Gone are the long-winding months when we trailed our gazes over any of the honorary sixth members of One Direction—that’s Lewis Capaldi, obviously, earning that spot for treating 1D members’ kisses as infinity stones—photos looking for those familiar brown tufts of hair. At times, that was a low point, even for us, as Niall Horan was most likely on a golf course somewhere instead of helping to add new jams to Lewis’ BUM SQUEAL playlist.
Now that that time period is over, we don’t even have to think about it. At least we won’t utter a single word…No, for real, we won’t; there’s no point to because he really is everywhere. From helping fans start their own ‘Heaven’ alter by sending out cloud-fused candles to showing that he might have an odd full-stop placement in his tweets, he’s still on his socials game enough to learn a TikTok influencer’s technical tricks like CapCut.
Conversing Through Dreams
He’s full-blown baaaaack, and interacting with fans isn’t just his top priority. He is taking over the interview space, whether by walking into radio stations in a white tank and opened button-top ensemble or over-the-phone lines like his recent conversation with Zane Lowe for Apple Music 1, he’s there. For anyone, this is an exciting chat, covering topics such as his The Voice stint, how his sound has changed since leaving his boyband days behind, and why The Show? Of course, the writing process for ‘Heaven’ was also discussed.
Sometimes they don’t present themselves quick. And this one was like 1:00 AM, where we were out in Joshua Tree, myself, John Ryan, Joel Little, and Tobias Jesso Jr. And it was just us in a house, in Joshua Tree. And I guess that’s where you get that ethereal kind of, there is a bit of a spookiness to it from Joshua Tree, and those harmonies and stuff like that. But yeah, that came… Obviously, the melody is lullaby-ish. So I’m sitting there, just going for hours.
Niall Horan For Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1
Most people would be deep in their slumber by the timely arrival of 1 a.m. though that’s sort of the point there, isn’t it? But, despite the lack of sleep, there’s some sort of subtext lingering around the theme of dreams in ‘Heaven’ that’s worth exploring further.
A Sense Of Déjà Vu: ‘New Angel’
If you sailed alongside the Irish lad as he crewed a ship full of lovesick tunes, navigating through Heartbreak Weather, you already know what sits in track 11. However, suppose you’re only just joining as The Show’s red curtains spring up; it’s a certain underrated, groovy tune called ‘New Angel’ in which he’s speculatively dreaming about someone else while trying to get over a forsaken love.
I think I saw you in my dreams
Didn’t know what I’ve been missing
‘Til you walked in like a vision
You give me something out of reach
Just keep doing what you’re doing
‘Cause you move me when you’re moving
Squiggling a giant circle around our buzzword of “dreaming” in the first line of verse two suggests that the dreamworld has been prevalent in his work even before now. What’s interesting, though, is that there’s also another familiar word popping up.
I’ll give you what’s left of me
Left of me
‘Cause you feel so heavenly
Take away the last two letters of “heavenly,” and you have our single name ‘Heaven.’ Of course, this could be a coincidence. Still, for those of us who are fans of other artists that retreat to their discographies in an ode to reflecting on their past selves, this looks like an obvious lyric parallel and not because it’s a continuation of ‘New Angel’ but because the scenario seems to be repeating.
Drifting Away To Ever-Never Land: ‘Heaven’
Now that we have some grasp on Niall’s first foray into the world that goes on behind our eyelids as they flutter over, we can get into theorizing the meaning of ‘Heaven.’ Firstly starting with the name itself. Upon searching ‘dreamland’ on Google, its synonym that, surprisingly enough, pops up under the second definition, which annotates the word as “an imagined and unrealistically ideal world” is heaven. While it already presents that ethereal realm, the first verse of ‘Heaven’ immediately paints the picture that he’s dreaming. It’s through the fractures of light that are a little bit off compared to the natural everyday shadows, and then his muse begins to “float.”
Strange light revolves around you
You float across the room
Your touch is made of something
Heaven can’t hold a candle too
You’re made of somethin’ new
As the harmonies kick in again after the drumline, quite literally, the atmospheric sounds make us feel as though we’re being uplifted into the afterlife; we’re into the second verse. What’s playing on our minds here is the other biblical references that he’s penned prior. First, it’s in the title itself, to “God only knows where this could go,” and now supposedly, “I’m havin’ revelations.”
I’m havin’ revelations
You dance across the floor
How I obsessively adore you
That’s what I do
In the past, its been alluded to that Niall is Catholic, having the running joke of “Niall, the bad boy? Give it the rest. Niall, the church boy, more like,” firstly from the mouth of Louis Tomlinson in a press junket for the One Direction concert film This Is Us. So with all that in mind, there’s some sense to it that he could be referencing the Book of Revelation, found in the New Testament, where John has psychic imagery given by God. To go back to the dreaming trope, it could suggest that Niall’s once again having visions about his muse, rounding off the catholic elements by admitting, “I believe, I believe, I could die in your kiss.”
A Swift Comparison: ‘Lavender Haze’
This isn’t to say the dreaming trope is exclusive to Niall (the mirror finger pointing into his camera phone as if he’s some modern-age cowboy is, so beware of a trademark!) It also recently popped up in Taylor Swift’s ‘Lavender Haze,’ more specifically, the music video. She finds herself enthralled with the “guy on the screen coming straight home to me,” yet when she opens the curtains to what we once believed was an ordinary house is a galaxy outside, giant fish swimming around speckled stars.
She then knocks the house’s walls down, allowing us to think that it’s all an illusion and that she’s made up this dream world that snapshots us back to her sleeping beside her lover on the bed when we first hear those EDM beats. Interestingly, ‘Mastermind,’ a song about calling your lover towards you with your thoughts, is scripted across an album cover tossed on the floor with astrological charts.
How does Niall tie into this? It’s not just because he’s a diehard Swiftie. Instead, the music video for ‘Heaven’ captures the same dream-like illusion. The last frame is him walking away from a serene view that we once perceived as ‘Heaven’ but is the music video set, playing with meta entirely. Still, symbolically that could be a way of visualizing that what he deems as heaven isn’t relatively real either because it’s the wakeless world.
Even before this scene pops up, he’s frolicking between two states, one described through its pops of red and another with its blues. Yes, we’re calling in The Matrix here, which famously spiritually annotates the “perceived” from the “real,” and what builds on this, even more, is that he enters the blue room when the lyric “I’m havin’ revelations” hits.
What’s your analysis of ‘Heaven?’ Are we even the slightest bit close? Niall, do let us know over at our Twitter @thehoneypop. To continue on cloud nine, stream the song on any musical platform with The Show out on June 9, and you can listen in on Zane Lowe’s interview with Niall over on Apple Music.
You already know that we’re going to have the 4-1-1 on every updating detail over this new era, so follow along on our Instagram and Facebook, and as cliche as it is, “Welcome to ‘The Show.’” Niall said it, not us.
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