Review of Louis Tomlinson's album: Walls

By Mackenzie Beem


Walls is my favorite album by any ex One Direction member, despite differing from the boyband’s style. It’s radio-pop meets progressive rock with influences from musical legends like Oasis. Tomlinson’s use of personal lyricism, singer-songwriter type music, and upbeat tempos are what make this an amazing album.


Although it was released in January, I put off listening to Louis Tomlinson’s debut solo album, Walls, for months. Tomlinson was a member of one of the biggest boy bands of all time and one of my personal favorites- One Direction. Because I’ve always loved Tomlinson’s role in One Direction, with both his vocals and songwriting, I was terrified to listen to his first album. I had previously listened to his former bandmate’s albums, one of which I loved and one I didn’t like at all, which heightened my fears. With the pandemic, I’ve had a lot more time to listen to music, and I decided that it was now or never to hear Walls. I’ve ranked every song by how likely I am to listen to it based on the music, catchiness, and lyricism.


#12- Always You

The opening of Always You reminds me of a mariachi band. I guess the globality makes sense as Tomlinson discusses places he’s been in the verses. The transition into the chorus is really choppy with one long note and a sudden tempo change. Although I’m not a huge fan of the rest of this song, there is a layered, echoed post-chorus that I could listen to on repeat for hours.


#11- Kill My Mind

Kill My Mind was the first single released from Walls. It favors a radio pop sound as compared to the progressive pop rock that is shown through the majority of the album. Although not Tomlinson’s first solo song, it gave fans their first glimpse into what his first album will be like. I love listening to this song, but it’s not as complex as some of the others, which is why it’s so low in the ranking.


#10. Two of Us

Two of Us is a reflection on grief and losing a loved one. There is an echoey, space-like musical intro that repeats throughout the song that I don’t feel brings anything. The music is almost put together like a rock ballad, distracting from the overall distressing lyrics. This song sounds like Tomlinson is trying to convince himself that he will be ok, so while it’s enjoyable to listen to, it’s just not relatable enough to get a higher ranking.


#9. We Made It

The lyrics in We Made It are deep in a shallow manner. They’re similar to those of used to be chart topping pop band One Republic. There is an extreme amount of rhyming and repetition in both the verses and chorus. This song seems to be based on Tomlinson’s youth, reflecting on both relationships and fame. It’s catchy but his song Only The Brave seems to say the exact same thing through a better song. Maybe it’s the lack of singer-songwriter influence, but We Made It just doesn't stack up to some of Tomlinson’s other songs.


#8. Habit

Habit is insanely catchy. It’s a feel good, mostly acoustic song that Tomlinson put a realistic spin on. The chorus compares a person in a relationship that just won’t work to a habit that can’t be broken. This contemplation of an on and off again relationship is somehow super upbeat and seems to always go by too fast.


#7- Fearless

One of the more mature sounding songs, Fearless, is yet another of Tomlinson’s reflections, this time on the feeling of being young and “fearless”. The chorus of the song is insanely nostalgic, similar to Memories by Maroon 5. Unfortunately, I don’t have the classical music knowledge to know exactly which piece this song on the hardships of growing up is based off of, but the effect is still there.


#6- Perfect Now

Tomlinson’s Perfect Now is like One Direction's Little Things- but without the backhanded compliments. It discusses the realities of insecurities and the beauty in imperfections. It’s an encouraging song with Tomlinson’s boyband past showing through.


#5- Walls

The opening of Walls reminds me of an Oasis song. Tomlinsons’ pop rock vibe is shown right away with the soft yet rhythmic instrumentals. They embody nature-like noises which build up into an upbeat chorus. Walls is a reflection on a failed relationship, though it’s presented at a seemingly happy tempo.


#4- Too Young

Too Young has a certain tear jerking desperation that only an ex boyband member could convey. The repetitive and smooth acoustics throughout the song are lullaby reminiscent. Tomlinson’s soft vocals make this song feel personal while the catchy lyrics are what make me play it on repeat.


#3- Defenceless

In Defenceless, Tomlinson tells of a relationship where one side is putting in more effort than the other. Immediately as the song starts, the vocals and complimentary soft guitar chords start. Throughout the piece the importance of vulnerability is showcased with an emphasis on the other person's inability to open up. The personal lyrics and catchy melody are what makes this song one of my favorites.


#2- Don’t Let it Break Your Heart

Another motivational song, Don’t Let it Break Your Heart, is an encouragement to keep holding on. This is definitely One Direction esc and more radio-pop than pop-rock. However, it has a bit of a darker storyline with its discussion of an ex moving on and the general theme of staying strong.


#1- Only the Brave

Only the Brave is the shortest song on the album yet the lyrics speak volumes. This song is Tomlinson reflecting on his life. He touches on dealing with fame at an early age, yet his chill tone and acoustic sound give an element of calm. The chorus is a direct reference to the “hiatus” of One Direction, his former band, hinting that it was a brave decision to continue on with music following the band’s breakup. Tomlinson’s lyricism and the general chill vibe of the song show a sense of humbleness, maturity, and content.


Walls is my favorite album by any ex One Direction member, despite differing from the boyband’s style. It’s radio-pop meets progressive rock with influences from musical legends like Oasis. Tomlinson’s use of personal lyricism, singer-songwriter type music, and upbeat tempos are what make this an amazing album.


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