With One Direction officially on hiatus and the members all pursuing their own paths, it was only a matter of time before Niall Horan began his own solo career. Fellow ex-band member Zayn Malik came out of the gates at full speed, redefining his image and tackling a variety of different genres, but Niall took a different, more familiar route with his own debut solo single, This Town.
At its core, This Town could be viewed as something rather similar to One Direction’s minimal acoustic ballads. The song places most of its focus on the acoustic guitar that opens the song and the piano that soon follows, but backs it up with a mere glimpse at a percussive beat and a swell of strings as it enters its later stages. It’s a nostalgic kind of track, singing of heartbreak but still capturing the nostalgia of the lyrics perfectly. Unsurprisingly, Niall’s voice slots into the track perfectly, and the entire package just works together. This Town might run the risk of being called too safe or predictable, given that Niall hasn’t undergone as much of a career reformation as some of his bandmates have, but This Town is the kind of song Niall does perfectly.
Whether you view the familiarity of This Town as a positive or negative trait, it makes for a great debut single when mixed with Niall’s personal artistry. He takes to the chance to show off his skills alone perfectly, and shines far more on this simple folksy track than he did on many of One Direction’s own songs. So far, Niall seems to be on the right track to creating a fulfilling solo career that long-time fans can comfortably enjoy.