Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Music & Theatre
29 September 2016updated 29 Jul 2021 3:22pm

Niall Horan just released his first solo single, and it sounds a lot like a One Direction song

But is he rebranding himself as an “authentic” singer-songwriter?

By Anna Leszkiewicz

Niall Horan, the blue-eyed, blonde-haired Irish darling of One Direction fans, has just released his first post-boyband solo single. After Zayn’s album, most people thought Harry would be the next to release music – especially as Niall has seemingly been playing golf full-time since the split. But Horan has surprised everyone by releasing “This Town” today.

The song itself is not so surprising. It sounds a lot like an acoustic One Direction ballad – a mix of “Little Things”, “Night Changes” and “I Want To Write You a Song”. Lyrically, it ticks a lot of 1D boxes, too: references to the better times of childhood, someone walking into the room and giving the narrator chills, “who cares who’s watching?”, her perfume lingering after she’s left, homecoming.

The Evening Standard reports that the new song was co-written by Horan, alongside Jamie Scott, Mike Needle and Daniel Bryer, and the image they are pushing is definitely of an “authentic” singer-songwriter – from the scribbled lyrics in the single’s artwork to the self-professed one-take video that accompanies it.

It might not be anything revolutionary, but BBC Radio One has a real thing for white men singing longingly about their childhood memories at the moment (CR: Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” and Twenty-One Pilots’ “Stressed Out”), so it might do well in the UK charts. Ádh mór ort, Niall!

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy