This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you use your boyband membership as a springboard to success. None of the overdramatic, Camila Cabelo-esque ready-for-primetime impatient grasping that usually characterizes the breakaway narrative; no Beyonce or Justin Timberlake-esque pulling focus, no Robbie Williams-esque bad boy drama, no Geri Halliwell-esque shock and awe. Just doing your time, putting in the work, waiting your turn, and then, when the time comes, capitalizing on your chance and proving that you have a helluva lot of talent as a songwriter, and more than enough charisma to outshine everyone else in your former boyband, simply by virtue of seeming above it all, and less… well, encumbered, by everything. Not everyone exits the weird cocoon of singing groups so unscathed.
Who doesn’t enjoy success stories, especially ones where the underdog suddenly emerges to become the bright shining leader of the new world order, Hunger Games style? Not that Niall Horan is a stranger to trying times. Even pretty people get their hearts broken. Not all of them mine it the same way. It seems Horan’s answer to dealing with heartbreak is to make upliftingly catchy tunes for a sad subject matter, which is a positive way of dealing with things, everything else considered.
I liked Flicker, Niall Horan’s first solo album. Not that I’m a big connoisseur but it’s one of the best a former boybander has ever put out in recent years. Heartbreak Weather, while not quite as stellar as Flicker, is not a bad second effort. Although Horan has said it’s a concept album, meant to show matters of the heart as various weather patterns, it’s not as cohesive, track arrangement-wise. By this, I mean the order of play could use just a smidge of re-ordering. Still, it’s really nice to see Horan come into his own, and so suavely too.