Harry Styles & Niall Horan: An Emotional Maturity Scale

After my freshman year of high school, my two cousins and I flew from Chicago to LA for a long weekend that just happened to be the same weekend One Direction’s debut tour passed through the City of Angels. This was the beginning of my interest in the group which has sustained until now — nearly 10 years later. Needless to say, I was thrilled when all members of the band released solo music within a few months of each other.

Harry’s album, Fine Line is spectacular. The musicality and the story line along the tracks give you a painful insight of his crashing in love to the heartbreak that follows and the eventual reconciliation with moving on from the past. We get Paul McCartney and James Taylor vibes all throughout.

After listening to Niall Horan’s newest album, Heartbreak Weather, I can’t help but compare the two former band members. Niall’s music is full of negative language that essentially blames this woman for his feelings. After listening to all the songs, I think he needs to figure out a better post breakup coping mechanism.

The two opposite breakup reactions blew my mind. The artists have had very similar last few years, are about the same age and in the same industry. Unintentionally, they have created a spectrum of emotional maturity that I can classify nearly every male (okay, female too but that isn’t what we’re focusing on here) I know along. Harry addresses his own flaws, calling out his faults in numerous songs, owning up to his mistakes and then giving credit to the woman who he shared such an important and formative time with. Niall tends to play the blame game with his ex-partner. He sings about the breakup and then immediately goes to sleeping around with girls, one night stands and then feeling either guilty about it or like a “powerful man”. This leads me to believe that Niall has pushed away feelings acknowledging the past by ignoring his heart and moving on before he is ready. This is a recipe for disaster, but also brings excitement for what his next album has the potential to be — an self-actualizing introspective piece of art? Who knows?? We have seen what Harry is capable of, while I think Niall should strive to hit his mark a little higher next time. Heartbreak Weather seems like therapy which is great, but the product after therapy can be even better.

John Mayer had an Instagram live the other day (everyone should follow John Mayer on Instagram) where he said he can’t write a song about his feelings of anxiety and dread during this Coronavirus right now because you need to take the time to let it all sink in. He said you don’t write a breakup song as it is happening and demonstrates this while acting out a breakup scene and writing down emotional (and beautiful) lyrics on a pad of post it notes and asks the imaginary partner to use her phone so he can record a voice memo. This is exactly what Niall did — he didn’t take the time to listen to his heart and hear what he needed to hear from himself. Instead, he threw himself into the writing process and churned out an album before he was actually ready to create something worth listening to. I don’t mean to say there aren’t a few good songs here because I really like San Francisco and Black & White. The music is so similar to the likes of One Direction — very pop-y. They don’t show off that he was the only member of the band who actually knew how to play an instrument while they were in the band. He needs to play off his strengths along with his emotions. While I think raw emotions are important, there are other ones that make better songs for an album and can paint him in a better light instead of a selfish guy who can’t take responsibility for his role in a relationship.

I’m looking forward to see what comes next — how the sounds change over time. This may seem like a bash on Niall’s music, but it’s not. These are simply my observations! Thoughts?

Originally published at https://christine-michelle.medium.com/ on April 9, 2020.

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