Niall Horan has joined Chris Martin, John Legend and Charlie Puth in livestreaming for Global Citizen and the World Health Organization’s Together at Home virtual concert series. The IGTV broadcasts this week are part of WHO’s campaign for their Solidarity Response Fund, created to help victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus worldwide.
Horan, who released his second solo album Heartbreak Weather last week, performed on the livestream with just an acoustic guitar, playing a mixture of past hits (from his first album Flicker) and new songs like “Slow Hands,” “No Judgment,” “Nice To Meet Ya,” “This Town,” “Flicker,” “Black and White” and more.
The One Direction member also stressed the importance of staying inside, washing your hands and keeping a distance from elderly people, noting that his family had been communicating with his own grandmother only over the phone and through the window of her house.
“People my age aren’t really taking this seriously,” he said. He urged everyone to “not hang out with your mates” during the crisis, or otherwise risk catching the virus and spreading it to immunocompromised people.
On the title track, Horan posits that love has a magical, transformational power that can shift the cosmos and make lonely boys feel complete. He follows this disclosure with “Black and White,” a soaring declaration of eternal devotion. “I promise that I’ll love you for the rest of my life,” Horan belts, in between weepy visions of their wedding day and homely golden years. It’s difficult to feel moved by the stakes of these grandiose statements because their meanings are so cliché, and not in the way that feels refreshingly familiar.
After these blasts of sunshine, storm clouds gather. Across the rest of Heartbreak Weather, Horan is stuck in two mindsets: bereft or coltish, either haunted by the memory of a lover, or desperately trying to scrub her away. There’s no explanation for why the relationship worthy of celestial exaltation dissipates other than that the music starts to move from generic anthems into a confusing mix of bleeding-heart ballads and Fleetwood Mac-indebted pop-rock. As on Flicker, Horan is a co-writer on every song and he is joined by Teddy Geiger, Tobias Jesso Jr., Greg Kurstin, Scott Harris, and 1D regular Julian Bunetta. Horan’s songwriting seemingly works only in unwavering extremes. When he’s blue, like on the painfully maudlin “Dear Patience” or the piano-driven breakup ballad “Put a Little Love on Me,” it’s as if the sky is falling. When he’s hurt by a lover, as on “Bend the Rules” he is the picture of gentlemanly restraint. “I pour myself a glass, it won’t be the last/Just our medicine for now,” he forlornly rumbles. (Confusingly, Horan has referred to this song as his “Streets of Philadelphia” moment, a song written in response to the AIDS epidemic.) When he’s frisky, as in say, “Small Talk,” he invokes feral wolves and roaring flames. Over and over again, he goes through the motions without ever really looking inward.
In an interview with Apple Music, Horan said that despite his intention to cover a variety of perspectives, the songs will “probably still sound selfish.” It’s not exactly that Heartbreak Weather is selfish—Horan sounds too adrift for true narcissism—but it’s superficial. The women in his songs are painfully one-dimensional. Rather than defining them at all, Horan and his songwriters reduce them into faceless placeholders tasked with helping the singer move on. On the boogie-down track “New Angel,” a forsaken Horan craves a distraction from his lovesick psyche. “I need a new angel/A touch of someone else to save me from myself,” he croons, “....I’m hoping you get her out of my mind.” Horan repeatedly writes himself into similar emotional pickles, finding solace in the arms of a stranger while fixated with someone else. It’s a valid post-breakup experience, but it simultaneously limits the already narrow role women have on the record.
After all the sentimental rigamarole, it’s tough to come away from Heartbreak Weather feeling any closer to Horan. He spends too much of the record bouncing between sounds and songwriting concepts to feel distinct. But on the record’s closer, the acoustic ballad “Still,” Horan sounds like he genuinely wants, or even needs an emotional reckoning. It’s the realest, rawest moment on the record and a small bit of proof that Horan has the potential to make it on his own.
Heartbreak Weather is Horan's second consecutive number one album, following 2017's Flicker.
On the singles charts, Saint Jhn claims a third consecutive week with 'Roses', and The Weeknd takes the second slot with 'Blinding Lights'. Horan's single 'No Judgement' becomes his fifth top 10 hit.
Mabel’s new single Boyfriend hits a new high of 25, up 14 places, and two new entries secure a place in the Top 50; Northern Irish DJ Robbie Doherty and Irish house duo Keees enter at 46 with 'Pour The Milk', and Doja Cat claims her third chart hit of the week with 'Like That' ft. Gucci Mane at 50.
Official Irish Album Charts Top 5:
1. Heartbreak Weather - Niall Horan 2. Divinely Inspired to a Hellish Extent - Lewis Capaldi 3. Eternal Atake - Lil Uzi Vert 4. Without Fear - Dermot Kennedy 5. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? - Billie Eilish
Official Irish Singles Chart Top 5: 1. Roses - Saint Jhn 2. Blinding Lights - The Weeknd 3. The Box - Roddy Ricch 4. Say So - Doja Cat 5. Say So - Doja Cat
When Niall Horan’s album Heartbreak Weather dropped, fans speculated that a lot of songs were about his ex-girlfriend Hailee Steinfeld. And now, Niall has seemingly confirmed that Hailee definitely knows the tracks were about her.
What’s up guys? It’s Sussan Mourad here with Clevver News and don’t worry Clevver isn’t going anywhere! We are still going to be delivering you all the celebrity news that you need to know, we are just continuing to work from home and social distance to do our part in preventing the spread of Coronavirus.
Before most last-night TV went off the air, Niall Horan was all over it, having spent a week guesting on The Late Late Show. While these shows aren’t currently taping from their usual studios due to the coronavirus, they have started sharing more low-key episodes filmed in the homes of their hosts. Jimmy Fallon has been doing that with The Tonight Show: At Home Edition, and on yesterday’s installment, he was joined (virtually, of course) by Horan.
During their chat, Horan told Fallon that while quarantining, he has been working on new music, cooking, and going for runs. He noted, “Definitely finding it relatively hard to get motivated when all I can do is sit in my living room.” Horan added that he’s feeling a bit down about his tour and promotional efforts being temporarily shelved due to the coronavirus.
Elsewhere on the program, Horan showed off his improvised golf putting green, which is just a toilet paper tube at the end of a hallway. Also on the show, he also served up an intimate acoustic guitar performance of “Dear Patience” and promoted Meals On Wheels, the cause Horan has chosen to support during these trying times.