By: Tiffany Chang, Peak Associate
Four years after One Direction announced their hiatus, former band member Louis Tomlinson finally released his first solo studio album, Walls, in January of 2020. As a huge fan of Tomlinson since his days in the world-renowned boyband, I was thrilled to hear the new songs.
Having stayed within the pop genre for over a decade, I wondered if Walls would be a departure from this. Tomlinson’s previous projects have included a handful of fast-paced stand-alone singles, including “Back To You” featuring Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals, and “Miss You” in 2017 prior to Walls.
Though this album, too, falls within the genre of pop, it shows a more emotional side of Tomlinson. Listening to the tracks, I could definitely tell how much heart and soul he put into them.
In “Two of Us,” Tomlinson discusses losing a loved one, vowing to them that he will live his best life for the both of them. A tear-jerker from start to finish, this number showcases Tomlinson’s incredible song-writing prowess. With heartfelt lyrics and a beautiful melody, “Two of Us” is absolute perfection and remains my favourite song off the album.
“Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” is about going through challenging times but having hope and not allowing these times to dim your light. Evocative lyrics such as, “It comes, it goes, we’re driving down a one-way road to something better” coupled with a prominent drumbeat make “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” a great sing-along tune. It also incorporated pop-rock elements reminiscent of One Direction — a nostalgic component existing fans will appreciate.
While “Two of Us” highlights Tomlinson’s song-writing, “Too Young” exhibits his singing talent more than any other song on Walls. He consistently goes back and forth between his head (falsetto) and chest (vibrato) voice throughout, which allows people to hear the various dimensions of his unique tone. The power, restraint, and control he demonstrates truly validates him as a strong vocalist.
Another strong display of his vulnerability is in “Defenceless” which examines the emotional trials and tribulations that occur in a relationship. He touches on the day-to-day anxieties when considering the feelings of his significant other and comparing them to his own. This is an insightful song that encompasses various poignant nuances concerning love that I don’t hear quite often.
Overall, Tomlinson asserts his individuality and simultaneously stays true to his roots. Honestly, he couldn’t have done a better job re-introducing himself to the world. If he keeps coming up with soulful records like Walls, he’s going to have an amazing career as a solo artist ahead of him. Walls is definitely a recommendation for those looking for a great pop album.