Fangirls of the world can rejoice! Niall Horan of One Direction fame released his first single, “This Town,” early today. And… well, at least the 1D fans will be happy.
To be honest there’s something lacking about the track, and it’s not just Horan’s three bandmates. Maybe it’s just that it echoes every 1D ballad, and I mean every. single. one; maybe it’s that the four minutes are basically the same four bars on repeat; but “This Town” is too dull for someone as established in pop music as Niall Horan. That’s especially true when compared to what Zayn Malik, ex-One Direction bad boy and current solo artist stylized as ZAYN, debuted just a year after leaving the group. (Hint: it was not another acoustic ballad.)
That said, there’s that undeniable catchy quality that means we’ll be hearing Niall’s voice all over Top 40 radio for the next three months. And it’s not a bad song by any means; Niall’s vocals are as smooth and crooning as ever, and he undoubtedly knows what his fanbase wants to hear from him. But it always makes me wonder when artists have a side project that sounds indistinguishable from their main work. Isn’t the point to branch out, to explore new musical territory?
Regardless, we’ll be keeping an eye and an ear out for Niall’s new work. And hopefully he ups the ante, because “This Town” is nowhere near “Pillowtalk” caliber.