The Show

The Show

Niall Horan's second album Heartbreak Weather came out in early March 2020—as the pandemic was forcing everyone indoors. The Irish singer-songwriter's promotional tour was canceled, and he went home to regroup—the first time he'd had a chance to sit still and think since he broke through as a member of One Direction in the early 2010s. “I was like, ‘All right, okay, I don't think we're going anywhere for a while, I'll sit still and take this as still time for the first time,’” he tells Apple Music's Zane Lowe. The Show, Horan's third album, began coming together a few months later when he walked over to the piano in his house and began playing. “The first line I wrote was ‘Life is like a board game some of the time,’” he recalled. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, okay.’” That sweeping title track draws on Horan's experiences as one of the world's most scrutinized pop stars to offer support to people going through tough times, noting that if life was constantly easy, people wouldn't be able to appreciate the sunnier moments. When he'd finished it, he knew he was ready to embark on his next chapter. “I felt like, 'Right, we're away, we're out the gates,’” he says. The Show, Horan says, is “the most emotional record I've made.” The sleek 10-song collection shows off his airy voice on plainspoken pop songs like the anthemic “Heaven,” upbeat guitar-rock cuts like the breezy “Save My Life,” and the supportive ballad “Science.” Throughout, his lyrics dig deeply into emotions and relationships in a new way, the result of him finally having a moment to breathe. “I'd had this massive period of reflection looking into the future a bit,” he says, “looking left and right more than I'd ever done.”

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