Niall Horan, ‘This Town’ – Track Review


Niall Horan, This Town © Columbia

★★★

With One Direction on an indefinite hiatus, the boys are unsurprisingly “spreading their wings” into solo territory.  Niall Horan becomes the first active member of the collective to drop a solo single in preparation for an album.  Horan gets all the female girls excited with “This Town,” which has both pros and cons.  Regardless of its flaws, Niall has something to offer the music world beyond One Direction.

“This Town” opens predictably. The sound isn’t unlike singer/songwriter oriented tracks from One Direction.  Songs like “Little Things” (written by Ed Sheeran) and “Story of My Life” come to mind.  The guitar lines are reminiscent to “Little Things,” channeling the same vibe.  It’s a respectable sound but overdone in the big scheme of things.

Horan sounds excellent vocally – he’s much more proficient than expected.  Horan is more subtle than his contemporaries, but it works.  The main rub is that Horan doesn’t exhibit much personality.  This has been a problem with One Direction as a whole, though they’ve improved to their credit.  Furthermore, the song itself is lovely, but not particularly rousing.

Memorability is the biggest issue with “This Town.” With Horan lacking the feistiness to be compelling artistically and the song itself treading the middle of the road path, it’s hard to get excited about a solo project from Niall.  He can sing and the song is okay, but cliché.

All in all, “This Town” is a respectable solo debut single from Niall Horan.  Vocally, he sounds great. He never under sings nor does he over sing – he’s balanced.  While the record is legitimately beautiful, it’s a bit boring – on the blasé side of things.  Good, but not transcendent.

Niall Horan • This Town – single • Neon Haze Music Ltd / Capitol • Release: 9.29.16
Photo Credit: Neon Haze Music Ltd / Capitol

Publishing Note: This track review was originally published on The Musical Hype on September 30, 2016. 

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