Niall Horan’s The Show, his third solo album and first since 2020’s chart-topping Heartbreak Weather, matches the pure emotion of his globally beloved past work with a powerful new element of soul-searching reflection.
A near-lifelong songwriter who taught himself to play guitar as a kid in Ireland, and who names attending an Eagles concert at age four as a pivotal moment in shaping his sensibilities, Niall Horan has sold over 80 million records and toured the globe multiple times as part of the iconic One Direction. Now, he enters a new era of his career with The Show, a body of work born of his longtime mission of bringing solace and connection to his globe-spanning community of passionately devoted fans.
A deeply felt meditation on everything from mental health to the infinite complexity and uncertainty of love, The Show is an endlessly spellbinding statement on following your heart to its absolute truth. Built on a lush and radiant form of alt-pop, it draws much of its mesmerizing power from his use of harmonies, an element inspired by Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, and other members of the ’60s and ’70s music scene in Laurel Canyon.
He wrote the soulful, shimmering track “Heaven” with John Ryan and Joel Little, who also produced, and Tobias Jesso Jr. (Adele, Sia) during an idyllic trip to Southern California’s Mojave Desert. In a striking contrast to its gorgeous convergence of airy harmonies and glistening synth, “Heaven” ultimately delivers a defiant refusal to play along with the arbitrary rules that society imposes. “There’s so much pressure for people to hit certain milestones by a certain age – you get married at this age, buy a house at that age, have kids at some other age,” says Horan. “But I’ve never conformed to those ideas, and so I wanted to write about how we all should just focus on enjoying our lives and doing what feels right, instead of worrying about what might be expected of us.”
On the single “Meltdown,” Niall Horan offers up a feverish anthem that perfectly captures the frenzy of anxiety, then twists the track’s chorus into a moment of sweet reassurance for his fans - “When it all melts down, I’ll be there.” With songs like “Meltdown,” Horan illuminates the driving force behind his more intentional approach to songwriting: a heartfelt desire to provide his fans with the same sense of catharsis that he unfailingly finds in music. “Whenever I’m having some kind of issue, the easiest thing is to sit at the piano and let it all out, and it’s not until I listen back that I realize, ‘Jesus, that was honest,’” he explains.
Originally from Mullingar, Ireland, Horan has sold over 80 million records and toured the globe multiple times as part of the iconic One Direction. In 2017, he made his full-length solo debut with Flicker, a platinum-certified, chart-topping album featuring the triple-platinum single “Slow Hands.” In 2020, Heartbreak Weather took the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Top Album Sales tally and the U.K.’s Official Albums chart and earned praise from the likes of NPR, Rolling Stone, and American Songwriter. In addition, Horan joined NBC’s The Voice this season as a new coach.