Photo: Zackery Michael

Niall Horan – Heaven

Having sold millions of records and toured the globe multiple times as part of the legendary One Direction, Niall Horan is a name everybody knows. And if you don’t, you must’ve been living under a rock. For a band formed as teenagers on the British version of The X Factor, their rise to stardom saw five strangers become, not only best friends but, modern pop messiahs who did more in their five years together than most bands do in their entire careers. While pursuing philanthropic adventures, the fivesome released five albums that sold more than 70 million copies worldwide, filmed one concert documentary and two tour films, and completed multiple world tours. It’s safe to say they had a good run. Since disbanding and going their separate ways, Horan has taken his sweet time between releases in comparison to his boyband days. Now, gearing up for his new era, he’s offering an abundance of love in his new single “Heaven,” a soulful, shimmering track that crosses the line from romantic infatuation to full-blown obsession.

Reminiscing on a love that leaves you feeling weightless, the romantic track builds on a lush form of alt-pop and matches the pure emotion of the heart-throbs beloved previous works. The toe-tapping tune, which strikingly contrasts its gorgeous convergence of airy harmonies and glistening synths, ultimately delivers a defiant refusal to play along with the arbitrary rules that society imposes as Horan conversationally delivers countless charming lines such as “you’re made of something new” and “how I obsessively adore you” over a plucky bassline and thumping percussion.

As the near-lifelong guitar player continues to proclaim that heaven would be unbearable without the person he desires, the rest of the track equally tugs at the heartstrings and reminds its audience to appreciate the small things in life. “There’s so much pressure for people to hit certain milestones by a certain age,” says Horan in a press release. “You get married at this age, buy a house at that age, have kids at some other age,” he lists. “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.”

Ahead of its release, marking the beginning of The Show, Horan penned a letter to his fans on video where he addressed his anxiety about returning to music after three years. “What makes this record incredibly special to me is it’s a reflection of where I am in my life today, as a person, a musician, and of course, as a songwriter,” he notes. “Can’t say I’m not a little nervous, but hopefully you’ll still like this version of me when you listen to the new record.” Don’t worry Niall, we promise no-one could dislike you if they tried.