Niall Horan of One Direction released his debut solo single “This Town” to the surprise of fans everywhere on September 29. The release of the song was paired with a “Live, 1 Mic 1 Take” performance video and an announcement of the singer-songwriter signing with Capitol Records. If you have not heard the stripped-down song yet, here’s what you’re missing out on.
“This Town” begins with simple yet melodious chords from an acoustic guitar. As the music sets up the relaxed vibe of the song, Horan begins to sing, “Waking up to kiss you and nobody’s there, the smell of your perfume still stuck in the air.” The song continues with Horan’s gentle vocals, producing memorable lyrics such as “It’s funny how things never change in this old town,” “I want to tell you everything, the words I never got to say the first time around,” and “If the whole world was watching I’d still dance with you.” While this song may be interpreted as being about the girl who got away, Horan recently confessed on “The Zach Sang Show” that this song may also be about his hometown and the familiarity he feels when he returns there.
Since its release date, this song has been resonating with thousands, making it to number 30 on US radio as of October 6, only one week after dropping. Horan also debuted as No. 1 on the Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks chart and made the first-ever No. 1 debut on the Social 50 chart, which ranks the most popular artists on social media. Within a week of its release, the song has become pop radio’s most added, being picked up by 117 stations.
With his newfound success as a solo artist, Horan’s future aspirations are still modest. He told Maxwell on “Z100” that he originally started writing his own songs out of enjoyment and not with the purpose of making an album; that is, until “This Town” came into fruition. Now, he plans on releasing an album sometime next year, with influences ranging from Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel to The Lumineers and James Bay. While his current hit is the only song he has completed as of now, the single is a sonic evolution of One Direction’s latest album, “Made in the A.M.” and shows his overall love and talent for music.
As for Horan recording an album, what does this mean for the future of the famous quartet? Since beginning their hiatus in December 2015, each bandmate has been pursuing individual projects. Harry Styles recently signed a record contract with Columbia Records, the label behind One Direction; he also just wrapped up filming for Christopher Nolan’s new World War II film, “Dunkirk”. His bandmate Louis, aside from becoming a new father, is stepping into the footsteps of the group’s mentor Simon Cowell by managing new music acts, specifically a girl group based in Los Angeles. Liam has been the most silent during the hiatus thus far, but back in July he announced a record deal with Capitol Records, now making him and Horan label-mates.
As for whether the foursome will reunite in the future, don’t you fret– his single can be interpreted as being about the band, in that “everything comes back to [them].” If that is not concrete enough for you, all of them congratulated Horan on his single on Twitter. Also, Horan told Sang, “There’s no doubt that I definitely won’t rule and I won’t let anyone rule out the return of One Direction ’cause it’s inevitable, let’s be honest.” He also told “Z100” that “There’s gonna be plenty more 1D shows, I can guarantee.” After five albums in five years, the band taking a break to relax, discovering themselves as individuals, and feeling more normal is completely understandable. To fans new and old, One Direction will return, but in the meantime, enjoy Horan’s song and the rest of the band’s endeavors as they will all end up in one direction, which is back together on the top.