Niall Horan’s musical evolution from Flicker to Heartbreak Weather

What to expect from his sophomore album based on what we know now.


When an artist follows up a very successful debut album, there are generally two ways the sophomore effort can be received. It can fall flat, not living up to its predecessor. Or, demonstrating growth in both writing and musicality, it can be a smash.

Fans evolve over time and expect their favs to do the same. With Niall Horan set to drop his second solo album, Heartbreak Weather, on March 13 and almost two and a half years after the release of Flicker, he’s poised to be two for two in the hit record category.

So far, we’ve seen three new singles from Heartbreak Weather: the decidedly rock-driven “Nice to Meet Ya”, the haunting and heartbreaking “Put A Little Love on Me” and his latest release, the banger “No Judgement,” which is meant to hold us over until the full album is delivered.

Although we are hearing a less folky sound from Niall this time around, the similarities between the two albums are undeniably similar. Following up his smash hit “Slow Hands”, “Nice to Meet Ya” is the continuation and the backstory all in one fun package. While NTMY tells us how we got there and how things worked out, “Slow Hands” fills in the blanks in a way that makes us blush just a little.

“Put a Little Love on Me” seems to follow the relationship we first heard about in the title track “Flicker”. In both instances, we’re watching a heart-wrenching end, his masterful writing allowing us to apply his heartache to our own experiences. This creates a powerful dynamic between artist and fan, also perhaps giving a glimpse into the inspiration for the title of the album, Heartbreak Weather.

“Mirrors” was never released as a single from Flicker, but the empowering anthem gave his most vulnerable followers a voice. It tells the story of a woman uncomfortable in her own skin, letting her know that she’s seen and valued. And while at first blush, “No Judgement” seems to spin a different tale, it’s still a story of acceptance and value in one’s true skin.

Niall even took to Twitter in a #NoJudgementChallenge and posted what he considered bad pictures of himself (as if there ever was such a thing) and encouraged fans to do the same. Creating a place where everyone is free to be who they are.

The beauty of what we’re seeing from Horan is that he’s continuing to be true to himself and his growth as an artist while keeping his fans in a comfortable, reliable space. The sound of the music may be taking a turn from 70s folk to 80s/90s rock, but Niall is still Niall. We can still move through heartbreak and the exhilaration of something new and know that there’s, well, no judgement.

We have eleven, as yet, unheard tracks to explore off Heartbreak Weather and there’s no doubt it’ll be worth the wait.

Listen to all of Niall’s songs here while you’re waiting for March 13 to bring us Heartbreak Weather

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