This file photo taken on May 12, 2017 shows Niall Horan performing onstage during 102.7 KIIS FM's 2017 Wango Tango at StubHub Center on May 13, 2017 in Carson, California. (AFP/Kevin Winter)
One Direction's Niall Horan on Friday released a soft breakup ballad with echoes of the heartthrob boy band as he announced his debut solo album.
Horan announced on social media that his album "Flicker" will come out on October 20 followed by a tour in 2018 of the United States and Canada.
The 24-year-old Irish singer marked the announcement by releasing a track off the album entitled "Too Much to Ask," a piano-led ballad in which Horan, his voice turning soulful, mourns the end of a relationship.
The song is produced by Greg Kurstin, the increasingly in-demand musician best known for co-writing Adele's smash hit "Hello."
Kurstin also worked with Horan on the first track off "Flicker," the acoustic guitar ballad "This Town."
Horan's soft touch is more consistent with One Direction than the solo music of his two most successful bandmates.
Zayn Malik cast away One Direction's squeaky-clean image to go for a sensual, urban vibe, while Harry Styles surprised critics with an album that sounded influenced by 1970s David Bowie.
One Direction, formed when the five young men auditioned for the British reality show "The X Factor," turned into one of the best-selling bands of the decade, packing arenas worldwide with screaming teenage girls.
The band went on an indefinite hiatus after an album at the end of 2015 while stopping short of calling it quits.
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