Louis Tomlinson is the last of his former bandmates to release an album after One Direction went on hiatus in 2015, but this album is different from the music he previously released. ‘Just Hold On’ released in 2016 was a dance/electronic track in collaboration with Steve Aoki whilst ‘Just Like You’ released in 2017 was a song that was “honest and vulnerable and real.”
The album kicks off with ‘Kill My Mind’, a punk inspired tune inspired by Tomlinson’s younger days, perhaps the time he spent in One Direction. The song brings out his Yorkshire accent by him singing “I can ease the pain, just a little taste babe” and “kept me living, from the last time, from a prison of a past life.” The music video is heavily influenced by Oasis, someone who Louis has clearly stated he is a fan of before.
‘Don’t Let It Break Your Heart’ also follows the britpop trend of ‘Kill My Mind’, as it tells the story of how heartbreak may lead to something better. The lyrics “don’t you let it kill you, even when it feels like hell” makes it sound like Tomlinson is singing to someone younger, almost offering them advice. This could perhaps be to his fans or even his six younger siblings.
Whilst the majority of the songs are up-beat, ‘Two of Us’ is full of emotion. He sings “the day that they took you, I wish it was me instead.” and “I’ll be living one life for the two of us.”, as the song is dedicated to his mum Johannah, who tragically passed away in 2016 after a long battle with cancer. Tomlinson always described himself as
This song carried even more meaning after Louis’ 18-year-old sister Felicitie sadly passed away just a couple of months after the song was released.
The title track ‘Walls’ is the perfect song to sum up this album. Like some songs, it is heavily influenced by Oasis – Noel Gallagher is even credited on the song. But, it has a laid back vibe similar to other songs on the album. This song is dedicated to Louis’ long term girlfriend Eleanor and the effect their 2015 breakup had on him.
As a self confessed One Direction fan, ‘Habit’ is seen by myself and so many other fans as one of the most important songs to them. The three minute song has a few One Direction references. “I took some time ‘cause I’ve ran out of energy of playing someone I heard I’m supposed to be” is portrayed as a reference to the extremely fast paced life he experienced when he was in his boyband and how they seemingly had their image controlled by their management.
Perhaps the most important lyric to fans on the whole album, “come so far from princess park” a lyric that pays tribute to the apartment complex Tomlinson lived in with bandmate Harry Styles when the band first started in 2010. This lyric is also a nod to the fans who helped start his career on The X Factor. This laidback style song is definitely a hit with fans.
Even though Walls is seen as a pop punk and Oasis inspired album, some songs are heavily inspired by Tomlinson’s boyband days. ‘Perfect Now’ is seen as the big sister to One Direction’s ‘Little Things’ and their first single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. Tomlinson sings “you say to me that your jeans don’t fit, you don’t feel pretty and it’s hard to miss” whilst One Direction sang “you still have to squeeze into your jeans but you’re perfect to me”.
‘Too Young’ is very similar with lyrics like “we were too young to know we’ve had everything.” These songs seem slightly out of place compared to the other songs in the album, it almost seems like a bit of a random idea to add them. But, they do show off the range of vocals he is capable of.
‘Only The Brave’ is a harsh guitar driven song and almost sums everything up that has happened in Tomlinson’s life since his solo career started. At one minute 44 seconds, the song is short but sweet and lyrics like “it’s a solo song and it’s only for the brave” make this the perfect addition to the kick start of his solo career.
This album is the perfect mixture of Louis’ career – his new indie pop solo venture but also hints of what he had in his boyband days.
Words by Izzy Hawksworth.