Album Review: Niall Horan – Heartbreak Weather

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The former member of One Direction, Niall Horan, recently released his second solo album, Heartbreak Weather. The 14 track album takes the listener through a turbulent episodic journey of emotions which follow the stages of a relationship, from beginning to the very end. The album has a combination of ballads and bops, though there is a constant sensation of nostalgia which ties all the songs together.

Horan fashions each song into their categories through his choice of melodic rhythms, as many of the lyrics could be either. The album varies from pop-sync full band ensembles to simple piano or acoustic guitar melodies. Horan explains that this choice was due to the fact that ‘when you go through a breakup, it’s not sad all the time’. 

‘He expresses the experience of what a relationship is like: overwhelming, overly nostalgic, redundant, and suffocating’

Upon one’s first listen to this album, it appears to have been completely constructed at random, due to the non-chronological order in which the songs are placed. However, it is obvious that this was tactfully done on purpose, in order to emulate the feelings at the end of a relationship. He emphasises how grief doesn’t have a set order, and those emotions do not just appear once and go away but instead flow at random and repeat. That’s the point of the album, to recreate a full love affair in a matter of 46 minutes. Horan even describes his album as ‘a concept album’ about the points of views at different stages of a relationship. 

‘The point of the album, to recreate a full love affair in a matter of 46 minutes’

The songs on this album can be easily divided into two categories: standouts and disrememberal. While the overall album is a love letter to love itself, the bigger issue comes from the amount which the album exists in the realm of nostalgic repetition. This is especially true of the few songs which transport you back to Horan’s days as a member of One Direction. The level of nostalgia which emanates from ‘Black and White’, ‘San Francisco’ and ‘Arm of a Stranger’ permeate the levels of the norm which is to be expected. These three songs will transport you back to 2015, at the height of One Direction.

On the positive note, they resemble songs which sound like Horan’s influence during the band, yet, I was disappointed to hear the lack of overall musical growth which we see from Horan in this album. However, the songs which standout on this album — ‘Nice to Meet Ya’, ‘No Judgement’, ‘Dear Patience’, ‘Put a Little Love on Me’ and ‘Still’– are songs that are full of powerful, moving emotion.

While the album could have easily been shortened and still portray Horan’s overall theme and message, the amount of songs on the album demonstrate how overwhelming heartbreak is. He expresses the experience of what a relationship is like: overwhelming, overly nostalgic, redundant, and suffocating.

Niall has unfortunately had to cancel his ‘Nice to Meet Ya World Tour‘ as a result of the pandemic. Image: Niall Horan by Marcen via Wikipedia

Overall, this album is an ode to love, to finding, keeping, and losing it. Horan accurately exhibits the full relationship experience from meeting someone to getting over them, from the excitement at the beginning to the shock of the end, the denial, the beautiful memories, and to moving on. I think it shows an important journey through heartache. In that way it is absolutely beautiful as Horan chooses to share his own personal experience with his fans.

He manages to transform something which was obviously painful into therapeutic art that demonstrates every aspect of a relationship, from the start to the aftermath. I highly recommend listening to the album as it will transport you into the tempestuous aspects of any and every relationship.

Image: Niall Horan by Ashley Newby via Flickr

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