Niall Horan’s debut solo album Flicker is a tribute to strong women everywhere

It speaks to an independent and confident yet guarded love interest.


In a world where people like Harvey Weinstein are dominating headlines, it’s no surprise that we’ve become accustomed to typically misogynist songs by male artists. In these lyrics, women are depicted as objects of desire created for men—but not in Niall Horan’s music.

Niall, whose debut solo album ‘Flicker’ dropped on October 20, is used to a fandom made up of mainly girls (many now women), having gained fame through his six years in One Direction. And he isn’t about to forsake them with objectifying lyrics.

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With 13 tracks on the deluxe edition, ‘Flicker’ features not one but four songs about strong female love interests. In fact, it probably isn’t going too far to suggest that all the tracks feature this type of love interest, actually. In ‘On The Loose’, Niall sings of an attention-loving woman whose confidence could take down any man; in ‘Fire Away’, she’s independent and guarded to the point that he reasons, “Even if I don’t understand/You can talk to me.”

‘Mirrors’ even acknowledges how exhausting the daily fight of just being female can be (“She wants to fight/Her eyes are tired, no one’s on her side”); the woman in ‘Since We’re Alone’ sounds so jaded from a previous relationship that she won’t let her true self out around guys anymore—sounds pretty real, right?

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In almost all of the songs on the album (aside from ‘On My Own’ where he declares, “Everybody’s got somebody/I just want to be alone”), Niall comes across as the impossible-to-find, unicorn-of-the-dating-scene, truly nice guy. The guy who just wants to take care of you and encourages you to let your guard down; the guy who breaks through your walls by being unwaveringly kind. Not the guy who thinks being nice to you once means he gets to sleep with you. As someone who’s kept his relationships firmly out of the public eye, with only whispers and guesses alive in the gossip columns, it’s not hard to believe that the way Niall writes about women is the way he treats them in real life, too.

“At the end of the road/I can see you and me,” he sings in ‘You And Me’. Again in ‘Fire Away’, he promises that independent woman, “Darling you don’t have to hold it/You don’t have to be afraid.”

‘Flicker’ is available now on iTunes.

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  1. Lucy says

    You can tell this is written by someone who doesn’t know the real Niall. There’s a reason that boy prefers to be single and it’s the total opposite of what you say They way he keeps up that myth his unreal

    1. Jackie Kolgraf says

      Bummer that you don’t think Niall is a nice guy that respects the women he dates! Thanks for giving the article a read though.

      1. Lucy says

        That’s quite patronising. I’m sure he treats girls well when he’s with them. Oh for goodness sake do I really need to spell it out? He prefers to sleep around! He has for years

      2. Lucy says

        That’s quite patronising and isn’t what I said at all. I’m sure he treats girls well when he’s with them. Oh for goodness sake do I really need to spell it out? He prefers to sleep around! He’s not the relationship kind

  2. Danielle Robbins says

    It’s sad when fans of another artist feel the need to find every article they can about Niall for the sole purpose of trashing him because they are jealous of his success. This was a very nice article, but expect to see more of the same from Twitter trolls. They have been doing it since he released This Town.

  3. Jessica says

    Niall is truly an amazing artist! I love that he doesn’t pretend to be someone he’s not and always stays true to himself. Also, the way he speaks of women his album shows how much respect he hold for us. I hope he has a long and generous career. I’m rooting for him!

  4. Monica says

    What an awesome and thoughtful review! Having met Niall when he came to the Children’s Hospital where I work, I can honestly say he came across as one of the most genuine, down-to-earth, kind celebrities I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Obviously he was there for the patients and spent the majority of his time interacting with them, but he was sweet enough to chat with the clinical staff for way longer than he needed to, and we all had major heart eyes. Loved the album and so glad you seemed to love it too!

  5. Nat says

    Thank you for saying this about Niall and the way he treats and sings about women. I think the evidence is clear that he treats women well. Every single one of his ex’s considers him a friend to this day, and he has never once slandered any of them, or spoken about them in a negative way. His entire album is about a breakup, but not in a “you hurt ME” kind of way, but rather in a way where he is trying to understand where the girl was coming from. He knows something is wrong, and he wants to know how to make it better, if he can. I think that is super mature, especially for his age. There is no way he could have sung with such emotion unless this is really how he is as a person. I greatly appreciate you highlighting that fact!

  6. Carley says

    It was the first time in a long time I listened to an album by a straight male artist and didn’t roll role eyes at least once! Haha I agree on all front. As one article on Bustle said, this album is for women who are “so over all the alpha-male” bullshit. And it all adds up too, considering he remains openly close friends with several of the high profile women he’s dated, and they speak nothing but lovely things about him.

  7. Hanna says

    I love this! Thank you for the thoughtful and lovely review of his work. I gained so much respect for him when I listened to his album – so easy for men to revert to sexist cliches and he subverted all of them.

  8. Judith says

    It would be so easy for a former boybander trying to cut his chops outside the boyband market (i.e., appeal to male and older fans) to simply fall back on time-worn tropes that objectify women, but Niall has proven he can satisfy his legacy fans and gain new ones — of all ages and genders — without resorting to that lazy and misogynistic approach. Good on him!

  9. JEAN says

    Thank you for this insightful reviews! As a fan, I did enjoyed his album but didn’t really thought thoroughly & as in deep as you have pointed out. It made me see this amazing album in a different light & make me fall in love more. Also I agreed that this is a break up album but It’s diff in the way that It’s not blaming anyone but his search for finding out where it went wrong & his pain.

  10. Linda says

    All you have to do is listen to the whole album and you can see how he appreciates women by trying to communicate with them, listen to them or just be there for them. When he sings Flicker it still brings tears to my eyes, it ‘s haunting and beautiful.

  11. Chloe says

    Thank you so much for writing this meaningful article! I am so tired of all the articles about Niall being about his private life. It’s so refreshing to see someone dig deep into his lyrics and give them the appreciation they deserve. This is the kind of content Niall stans love to see. We salute you, legend

  12. Serin says

    So true . Agree with you. His album is indeed beautiful , especially the lyrics . Can’t wait for his next

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