Niall Horan, lovable Irish heartthrob and former One Direction member, has released his second solo album during this time of uncertainty. The singer-songwriter released his album, “Heartbreak Weather”, on March 13. Horan details his emotions of heartache and unrequited love in this moody yet soothing record.
“Heartbreak Weather” consists of 14 tracks, with the genre of the record being primarily pop with some acoustic and rock-inspired tracks. This is Horan’s second solo album, the first was “Flicker” released in 2017. One Direction last performed together at the end of 2015, and all 5 original members have been focusing on their solo careers since. The promotional advertisements for “Heartbreak Weather” were charming, as Niall Horan posed as a weather reporter to promote the record, and fans were eager to hear the full album.
While his first record, “Flicker”, was filled with more folk and acoustic sounds, “Heartbreak Weather” definitely stricks lightning as it includes more pop and rock influences. The storm gathers in the first track and the album’s namesake, “Heartbreak Weather”, with a chorus that concludes with: “All of my life, it’s been heartbreak weather / Thinkin’ to myself, it won’t get better / It can be so lonely in this city / But it feels different when you’re with me”. Like his former bandmate Liam Payne, Horan subtly reflects on his fame and years in the spotlight, but his one real desire is his lover.
The next several tracks are much slower, but still very pop-influenced. “Black and White”, “Dear Patience”, and “Bend the Rules” all echo Horan’s first record, reminding listeners of his heart and loving spirit. In “Dear Patience”, Horan sings, “Dear patience / Can we share a drink and let go of the pressure? / Dear patience / ‘Cause the / last time that we talked seems like forever / And ever”. In this song, he is directly addressing “patience” and the uneasiness of starting a relationship, and it definitely becomes one of his more abstract tracks.
“Heartbreak Weather” also features some popular singles, such as “Nice To Meet Ya”, “Put a Little Love on Me”, and “No Judgement”. These are amongst the more vivid tracks of the album, and genuinely display Horan’s charming personality. In the pop-rock inspired song “Nice To Meet Ya” he sings: “I wanna blow your mind, just come with me, I swear / I’m gonna take you / somewhere warm, you know j’adore la mer / ‘Cause when the morning comes, I know you won’t be there / Every time I turn around, you disappear”. “Put a Little Love on Me” is ballad-like, and “No Judgement” is notably similar to the songs of Ed Sheeran, these singles, like “Heartbreak Weather” show Horan’s range as both a singer and songwriter.
Like “Nice To Meet Ya”, songs such as “Small Talk”, “Cross Your Mind”, and “New Angel” are risqué in nature, suggestive of Horan’s need for a more intimate relationship with the person he is singing about. “Don’t hold back” he chants on “Cross Your Mind”, intending for his partner not to hold back like he no longer wants to hold back either. Niall Horan wants more, and although there’s an apprehensive theme throughout the album, like the anxiety of the storm approaching on the album cover, he is prepared to enter relationships head-on.
Songs like “Arms of a Stranger”, “Everywhere”, “San Francisco”, and “Still” are more somber compared to the other tracks on the album. While there is a more upbeat chorus, in “Everywhere” lyrics like “The ground beneath my feet’s a bit colder / I see your face in people I don’t know / Feels like the world is twistin’ in slo-mo / And I’m stuck in one place” create a stronger sense of honesty and overall “realness” to the record. In the final ballad “Still”, Horan begins the song by singing “My mind is complicated / Find it hard to rearrange it / But I’ll have to find a way somehow”, an honest reflection about how he feels after a testy relationship.
“Heartbreak Weather” is a well-composed second album, and Horan’s voice and lyrics shine throughout. It is a strong album altogether, but many listeners may wish the former boyband member took more risk with the record. However, the unifying theme of “Heartbreak Weather” is clear, and it is apparent we will continue to see great music from Horan in the future.