Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Niall Horan – Slow Hands

Slow down the feeling…


[Video]
[5.21]

Ian Mathers: More Clapton than Interpol, weirdly enough.
[4]

Thomas Inskeep: Shoots for Timberlake, lands at Chasez.
[4]

Olivia Rafferty: Hey, everyone! Niall’s cool! Niall’s sexy! And he can prove it, with lines like “sweat dripping down our dirty laundry.” Nothing gets me hot and bothered quite like a sweaty pair of underpants in the laundry basket.
[5]

Alfred Soto: Horan’s breathy Steve Miller act might work if he didn’t insist on listeners appreciate every handclap, automatic/automated riff, and incoherent hook (“sweat drippin’ down like dirty laundry” — what?). As Interpol learned, “slow hands” as phrase and cool sex technique is as meaningful as “warm toes.”
[4]

Stephen Eisermann: I’ll be honest, I didn’t come in with high expectations. Niall’s previous effort felt like it should’ve been sung by Ed Sheeran, as it lacked a believability probably due to the higher pitch his voice often takes. This time, though, he’s ready — and horny? And sexy? Woah. The combination of the drum, the bass, and yeah, the lyrics, have me bumping and shaking along with him. By the end of the first verse, I’m pretty sure he could convince anybody to go home with him (that percussion bangs); but it’s a short-lived high as his voice in the chorus returns to the same high pitch that just isn’t convincing. Once the song ends, though, all I can think of is a bad one-night stand: sure, in my intoxicated state those abs were enough, but now that I’m good and sober I see I’m left with an inexperienced frat boy and all I care to remember is the fun before the “fun” began.
[5]

Katie Gill: Horan’s really good at playing to his strengths. And, as shown by “This Town,” his strengths are being cute and unassuming. “Slow Hands” is admittedly more sexy than cute (and also has nothing to do with the Pointer Sisters) but Horan thankfully reins it in from being tawdry. The minimalist approach of this song works amazingly well, letting Horan’s voice set the the stage. The lyrics are also very minimalist — we don’t really learn what Horan’s doing with this girl aside from touching her. It’s a slow passionate song, not the more blunt sort of “hey girl we totally banged, let me tell you in a bit of TMI detail” songs of Horan’s top 40 compatriots.
[7]

Maxwell Cavaseno: The pitch-tuned and punched-in vocals here almost feel like a giant raspberry at the earthiness of this stomp-and-strum along tune that works so hard to display a glam rock surge; a lot more definitely Glitter & Sladey than the supposed Bowieisms of his former bandmate’s single. Of course, there’s going to be more connections to Ed Sheeran’s campfire readiness, which isn’t a wrong association to make either. At the end of the day, it’s really just a rock tinged tune eager to flaunt the necessary masculinity needed to convince people that Niall, who many might’ve presumed wouldn’t thrive outside of 1D, is more than just “kid from the boyband,” and that’s a cool selling point but not quite a tune.
[5]

Will Adams: From “This Town” to “Slow Hands,” Niall Horan has seemingly undergone a huge image shift. No longer a doe-eyed crooner, he now exists in gruff sepia. The music of “Slow Hands” tries to follow suit — via fuzzed bass and an extremely strong noise gate that clips his vocals — but there’s no getting around such a cookie dough chorus.
[3]

Katherine St Asaph: Like you took a gallon of water, put in one drop of “We Will Rock You,” one drop of country radio, and one drop of the vocal processing Joe Jonas isn’t using enough of, then tried to sell it as beefy rock music.
[3]

Peter Ryan: “This Town” took a long time to reach radio ubiquity where I live, but in the nine-ish months since its release it’s quietly become my favorite 1D solo single. Earnest folk-pop balladry is Niall’s obvious lane, so slinky “Happy Pills”-with-all-the-knots-ironed-out is quite the bold proposition. The charm here lives in its easy nature, the sense that he’s unbothered by the weight of anticipation, that he has as much business doing Sexy as Zayn — it’s believable because even though there’s a lot riding on this follow-up, he’s got us convinced there’s nothing to prove.
[8]

Anthony Easton: Sounding like CRJ, though slightly less laboratory slick, and thus more believable. Part of that belief is an acknowledgement of fucking. It is a time worn pattern, the first single of a boy band dissolves is one that replaces the code of love for the actual text of sex. This follows that pattern — maybe less than Harry Styles album, and definitely less than Zayn’s “Pillow Talk,” and this is also less interesting in how it breaks from convention sonically. But his voice is smart, and the production is tight.
[6]

Jonathan Bradley: But the bass prods like clumsy fingers. Horan, whose One Direction role was The Cute One Who Wears Sweaters, has grown up his sound into a blue collar R&B — he might have set a pint to the side before launching into what might be the quarter-century return of Jimmy Nail. He is — he’s always been — a nice boy, but he could benefit from some of Zayn’s lightness: each is an artist whose sketches aren’t so properly formed to permit them to stand alone.
[5]

Scott Mildenhall: Two singles in, Niall Horan looks to be the only One Direction member not laying it on thick with his solo material, and that’s to his aid here. In so many other hands this could be cringeworthy, but he succeeds in performing without overt posturing. Depending on which day it was, Ed Sheeran would either treat it as a “knowing” joke or overegg his attempts to authenticate himself, but Horan gives an impression of honesty, glitching and itching straightforwardly in a way that brings to mind Billy Swan more than Justin Timberlake.
[7]

Alex Clifton: I’ve always had a soft spot for Niall Horan. He was never my favourite member of 1D, but he had the best grasp on songwriting — “Don’t Forget Where You Belong” from Midnight Memories and Made in the AM‘s “Never Enough” stood out. I’ve been intrigued to see how Niall’s solo career would unfold since then. I feared a sexy jam a la Liam Payne’s atrocious new single, even though Horan never projected that image — perhaps because it’s a common move these days to go from “teen idol” to “serious adult popstar” by screaming “HEY I HAVE SEX” into a microphone twenty times. Instead, we’re treated to a song that grooves thanks to a good bassline and a laid-back tempo. It’s intimate, detailing a night between two people with all the dirty details kept in (“sweat dripping down our dirty laundry” is an unsettling image in a sexy song, but a memorable one at that), and I buy it. This isn’t a glamorous night of club-hopping, but something quieter and slower. Many of the lyrics (laundry aside) tend towards the generic, doing Horan’s lyrical prowess a disservice, but I hit repeat. Not enough to make me buy a whole album, but enough to keep me listening.
[7]

Reader average: [9.33] (9 votes)

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3 Responses to “Niall Horan – Slow Hands”

  1. ‘Shoots for Timberlake, lands at Chasez’ is a compliment imo

  2. I will kill to defend the honour of JC Chasez

  3. certainly the cutest through 2001.