When the British pop sensation boy band One Direction broke up in 2015 (or allegedly went on “hiatus,” but we all know that was just them covering up the fact that they were disbanding), most of its members started releasing solo music, making a name for themselves outside of the heavily branded band.
Most members released albums within two years of leaving the band. Zayn Malik was first, with his album “Mind of Mine” in 2016, followed by Harry Styles in early 2017, Niall Horan in late 2017 and Liam with his EP “First Time” in 2018. All that was left was Louis Tomlinson, who released a few singles in 2017 but left radio silence for fans in the years after.
He broke that silence last month with the release of his debut solo album “Walls,” which features tributes to his late mother and sister, who both passed away within a three-year time span.
This album surprised me. Based on his singles, which were mainly EDM and synth-pop, I expected “Walls” to be of the same genre. When I started listening to it, the first track, “Kill My Mind,” kind of lived up to that. But, as I continued to listen, Tomlinson’s style proved to be more rock ballad-type than anything else.
Some of the songs on this album are incredibly heartbreaking. “Two of Us” appears to be a song for his mother, who passed away in 2016 after a short battle with leukemia.
He tells the story of missing her through lyrics like “You’ll never know how much I miss you / The day that they took you. I wish it was me instead.”
I would like to quote the entire song, but I have a limited amount of space, so you’ll just have to take my word for it and listen to it.
“Don’t Let it Break Your Heart” is the perfect song if you’re going through something bad and looking for a reminder that you won’t be going through it forever.
Tomlinson reminds his fans, and most likely himself as well, that healing from emotional trauma takes time, but you shouldn’t let it break your heart and bring you down.
Many of the songs on this album are like that. They have a sadder, melancholy tone to them. The only ones that are more upbeat are “Kill My Mind” and “We Made It.”
Even those tracks make it clear that Tomlinson had a rocky start to his solo career due to several hardships he had to overcome in his personal life after One Direction disbanded.
To me, Tomlinson is the one member from One Direction who retained the sound of the band in his songs. “Walls” could easily be a sixth album for the band.
This is probably due to the fact that many of the songs on One Direction’s albums were written by Tomlinson, who had the biggest role in songwriting of any of the band’s members during their tenure.
I’m proud of this album, and I’m glad Tomlinson waited so long to release his first album. It’s clear that he took time on it and wanted to craft it to be perfect for himself and his audience.
Each track is based on an event in his life that shaped him, which gives the album substance and allows for a more pensive listening experience.
I highly recommend you check out Louis Tomlinson’s album “Walls.”
It’s available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music now.