Louis Tomlinson – Walls

“You know, just once I’d like an ex-boy-band member to go into, I don’t know, hardstyle or bubblegum pop.”

Tom: He’s gone for Serious Modern Adult Contemporary Pop. You know, just once I’d like an ex-boy-band member to go into, I don’t know, hardstyle or bubblegum pop.

Tim: Hmm, I’m trying to think of an example to use as a “well, actually” here, but I’m really not sure I can – it’s always the ‘we don’t like being manufactured pop, we want to be serious instead’ narrative.

Tom: That first verse and chorus: guitars that sound a bit like Oasis, key changes that sound a bit like the Killers.

Tim: Yep: very much SMACP. The video’s weird, though: from that initial DIRECTED BY bit I was expecting a big fancy narrative from it, maybe even Alan Walker style. Instead: nope, just a few different scenes, chopping and changing between them with no real rhyme or reason. 

Tom: There’s a lot of good stuff going on here, but: fundamentally, it’s just not that good a chorus, is it?

Tim: No – it’s fine, decent enough, and I can still remember it a couple of minutes after the song’s finished, but I’ve no immense desire to press play on it again.

Tom: The fans’ll go for it, Radio 2 might playlist it for a bit, but I don’t think we’ve got the sort of all-time hit that an ex-1Der would be hoping for.


Louis Tomlinson feat. Bebe Rexha, Digital Farm Animals – Back To You


Tom: Let’s get the ridiculous things out of the way first. And I don’t just mean “Digital Farm Animals“; I mean this is filmed in Doncaster. Bebe Rexha filmed a music video in an alley somewhere in Doncaster. And Louis Tomlinson joined her, in a purple-and-yellow tracksuit.

Tim: Well he is signed to the football club, that’ll probably cut down on some of the costs.

Tom: On the plus side: brilliant, you’re representing Doncaster on the world stage! On the downside: mate, Doncaster?

Tim: Tom, I feel you underestimate Louis’s feelings for his hometown – don’t forget at one point he tried to buy the club.

Tom: This has one of the least promising intros and first verses in a while: oh, blimey, it’s going to be one of those terrible stripped-down tracks that just plod on. And then… then it starts doing something.

Tim: I’m guessing you mean when Bebe arrives?

Tom: “You drag me down, you fuck me up” is a really good lyric. And it’s about the first time that I heard that — as the piano really starts to build — that I thought “hang on, this could be good”.

Tim: It could be, and indeed it is, which is very nice indeed.

Tom: And then everything from the half-way point onwards — ie, not the verses — is just great. Yes, it’s all a bit quiet, yes, it’s a bit plodding at times, but that is just such a good chorus. For the first time in a while, not only is this a song I could sing after one listen, but it’s a song I wanted to hear again.

Tim: HUZZAH! I completely agree with you, it is a great chorus. Dips for the middle eight, but rises back up again in due course.

Tom: And it’s from Louis Tomlinson!

Tim: YAY!

Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson – Just Hold On

“There’s certainly some good parts in there”

Tim: Following the breakup hiatus, Niall was first out of the gates with an awful dirge; can Louis do any better with this collaboration?

Tim: Yes, yes he really can.

Tom: Takes its time, though, doesn’t it?

Tim: It does, yes, with a slightly disappointing start — in particular, the vocal part of the first chorus sounds distinctly underwhelming — but the rest of it is absolutely fine. They were probably going for more than ‘absolutely fine’ though, now I think about it, but actually it does go further – that vocal at the opening of the middle eight is a particular highlight.

Tom: There’s certainly some good parts in there, but I’m not convinced by it as a whole: I don’t think the hook’s good enough to justify all the faffing around it takes to get there. In fact, I can’t remember a bit of the hook. And if your highlights are particular vocal lines…

Tim: Well anyway, of course this is better than This Town.

Tom: Damning with faint praise, there?

Tim: Not at all – better than a lot of tracks, really.

Tom: Anyway, I’ll just leave this here.