Niall Horan, by his own confession, poured his heart into his debut solo album Flicker out today (Oct. 20). As it was released, Horan posted to Twitter a glimpse into how he was feeling.
“It’s time !” Horan wrote. “Flicker is out , finally. I’ve spent the last year and a half writing and recording this album. It’s something that I’ve worked really hard on and I’m incredibly proud of it. This is the first time I’ve put my thoughts and emotions on paper and then onto record and it feels really good. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for everything so far. Lots of love[,] Nialler Xx.”
What exactly has the 24-year-old One Direction member turned singer-songwriter been thinking and feeling? Apparently every facet of love imaginable. His entire album is cohesively and multi-dimensionally romantic, so much so that we have decided to take the 13 most romantic lyrics from each of Flicker‘s 13 tracks (in order of their track listing).
The short answer as to what is the most romantic part of Horan’s new album? Well, all of it. Check out the most swoon-worthy lyrics below.
“On the Loose”
“I know what she’s like / She’s out of her mind / And wraps herself around the truth / She’ll jump on that flight / And meet you that night / Make you tear up the room”
So, might as well clear this up off the top: romantic does not always mean something warm and fuzzy. In this case, the song as a whole is actually about a heartbreaker that Horan has fell for more than once, but the way he describes her so intimately is where romanticism swoops in.
“And I want to tell you everything / The words I never got to say the first time around/ And I remember everything/ From when we were children playing in this fairground / Wish I was there with you now”
“This Town” is the lead single off of Flicker and the first single Horan released as a solo artist, a longing tale of a once-was love. In an interview, Horan explained himself the meaning, which, surprisingly is not any specific girl:
“It’s kind of got a double meaning. It’s not really about anyone in particular. […] When I’m writing songs, I write the concepts and then just write the scenario and then write the song around it. I guess with the ‘town’ part of it, it’s a little bit like—there’s a line in the song, ‘Everything comes back to you’—and I still go home all the time, and no matter how far you traveled, you still get to go home and be yourself. And then, it’s obviously got that female aspect, too […] I got loads of texts from people from school saying, ‘Everyone wants to know who it’s about.’ It’s not about anyone. So, I cleared it up on national television.”
“Seeing Blind” feat. Maren Morris
“I have heard, have heard you speak a million words / Now you’re talking to me first / I never thought you would / Oh, my, my, you just took me by surprise / And I can’t believe my eyes”
Morris serves as the only feature on the album — and will also serve as Horan’s tourmate in 2018 — and splits vocals throughout all of “Seeing Blind,” which portrays a man and woman who can’t believe they have found each other. See what we mean by romantic?
“I’ve been thinking ’bout it all day / And I hope you feel the same way, yeah / ‘Cause I want you bad / Yeah, I want you, baby / Slow, slow hands / Like sweat dripping down our dirty laundry / No, no chance / That I’m leaving here without you on me”
The most poppy and smoldering track on the album, Horan’s second-released single brings the sexy side out of romanticism, dripping in lust and sensuality over a punchy beat.
“Too Much To Ask”
“My shadow’s dancing / Without you for the first time / My heart is hoping / You’ll walk right in tonight”
“Too Much To Ask” was the final pre-release offering from Flicker, and is the only song (so far) with a proper music video. A lonely Horan is desperately seeking any reminder he can of someone he once loved and just wants to know if she’s thinking about him, too — heartbreaking, yet hearfelt.
“Yeah, our paper houses reach the stars / ‘Til we break and scatter world apart / I don’t wanna lose your touch / I don’t wanna hurt this much”
Oh, Niall. We can relate. Don’t you just want to hug him by now? “Paper Houses” sees Horan addressing a relationship that ultimately couldn’t live up to unrealistic expectations and now, he’s left with the painful aftermath — asking, “Why did we climb and fall so far?”
“Since We’re Alone”
“Since we’re alone / Show me all that you are / And if you get lost in the light / It’s okay, I can see in the dark”
(Runner up: “Why would you wanna play someone else / I love you best when you’re just yourself”)
A croon to a girl that Horan sees hurting, he knows that she’s afraid to be vulnerable, but he tells her that since he won’t break her heart.
“There’s a light in the dark / Still a flicker of hope that you first gave to me / That I wanna keep”
In the title track, Horan remembers the warmth of a love that is no longer there the same as it was.
“And I will steady your hand / When you’re losing your grip / Even if I don’t understand / You can talk to me”
In the form of a reassuring lullaby, Horan is offering himself up as a rock of support to a loved one — regardless of them “thinking that I never listen, but I do.”
“You and Me”
“From a distance / I can hear you cry / But don’t you worry darlin’ / Don’t lose sleep tonight / Cause I can promise it / I can guarantee / At the end of the road / I can see you and me”
Horan recognizes the unconventional life he leads and urges a loved one that waiting for him will be worth it for both of them.
“On My Own”
“I’ll kiss all the women / Get punched in the head / You could offer the world, baby / But I’ll take this instead”
This song is a more gravelly, folksy tune that is nostalgic for a particular lifestyle — one that is totally his. “On My Own” is the only song in the album that is not outwardly romantic or tinged with some type of love in its narrative but instead offers self-discovery and self-love.
“The coffee’s cold / He turns around and said ‘I hope you know / You’re beautiful, have you ever been told?'”
In a mixture of first and third person, Horan empathizes with a “her” grappling with deep internal pain that only her mirror sees.
“Don’t let the tide come and wash us away / Don’t let the tide come and take me / I just want a safe place to hide us away”
To close Flicker, Horan begs to remain with his lover despite any obstacles threatening to rip them apart. We can’t speak as to what happens in the protagonist’s relationship, but with such heartfelt lyrics on the entire album, he’s certainly relayed his message to whomever he’s singing about.