a Directioner like myself, you know about the few solos Niall received while being in One Direction, especially at the beginning of their career. He received so few solos in the first couple albums that “Directioners” even got a hashtag trending on Twitter that said, “#LetNiallSing.”

As the One Direction albums continued to be released, fans began to notice that Horan began to be given many more solos. He finally started to be recognized for his talent and not hidden in the background. For the “Niall girls” this was such a special moment because I don’t think anybody really ever knew just how much talent he held inside, aside from you.

Thankfully, with the release of his debut solo album, Flicker, Horan finally showed the world just how special he was. For the “Niall girls,” an album full of “Niall solos” was an incredible gift that you have been waiting years for.

Being that I am a fan, I didn’t want to sit here and just give my thoughts about each of the 13 tracks on the deluxe album, so I reached out to the fandom and found some tweets to help describe each of the tracks.

1. “On The Loose” – There couldn’t be a better track to start off the album than, “On The Loose.” It is a total bop full of catchy lyrics, and at many parts, you can hear the slight raspiness of Niall’s voice which instantly makes it a game winner.

“My Dad likes Niall Horan now thanks to Flicker. On The Loose is his fav.” -@IdkDais

2. “This Town” – This track was released as Niall Horan’s first solo single back in September of 2016. It was also the first solo released from a One Direction member since the announcement of their hiatus. It is a song with such sweet and relatable lyrics and is what first introduced us to Horan’s acoustic pop/folk sound.

“Y’all know how I feel about “This Town” already. I cried and cried from the beauty when it was first released. Iconic.” @ItsAlexHaley

3. “Seeing Blind” (feat. Maren Morris) – Being the only duet on the album, it already stands out from the other tracks. However, once you listen to it and hear Horan’s voice blend and harmonize with a higher one is absolutely beautiful.

“Just signing on to let you know that “Seeing Blind” and the whole Flicker album has changed my life.” @AliceTheLyon

4. “Slow Hands” – This song was released as the 2nd single in May from Flicker. Being the total funk-pop jam that it is caused it to reach number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and later certified platinum for combined sales and streaming equivalent units of over a million in the US. It was a hit, and, heck, it still is. Every time it comes on you can’t help but dance and scream along the lyrics.

“My heart beats to the beat of “Slow Hands” by now.” @FiresAway

5. “Too Much To Ask” – This track was the 3rd single released from Flicker. It showed a completely different side of Horan compared to the previous single, “Slow Hands.” When it was released, he described it as a song that is very special to him. “Too Much To Ask” is such a beautiful song, especially lyrically. If you have a “feels playlist,” I guarantee you will be adding this track to it very soon.

“Niall’s deep voice at the beginning of “Too Much To Ask” is my reason to breathe.” @SheeranIsMyMood

6. “Paper Houses” – A soothing song that just instantly pulls you in with the tune, Niall’s strong yet soft vocals, and emotional lyrics. You can physically hear the heartbreak in his voice, and it’s so strong that you can physically feel it. A lyric that stood out to me was, “and yes we tried, to hold on tight ‘cause we knew our love was hard to find” I found to be.”

‘“Paper Houses” is so cute, and I love it. It’s such a nice song. I love it. I love it. I love it. Niall Horan did that!” @CutestBoyNJH

7. “Since We’re Alone” – Personally, this is the track that got me from the beginning, and I still love it almost two weeks later. The lyrics of the song are so well thought out and sweet and when you add in the overall feeling of the song you can’t help but smile. If only we also had an acoustic version of this song, because I bet that would be incredible!

“‘Since We’re Alone” has all the words I want to hear from a boy and hearing Niall sing it is bliss!” @TooBadStyles

8. “Flicker” – After searching throughout social media, I have concluded that the title track is the favorite of many. Like a few other songs on the album, it is entirely beautiful and heartstring-tugging. When you listen, it gives you a sense of hope and makes you want to fall in love. It is one of those songs where once you play the song once you can’t help but press the repeat button.

“‘Flicker” is my favorite song on the album because of the way it’s written and composed. It makes it feel like it’s just you and Niall when you listen to it.” @KiwingMe

9. “Fire Away” – If you are looking for a chilled out song on the album, this is the one. The lyrics and Horan’s voice are so soothing and give off this personal feel. The harmonies in the chorus are near perfect as is the pairing of the piano and Horan’s voice. “Fire Away” is another song that makes you feel as if Niall is personally singing it to you.

“Excuse me, but “Fire Away” by Niall Horan. Welcome to the deepest most remote untouchable corners of my heart honey.” @UnfilteredJill

10. “You and Me” – Although this track is slow and personal, it is a jam, especially while taking a stroll around town. I love the lyric, “I got a young heart, and it’s wild and free.” The song to me gives off a feeling of possibilities.

“One can’t legitimately pass out tens of times a day. but god knows I almost pass out every time I listen to “You and Me.” @CarrieStylem

11. “On My Own” – This track, especially at the beginning, gives me an Irish vibe. From the first few notes, it is so cheerful and just gets you going! It is such a fun and upbeat song, and I bet Horan enjoyed writing this one. It emphasizes how you can still be happy and have the time of your life even if you are single. A relationship isn’t everything.

“I think “On My Own” may be my favorite track because it celebrates being single and we don’t hear enough of that in the music industry. Also, it feels like a song that comes from Niall’s roots, and I just feel so happy listening to it.” @SleepingPixiee

12. “Mirrors” – “Mirrors” gives off a feeling of confidence and self-love. I mean you can’t help but smile at the lyric, “He turned around and said, “I hope you know you’re beautiful, have you ever been told?”

“Mirrors” by Niall Horan: A Masterpiece.” @MaileeChrr

13. “The Tide” – The final track on the album, “The Tide” is so powerful and was the perfect track to end with. Nothing is more relatable than the lyric, “’Cause I don’t want it, don’t want it to end” than during the moment when you realize the album has come to an end.

“If you open a window and listen closely you can hear me screaming my praises to “The Tide” by Niall Horan.” @TwvGhosts

Overall, Niall Horan has created such a beautiful work of art that has left Directioners around the world speechless. As a “Niall girl” since the beginning, being able to see everyone finally appreciate him is amazing to see. He deserves this so much, and I hope people continue to realize that.

Niall Horan’s solo debut album, Flicker earns a solid 10/10 in my book.

–Corbyn Jenkins

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.