Niall Horan’s New Standout Album
While PC students are sad about leaving campus and their friends as summer approaches, another summer means the return of some of life’s greatest pleasures. Sunshine, seeing friends and family at home, free time, and best of all: new music. Summer is arguably the best time to listen to music, with warm weather and the windows down. One of this year’s most anticipated albums is set to release right at the start of summer; that is, The Show by Niall Horan.
Niall Horan is a 29-year-old Irish singer-songwriter who came from humble beginnings. His professional career began when he competed on The X-Factor at age 16. Horan was one of the lucky five contestants who were chosen to form a group with each other. He, along with Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik came together and created One Direction. While the band came in third in the UK singing competition, they signed a record contract under judge Simon Cowell shortly after the show’s finale. Less than a year later, the group released their debut single, the ever-recognizable “What Makes You Beautiful.” The song was a major success and the band immediately rose to fame. When the album was released internationally, the boys became the first band from the UK to have their debut album hit number one in the United States. Horan participated in four more albums with One Direction before the band’s official breakup in early 2016.
In September 2016, Horan began his solo career when he released his debut single, “This Town” under Capitol Records. The second single (“Slow Hands”) came in May of the following year. Both singles were a success, breaking the top ten on Billboard charts. The full album was released in October 2017 and landed a number one spot. Horan’s second studio album, Heartbreak Weather, came in 2020, but the tour was canceled due to the pandemic. Despite the cancellation, Heartbreak Weather still made it to number one on the UK charts and number four in the U.S.
Now, after an almost three-year hiatus, Horan is back with more music. The singer-songwriter took to Instagram for the announcement of his third studio album, The Show, set to release on June 9. The album will include 10 tracks, the names of which have been released on his Instagram. The album’s first single, “Heaven,” was released shortly after the album announcement, and became Horan’s seventh song to make it to the Billboard Hot 100. Just last week the second single off the album was released, titled “Meltdown.” In a podcast called “Every Single Album,” Horan explained how the new song is deep in meaning, but is set to a very high tempo to mimic the fast-paced heartbeat one might feel during times of anxiety. Regarding the rest of the album, Horan created an album trailer, released on various social media platforms, where he spoke about the creation of the album and his relationship with the music and his fans. The video opens with a thank you to his listeners for being patient with him, as he has spent the last 18 months working on this new record. He admits to nerves, saying that it is scary to be away for so long, and he hopes the fans still like what he has to share. Horan also opened up about how incredibly special the record is to him, explaining how the music is a reflection of where he is in his life at the present moment. He encourages his fans to make the music their own, saying, “these songs are for you as much as they are for me.” Horan closed the trailer with another thank you to his fans and welcomed them to the new era of The Show.
A New Day for Swifties
Taylor Swift Reveals Release of Yet Another Album
After a busy two years, Taylor Swift is soon to release her fifth album. This will be her 10th studio album, titled Midnights, and will be released on Oct. 21. The album will be composed of 13 songs representing a sleepless night in the artist’s life. Swift teased the content of the album, saying that each song was written throughout her life, always in the dark of night.
Swift announced that she is planning on releasing a new album at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 28. The announcement was made after the artist won video of the year for her 10-minute version of the song “All Too Well,” which she recorded as a short film. The short film is a few seconds short of 15 minutes long, with over 74 million views on YouTube, making it one of the most famous music videos from 2021. The film stars actors Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink who act out the relationship that Taylor Swift had with her ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal. The song gained so much popularity that it beat the Guinness World Record for the longest song to ever reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
After thanking her fans for supporting her throughout her music career, Swift announced that she plans to release a brand-new album this fall. She stated that all the constant encouragement from her fans has motivated her to continue to release new music. The artist stated at the MTV’s, “I had sort of made up my mind that if you were going to be this generous and give us this, I thought it might be a fun moment to tell you that my brand-new album comes out Oct. 21.” After winning the video of the year award for her short film, the artist was delighted to speak on the release of a new album.
As usual, Swift’s fans are looking for clues about the upcoming album throughout the singer’s social media and her public appearances, attempting to find hints about the new album. The singer has not confirmed any of the clues so far. Swift released two albums two years ago in 2020, Folklore and Evermore before she began rerecording her old albums after issues with her old record label. In 2021, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version) were released, her first re-recorded albums now under her name and authority. Taylor was inspired to re-record after her old record label made a $300 million dollar deal to sell the pieces. This sparked Swift’s interest to re-record her work, stating on “Good Morning America” that she thinks, “artists deserve to own their work. I just feel very passionately about that.”
Fans across the world are waiting in anticipation for Oct. 21, when listeners can “meet [her] at midnight” as Swift posted on her Instagram.
Album Review: Dawn FM
Album Review: Dawn FM
The Weeknd Takes Us on a Trip Through Purgatory
Olivia Riportella ’25
The sudden release of R&B/pop icon The Weeknd’s new album Dawn FM on Jan. 7 has taken the world by storm. Featuring artists such as Tyler the Creator, Lil Wayne, Oneohtrix Point Never, Jim Carrey, Quincy Jones, and Swedish House Mafia, this album is packed with exciting contributions. It is on track to be one of the superstar’s most critically-acclaimed records, featuring 16 songs for a total of 51 minutes and 49 seconds.
Dawn FM is the most intriguing release by Abel Tesfaye thus far, and certainly one of the most intriguing pop albums in years. Tesfaye has said that the record is conceptualized around the experience of listening to a retro-pop radio station while sitting in traffic in a tunnel, but the tunnel is actually purgatory. This vision makes for a fascinatingly compelling narrative, and picks up from where his 2020 release, After Hours, left off in its storyline.
After Hours was a dancefloor record released in the midst of a global pandemic, when all dancefloors were shut down. It served as a way for The Weeknd to come to terms with his depression and darker feelings during what seemed to be the end of the world. After Hours concludes with Tesfaye’s character’s death in the angst-filled final song, “Until I Bleed Out.” Dawn FM continues the character’s journey, opening with pastoral winds and bird sounds as he looks out to the light at the end of the tunnel—which is death. His radio is turned to the futuristic fictional station 103.5 Dawn FM, hosted by The Weeknd’s real-life neighbor Jim Carrey, who parodies a blissed-out DJ.
There is a looming terror and dread in Dawn FM, which Tesfaye ironically contrasts with a upbeat, retro-pop sound. The album is one of his most creative, with a retro, disco-synth sound of euphoria in its first half followed by a more serene sound in its second half.
Dawn FM is on the path for global domination as it has already broken impressive records in its release. For one, The Weeknd has now charted 24 songs on the Billboard Global 200, the most by any male solo artist in history. The album also debuted at No. 1 on Apple Music U.S and in 125 other countries, and it is currently No. 1 on Spotify U.S. and globally.
Additionally, this latest release has earned The Weeknd his highest critical praise on an album thus far in his career. Dawn FM received a Metacritic score of 88, while Rolling Stone rated the album four out of five stars. Various critics have acclaimed his creative artistry on the album.
Notably, The Weeknd has already released an “Alternate World” deluxe version of Dawn FM, featuring a remix of “Sacrifice,” “Take My Breath,” and “Moth to a Flame.”
In exciting news, the artist has insinuated that Dawn FM will be the first installment of “a new trilogy.” Given that the storyline surrounding Dawn FM is seemingly endless, it will certainly provide the Weeknd with ample opportunity to continue experimenting with his creative style of music.