By Caroline Meister
Since December 2015, One Direction has been on a hiatus, which only makes sense due to nonstop touring and a crazy recording scheduling since 2011. They promised fans that it was only a break and that they’d be back; it’s not the end. The verdict is still out on that, but with rumors of the boys individually signing to record companies and the release of “This Town” (September 29th, 2016), Niall Horan’s first single, the skies are looking pretty gray for the future of One Direction.
Niall Horan, the only Irish member of One Direction, has always been more of a reserved figure in the band. He’s the only member in the band who plays an instrument like a guitar, often playing more and singing less. However, as the years have gone by, he has contributed more and more to each studio album. He’s not the powerhouse that Harry Styles is, and he doesn’t have that “lead singer” vibe, so his release was surprising, especially because it was the first one out of the remaining members of One Direction.
“This Town” sets the bar high for other solo releases from the band as it showcases Niall’s hidden talent: his voice. Niall’s voice embodies the casual tone of the likes of John Mayer, The Plain White T’s, and Ed Sheeran. Speaking of Ed Sheeran, the song has a very Ed Sheeran vibe, which is perhaps contributed to by the close working relationship the two have had over the past five years (Ed has often collaborated on/written One Direction songs). Horan actually co-penned the song as well as providing the acoustic guitar that can be heard in the background. The song itself is classified as acoustic, a sharp deviation from the straight pop that One Direction embodies.
Everything about “This Town” is so starkly different from One Direction that it makes me wonder if it was an intentional break. If so, it was incredibly well done, and will continue to climb its way up the charts. It is already number thirty-six on the Billboard Top 100 despite only being out in the world for a little more than a week. I’m not saying that One Direction is over, but I think the signs are there and I can’t really fathom how every member is going to be able to pursue a solo career while also remaining the pop giants that they are (were?).
As a former One Direction fan, I am very excited to see the new path the boys embark on, and if Niall continues on this singer/songwriter path, I will definitely be following right behind him.