It’s been more than a year since former 1D member Louis Tomlinson released solo material, but he announced his return to the music scene in February. It was difficult to know what to expect, given that his previous singles had all touched upon different forms of pop. “Back To You” – a Top 10 hit in the U.K. and Top 40 in the USA – was more urban-pop, whereas “Just Like You” went in a more indie-electro pop direction, and his latest release “Miss You” was a certified punk-pop song.
So when news broke that Tomlinson was releasing a single in March, his (pretty large, very active) fanbase was understandably excited and curious as to what sound he’d choose to reintroduce himself. Would all the waiting end up being worth it?
Thankfully, it’s not even up for debate. “Two Of Us” has definitely proven itself as a worthy first official single of Tomlinson’s forthcoming debut album later this year. The song is a very personal, vulnerable ode to Louis’ own mother who passed away in 2016. He commented that writing the song was a somewhat cathartic, therapeutic experience for him – something he needed to do and get off his chest. That he then chose to share it with the world, in hopes that his story might help others, is a commendable and brave feat. Grief is one of life’s most painful experiences and something that never truly goes away, yet Tomlinson managed to somehow flip an inevitably sad song into an incredibly empowering pop power ballad.
The track starts off with just piano and Tomlinson’s emotional delivery of lyrics that acknowledge the aching loss and hole that someone leaves behind. Calling someone’s old voicemail, just so you can hear their voice and pretend for a second they never left is painfully recognisable. But instead of succumbing to the sadness, the song builds to a steady drumbeat as Tomlinson sings about honouring his mother, and pledges to live “one life for the two of us. Aided by strings and a stripped down outro, Tomlinson vows to be the best version of himself in a heartfelt final lyric about all that matters to him: “just you and me and no one else.”
Music can touch us sometimes in ways that we didn’t expect, or didn’t foresee. It can help us understand and recognise our own feelings, help us process, help us heal. That’s what this song does – it touches you, and it makes you feel. It’s raw and painful, and it acknowledges the struggle of having to move on with your life when your heart will forever be incomplete. But it’s also inspirational, hopeful, and real. “Two Of Us” is an incredibly strong, promising start to Tomlinson’s solo career in 2019.