I’m sure Mr. Horan’s album has been of great interest to fans of One Direction, since that is how he has been known to the world for the past 6 years. I hope that Horan will become a name in his own right, because this album shows that he deserves it. He is playing to a genre of music that I personally love, and to be honest, I love this album. If you're thinking this is One Direction stuff for teens, wipe that out of your mind. Horan's music is very mature and all ages will enjoy it.
It seems that Horan right out of the gate has offered us something nice to listen to. The themes in these songs are easy to appreciate, and out of the solo efforts of the 5 One Direction members, they are the ones that I most deeply connect to. As a female, I don’t like listening to songs that sexualize, objectify or criticize women; instead, I like to hear a man sing of love, or, when the woman is no longer in his life, to sing about how much he misses her. This is the main gist of most of Horan’s songs.
I’ve read some of the newspaper reviews of this album, and they all seem to have been expecting something innovative – along the lines of Led Zeppelin, Electric Light Orchestra or U2? Who knows, they just have to criticize, I guess – from these One Direction guys’ solo efforts. They seem to have forgotten that these are 5 guys who were pulled out of a line-up in their mid-teens, with only a very limited exposure to certain types of music, then corporate machinery pretty much drove their lives for 6 years. That they could come out of that with a sense of how to create their own voice through songs and albums is rather amazing. They are only in their early 20’s (when a lot of bands just begin). I think we need to give them, especially Niall Horan and Harry Styles, a chance to fulfill their own voice. Nevertheless, even at this young age, Horan has come out with music that is quite surprisingly mature and at turns fun and heartwarming. I would describe the music on Horan's cd as a very gentle ride that really grows on you in a good way.
And then some of the reviews criticize Horan’s choice of theme for his songs – too much concentration on “love”. Well, I remember another musician not so long ago who, after he broke with his band, also chose to do love songs, and was criticized for this. The musician (Paul McCartney), responded with this song: “You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs; I look around me and I see it isn’t so. Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. What’s wrong with that? I’d like to know. ‘Cause here I go again…. I love you, I love you.” In my opinion, the world already has enough negativity. I could only wish that every musician would sing of love – and sing in a way that makes us feel love the way Niall Horan does. And there are some beautiful love songs on this album.
Finally, on One Direction cd’s, Horan’s voice is rarely heard, as each song was divided and parceled out to each of the 5 members. I like this album because it is all Horan, and his soft singing voice makes for a great listening experience.
February 11, 2018: I am editing this review after a few months of having this and listening to it dozens of times, and I very highly recommend this CD - all the songs are good.