top of page

The Show is Here, Get Ready for the Ride

By Dani McKenzie | 28 June 2023

On June 9th, Niall Horan's long-awaited third album was finally released. The Show overflows with moments that give you chills, leave you grinning, and make you cry tears you didn’t know you needed to cry. It is a beautiful culmination of Niall Horan's growth as an artist in every way.

The Show puts Horan's insecurities and struggles out there to further connect with his audience. He lays his stories bare while still getting groovy with it. With a discography already marked by a striking genuineness and endless evolution of artistry, The Show is another beautiful, intricate trophy to join Niall Horan's many accomplishments.

1. "Heaven":

"Heaven" provides a perfect opener for The Show. A hopeful song with an ethereal chorus, "Heaven" is overwhelming with love. As the first song on the album and the first released single, "Heaven" sets the scene and displays hints of nostalgia and evolution that encompass the entirety of the album.

2. "If You Leave Me":

"If You Leave Me" presents a vibe change from its previous counterpart, carrying a wonderfully funky bassline. It provides a very different feel to Horan's past solo discography, but makes subtle callbacks to a bit of the later One Direction albums; the song even sounds like it could easily fit into 5 Seconds of Summer's discography. The lyrics continue the lovestruck, head over heels theme that plays throughout the album. Horan muses on the terrible things that might happen if his lover leaves him, all to a beat that keeps you nodding your head from start to finish.

3. "Meltdown":

Therapy is expensive, "Meltdown" by Niall Horan is cheap and readily available (this is a joke please go to therapy). "Meltdown" is yet another example of Horan's masterclass on pairing profound messages in his lyricism accompanied by the boppiest bop ever. This song feels like Horan is taking your hand to get up and dance, squeezing it three times just to let you know that you're not alone.

4. "Never Grow Up":

I don't know how Niall Horan manages to make at least one perfect wedding song in every album, but here we are. "Never Grow Up" is easily one of my favorite songs in his entire discography. It's a simple song, a lovely tune filled with Horan's hopes of retaining the goodness of his relationship forever. The very beginning draws some similarities to his friend Ashe, but the piano is nothing less than Billy Joel-esque. Of course, the Heartbreak Weather similarities simply cannot be ignored either. He paints a perfect picture with his lyricism and leaves his audience's hearts full as can be.

5. "The Show":

As a Directioner I already knew this song would hurt, but my goodness."The Show" opens with a chill-inducing, haunting, slow start. It contrasts the good and the bad of Horan’s life as a musician. And my god that bridge is just incredible. It separates the song, picking it up with the indelible line "Looking at the sun our whole lives / We're blinded by the lights." I can't help but watch the "History" music video play in the back of my mind when I hear this song.

6. "You Could Start A Cult":

"You Could Start A Cult" is a song of utter devotion. It is simple and beautiful, and feels like a live recording. (Which it kind of is?) This song feels like sitting on a porch swing watching the sunrise in the summertime. I will quite literally never get over the genius of this song’s concept: "Baby, you could start a cult you see / Anywhere you go I'll be" paired with the line "I'll follow you 'til there's no tomorrow." Can we please talk about that harmonica?! Don't even get me started on the piano at the end.

7. "Save My Life":

"Save My Life" is bursting with happiness. It is a perfect summer anthem and takes Horan's already incredibly positive persona to new heights. "Save My Life" could have easily been an '80s TV show theme song. And my goodness the horns throughout and that sax at the end are just incredible. Iconic is not a strong enough word. I am absolutely OBSESSED with this song.

8. "On A Night Like Tonight":

"On A Night Like Tonight" takes you straight to outer space before becoming another insanely funky tune. I have to give a shoutout to yet another crazy good bassline and don't even get me started on those harmonies. Horan creates an ambience in this song that is fairly unprecedented in his discography so far. It just gets better the longer you listen. Close your eyes and let it transport you.

9. "Science":

Alright I'm going to be really honest with you all: I bawled my eyes out. This song left me absolutely speechless with tears pouring down my cheeks. It feels like Horan's equivalent of Harry Styles's "Matilda" or "Fine Line", or Louis Tomlinson's "Don't Let It Break Your Heart". It's the more heart-wrenching, other side of the coin to Meltdown, providing that same support and reassurance in a more serious tone. Since his first album Horan has made it abundantly clear how important it is for him to let his audience know they will be okay. "Science" may just be the pinnacle of this. (And the Flicker vibes…)

10. "Must Be Love":

"Must Be Love" begins with Horan directly referring to himself, or rather pretty brutally picking himself apart. The verses feature Horan putting his perceived faults on display only to then smoothly transition into the carefree, floaty chorus. The "lalalalalalala"s just never miss. This is a perfect end to the album, a hopeful, happy high-note to close an album that overflows with love.

As a long time fan of Niall Horan, there are many reasons why this album made me as emotional as it did. For one, I am unbelievably proud of Niall. Having had the pleasure of being able to watch him grow and continue to make such incredible music, this album is such a beautiful culmination of his career so far. The Show is also just objectively so wonderful. The stories it tells and the overarching positive messages and vibes it portrays make it not only an album that sounds good, but feels good. And finally, this album is going to be absolutely insane live. (See you next year Nialler! Here’s to The Show!)

All photos via @NiallOfficial on Twitter


bottom of page