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Released: 2017

“This Town” by Niall Horan is a heartfelt pop ballad focusing on the relentless pull of a past lover. The song delves into the protagonist’s struggle to move on, whilst haunted by lingering emotions and memories, rooted in the familiarity of their hometown.

When Horan croons “Waking up to kiss you and nobody’s there / The smell of your perfume still stuck in the air”, he’s expressing the sensory reminders of a lost love. It’s as if her scent, much like his feelings, are stubbornly clinging to the air post-breakup.

The repeated phrase “this old town”, contrasted with “so far from the stars”, effectively illustrates the small, unchanging nature of Horan’s hometown, signifying that everything reminds him of his past love, highlighting his sense of isolation and displacement.

With “And I want to tell you everything / The words I never got to say the first time around”, he acknowledges regret, wishing for a do-over with the wisdom of hindsight. The playground metaphor further emphasizes a deep-rooted history and sense of longing.

The chorus, “If the whole world was watching I’d still dance with you / Drive highways and byways to be there with you”, showcases Horan’s disregard for societal judgment. His fixation on her is his “only truth”, signifying the undeniable gravity she still holds over him.

When Niall says “I saw that you moved on with someone new / In the pub that we met he’s got his arms around you”, it underscores the sting of seeing an ex-lover move on, particularly in a place fraught with shared history. The repetition of “So hard” accentuates the emotional toll this takes on him.

“You still make me nervous when you walk in the room / Them butterflies they come alive when I’m next to you” uses the universal ‘butterflies in the stomach’ metaphor to depict his enduring emotional connection, displaying his vulnerability.

Horan’s admission, “And I know that it’s wrong / That I can’t move on / But there’s something about you”, encapsulates the song’s theme – acknowledging the unhealthy attachment yet unable to extricate himself from the allure of his past love. The closing line, “Everything comes back to you”, seals the sentiment, showcasing his struggle against this gravitational pull of an old flame.

So there you have it – Niall Horan’s “This Town” is a poignant exploration of lingering love, regret and the emotional stronghold of the past, all amplified by the unchanging backdrop of a small hometown. A powerful pop ballad steeped in nostalgia and an earnest yearning for what’s lost.

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