Flicker (album)

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Flicker
Niall Horan Flicker.png
Studio album by Niall Horan
Released 20 October 2017 (2017-10-20)
Recorded March 2016 – 2017
Studio
Genre Folk pop[1]
Length 35:54
Label
Producer
Singles from Flicker
  1. "This Town"
    Released: 29 September 2016
  2. "Slow Hands"
    Released: 4 May 2017
  3. "Too Much to Ask"
    Released: 15 September 2017
  4. "On the Loose"
    Released: 20 February 2018
  5. "Seeing Blind"
    Released: 1 June 2018

Flicker is the debut studio album by Irish singer and songwriter Niall Horan. It was released on 20 October 2017 through Neon Haze Music and Capitol Records. "This Town" was released on 29 September 2016 as the album's lead single, followed by "Slow Hands", "Too Much to Ask", "On the Loose", and "Seeing Blind".

Background[edit]

In June 2016, Horan confirmed that he was working on his debut studio album, stating "I've been in the studio writing bits and pieces. It's just for fun at the moment. I've made relationships with different writers up and down the years so I'm putting them into action now."[2] In September 2016, it was announced that Horan had signed a solo deal with Capitol Records.[3]

Talking to the Daily Star, Horan said: "I have been working on [the album] since March 2016. It has been a year and a half in the making and it is finally time for people to hear it."[4] In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Horan stated that his upcoming new album was inspired by classic rock acts, including Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles. "Whenever I would pick up a guitar, I would always naturally play chords like that, and finger pick a lot and play that folky kind of style." He also described the collection as having a "folk-with-pop feel to it."[5]

In August 2017, Horan debuted several songs from the album during a live show at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London.[6] He also revealed that he had contacted Maren Morris to contribute to his song "Seeing Blind".[7] On 15 September 2017, Horan announced the album through his social media accounts, revealing the album's title, cover art and release date[8][9] as well as the release of the third single from the album, "Too Much to Ask".[10][11] The track list of the album was unveiled on 22 September 2017.[12][13][14] Horan told Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 Radio show that the album's title track, "Flicker", means the most to him and "was a very poignant moment in the recording process", to the extent that "it changed the way I recorded the rest of the album".[15]

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "This Town", was released along with its accompanying music video of a live performance on 29 September 2016. It was Horan's first single outside of the boy band One Direction.[16] Since its release, it has peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart,[17] and number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[18]

The second single, "Slow Hands", was released on 4 May 2017.[19] Upon release, it received favourable reviews from critics, with Billboard describing the song as a "R&B-inflected rock tune".[20] The single charted within the top 10 in a number of countries and reached number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

"Too Much to Ask" was released as the third single on 15 September 2017. The music video was uploaded to YouTube on 21 September 2017.

"On the Loose" was announced as the album's fourth single on 5 February 2018.[21] It impacted US Mainstream Top 40 radio on 20 February 2018.[22]

"Seeing Blind" was released as the album's fifth single in June 2018.[23] An official acoustic video clip was released on 4 June 2018.[24]

Promotion[edit]

To promote the album, Horan embarked on his first headlining concert tour, Flicker Sessions.[25] The tour was announced on 10 July 2017 via Horan's social media accounts and website. The concert tour launched on 29 August 2017 at Olympia Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.[26]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic64/100[27]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[28]
The Guardian2/5 stars[29]
The Independent3/5 stars[30]
The Irish Times2/5 stars[31]
NME3/5 stars[32]
The Telegraph3/5 stars[33]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 64 out of 100, which indicates "generally favorable reviews" based on 5 reviews.[27]

Nick Levine of NME was positive of the album, calling its content "appealingly simple and straightforward", noting Horan's influences of Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, concluding his review by praising it as a "promising" and "well-pitched" debut. Neil Yeung of AllMusic was similarly positive, noting Horan's "big first step" into musical maturity, finding his "own voice".

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian was less positive, calling it "middle of the road" and stating that "none of it is terribly exciting"; however, while adding that it may be "easy to mock", he later contrasted its content and potential positively against that of Horan's past bandmates, Harry Styles and Zayn Malik.

Commercial performance[edit]

In Ireland and the Netherlands, Flicker debuted at number one.[34][35] With 152,000 album-equivalent units and 128,000 copies sold in the United States, it also opened atop the Billboard 200,[36] tying One Direction with the Beatles for the most members (three) with a solo US number-one album.[37] Horan also became the group's third member to top the Canadian Albums Chart when the record entered at the summit with over 16,000 consumption units in the nation.[38] Elsewhere, the album debuted at number two in Australia[39] and Italy[40] while opening at number three in New Zealand,[41] Scotland,[42] and the United Kingdom.[43]

Track listing[edit]

Flicker – Standard edition[44]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."On the Loose"
Bunetta3:43
2."This Town"Greg Kurstin3:52
3."Seeing Blind" (with Maren Morris)Jacquire King3:05
4."Slow Hands"
3:07
5."Too Much to Ask"
  • Horan
  • Scott
Kurstin3:43
6."Paper Houses"King3:34
7."Since We're Alone"
Kurstin4:02
8."Flicker"
  • Horan
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
King4:18
9."Fire Away"
  • Horan
  • Bunetta
  • Ryan
  • Cunningham
Bunetta3:26
10."You and Me"
  • Horan
  • Radosevich
  • Cunningham
King3:04
Total length:35:54

