This Town

Album: Flicker (2016)
Charted: 9 20
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This somber and reflective track was the first song written by Niall Horan for his debut solo album after he'd spent some time backpacking around Southeast Asia. Niall became the first current member of One Direction to release a solo single when he released the tune on September 29, 2016.
  • Niall penned the song with regular One Direction songwriter Jamie Scott in February 2016. Speaking to Westwood One's Zach Sang Show, he said the familiar pairing made his transition back into songwriting "easy."
  • The track was produced by California producer Greg Kurstin whose other credits include Kelly Clarkson's "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)" and Adele's "Hello."
  • The acoustic love song finds Niall serenading both his hometown and old flame. He explained the track's double meaning. "To me the way I look at it, if you're from a small town you'll get this, every time you go back to your hometown you'll see this girl in the bar, or wherever, and then everything comes back to you," he said. "And then the other part of it is the town itself no matter whatever you do whenever you live, when you go home, everything comes back to the town. That's the way I kind of wrote it, as a double meaning."
  • Niall Horan recorded the song in Capitol's Studio A. The Los Angeles studio has hosted many iconic names through the years from Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole to The Beach Boys and Sam Smith. Niall was thrilled to be able to use Sinatra's old microphone while singing.

    "Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge swing fan and a huge Frank Sinatra fan," he said in a behind-the-scenes video. "I have photos of him all over my house, so to be in that studio - some of the most famous pictures of Frank Sinatra have been taken in that studio - it had a real aura about it."
  • Niall Horan made his debut TV performance as a solo artist when he performed this song on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on December 13, 2016.
  • Niall Horan recalled the story of the song in a video:

    "It was one of the first songs that I'd written. I wasn't trying to write big choruses and stuff like that, I was trying to write stuff that suited me. The title came before anything it was like this town and what my hometown effectively what it means to me and there are a lot of people who can relate to it because it's such a writeable song. If you come from a small town you get that straight away, it's like, every time you go home people are coming in from all over the world and you walk into the bar and it's like there is the girl you fell for when you were 12."
  • Niall Horan was caught off guard by how the song was received. "I just released ['This Town'] to let people know that I was still doing something and it was the best of the bunch of songs I had at the time because I had only written a few at the time," he told Carson Daly on 97.1 AMP Radio. "And I just thought I'd release it and then it kind of took on a life of its own."

Comments: 1

  • Andy from HollandListened to this song over and over when i was in love, the longing reflected mine perfectly.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New York

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin Popoff

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin PopoffSong Writing

A talk with Martin Popoff about his latest book on Rush and how he assessed the thousands of albums he reviewed.

Taylor Dayne

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.

Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real Group

Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real GroupSong Writing

The leader of the Modern A Cappella movement talks about the genre.

Janet Jackson

Janet JacksonFact or Fiction

Was Janet secretly married at 18? Did she gain 60 pounds for a movie role that went to Mariah Carey? See what you know about Ms. Jackson.

Brian Kehew: The Man Behind The Remasters

Brian Kehew: The Man Behind The RemastersSong Writing

Brian has unearthed outtakes by Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello and hundreds of other artists for reissues. Here's how he does it.