Louis Tomlinson’s debut album: hit or miss

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Louis Tomlinson Official

"Walls" features 12 tracks in total. These include earlier released singles "Kill My Mind," "Don't Let It Break Your Heart," "We Made it" and "Walls."

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Following his former One Direction bandmates Harry Styles and Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson released his debut album, “Walls,” on Jan. 31. As the last One Direction member to release a solo album, Tomlinson faced high expectations. 

Opening with upbeat, Britpop song “Kill My Mind,” the stage was set for a promising album. As I kept listening, I wasn’t disappointed as much as I was surprised. For such a strong opener, “Walls” had an extremely mellow tone. “Don’t Let it Break Your Heart,” “Too Young,” “Fearless” and “Perfect Now” more or less sound like continuations of the same-minded song with a decent tune but similarly gentle guitar and pleasant lyrics. 

As a diehard One Direction-er myself, I couldn’t help but notice the way Tomlinson’s music seemed to reminisce about his boy-band days. “We Made it” is a mid-tempo song that celebrates triumphs, while “Too Young” is nostalgia in a song. Both of these could easily remind listeners of the best of One Direction.

As an album, “Walls” doesn’t stand out. The songs themselves are melodious but just short of catchy. However, Tomlinson demonstrates his songwriting potential in “Two of Us,” an emotional tribute to his late mother, Johannah Deakin. For all the sweet writing in his other songs, this is the only song where I physically felt the weight of his words. Similarly, the last track on the album, “Only for the Brave,” is a short acoustic piece. Despite already having multiple songs about standing on your own, this song could have carried the message on its own. 

In 2019, Tomlinson released a statement about how he was going to focus on writing his own music instead of hits. He may have missed the mark with “Walls,” but he has already proven that he has what it takes to write songs. Once he leaves the edges of his comfort zone, all this One Direction wistfulness should be nothing but a sentimental memory.