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies an additional producer

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Flicker.[45]

Personnel and musicians[edit]

  • Niall Horan – lead vocals, guitar (1, 3-4, 6, 8-9, 11-13)
  • Maren Morris – featured artist (3)
  • AFTERHRS – synthesizer (4)
  • Vern Asbury – guitars (11)
  • Tom Barnes – drums (11), percussion (11)
  • Alisha Bauer – cello (8, 13)
  • Eli Beaird – bass (10)
  • Daniel Bryer – background vocals (12)
  • Julian Bunetta – background vocals (1, 4, 9), percussion (1), drums (9, 12), piano (9), bass (12), guitar (12), keyboards (12)
  • Ann Marie Calhoun – violin (2)
  • Matt Chamberlain – drums (1)
  • Daphne Chen – string quartet (8), violin (8, 13)
  • Irina Chirkova – cello (2)
  • Ruth-Anne Cunningham – background vocals (9, 10)
  • Eric Darken – percussion (3, 6, 10, 13)
  • Dave Emery – keyboards (4)
  • Ian Fitchuk – drums (10), piano (10)
  • Ian Franzino – bass (12), drums (12), guitar (12), keyboards (12)
  • Ilona Geller – viola (2)
  • Mark Goldenberg – guitar (1, 4)
  • Eric Gorfain – violin (8, 13)
  • Andrew Haas – bass (12), drums (12), guitar (12), keyboards (12)
  • Jedd Hughes – electric guitar (10)
  • John Joseph – bass guitar (3, 6, 8, 13)
  • Leah Katz – string quarter (8), viola (8, 13)
  • Peter Kelleher – organ (11)
  • Tommy King – keyboards (1), organ (4)
  • Sam Klempner – background vocals (11), bass guitar (11)
  • Ben Kohn – claps (11), bells (11)
  • Greg Kurstin – acoustic guitar (2, 7), bass (2, 5, 7), drums (2, 5, 7), guitar (2, 5), piano (2, 5, 7), keyboards (5), electric guitar (7), synthesizers (7)
  • Greg Leisz – acoustic guitar (2)
  • Todd Lombardo – acoustic guitar (10)
  • Val McCallum – guitar (1)
  • Mike Needle – background vocals (12)
  • Zac Rae – piano (3, 6, 8, 13), synthesizers (3, 6, 8, 13)
  • John Ryan – background vocals (9), guitar (4), bass (9)
  • Bridget Sarai – background vocals (7)
  • Jamie Scott – background vocals (5, 12)
  • Aaron Sterling – drums (3, 6, 8, 13), percussion (3, 6, 8, 13)
  • Chris Stills – background vocals (6)
  • Spencer Thomson – acoustic guitar (3, 6, 8, 13), electric guitar (3, 6, 8, 13), guitar (10)
  • Leah Zeger – violin (2)

Production[edit]

  • AFTERHRS – production (12), recording (12), additional production (4), programming (4)
  • Chris Bishop – additional vocal engineering (11)
  • Daniel Bryer – additional programming (12)
  • Julian Bunetta – production (1, 4, 9, 12), recording (1, 4, 9, 12), programming (12), additional recording (4)
  • Julian Burg – recording (2, 5, 7)
  • Nathan Dantzler – mastering
  • Eric Darken – drum programming (3, 6, 10, 13)
  • Brendan Dekora – recording assistant (3, 6, 8, 13)
  • Dave Emery – programming (4)
  • Ian Franzino – programming (12)
  • Michael Freeman – mixing assistant
  • Eric Gorfain – string arrangement (8, 13)
  • Eric Greedy – additional recording (4)
  • Andrew Haas – programming (12)
  • Martin Hannah – recording (12)
  • Jacquire King – production (3, 6, 8, 10, 13), recording (3, 6, 8, 10, 13), programming (3, 6, 8, 10, 13), session conductor (3, 6, 8, 13)
  • Sam Klempner – additional engineering (11)
  • Greg Kurstin – production (2, 5, 7), recording (2, 5, 7), string arrangement (2), drum programming (7)
  • Kolton Lee – vocal editing (3, 6, 8, 13)
  • Alex Pasco – recording (2, 5, 7)
  • John Rausch – recording (3, 6, 8, 10, 13)
  • Jamie Scott – recording (12), additional programming (12)
  • Mark "Spike" Stent – additional production (4), mixing, programming (4)
  • Spencer Thomson – programming (3, 6, 10, 13)
  • TMS – production (11), recording (11)

Design and management[edit]

  • Martha Braithwaite – business affairs
  • David Helfer – business affairs
  • Liz Isik – A&R admin
  • Conor McDonnell – interior gatefold photo
  • David Needleman – photography
  • Nick Steinhardt – design

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[73] Gold 35,000^
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[74] Gold 20,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[75] Platinum 80,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[76] 2× Platinum 30,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[77] Gold 30,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[78] Platinum 20,000*
Sweden (GLF)[79] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[80] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Ruby, Jennifer (5 September 2016). "Niall Horan 'signs solo record deal' with Universal instead of Simon Cowell's Syco". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 September 2017. 
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  5. ^ Bacle, Ariana (4 May 2017). "Niall Horan gets funky on new track, 'Slow Hands'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 25 September 2017. 
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  80. ^ "British album certifications – Niall Horan – Flicker". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 May 2018.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Enter Flicker in the search field and then press Enter.