Liam Payne’s new single found its roots in boy-band pop

Before “Teardrops,” former One Direction member Liam Payne released his first solo album “LP1” in 2019, featuring the hit song “Strip That Down.” He then released a few singles, the latest being “Sunshine” for the movie “Ron’s Gone Wrong” in 2021. 

As a One Direction fan, I like to keep up with the members’ solo careers. Payne has always had a lot of potential vocally, but I was not the biggest fan of the direction he took musically once he went solo. “LP1” was more of a pop/trap/hip-hop mashup, which, in my opinion, wasn’t the best fit for his voice.

Ex-boy band members tend to fall down this rabbit hole where they don’t quite know exactly what their sound is by themselves, and I do think that this is something Payne fell victim to for a bit. Now, it seems he is more confident in his sound.

“Teardrops” definitely takes a bit of a different approach compared to Payne’s previous releases. The single features more of a pop R&B sound, featuring electronic beats and some nice harmonies with layered vocals. Some argue that this is a very safe choice musically, which it is, but I do not think that automatically makes this a bad song.

The song is a classic breakup ballad, with lyrics like “Teardrops are falling / Down your face again, ’cause I / Don’t know how to love you when I am broken too,” which echoes at several points throughout the track.

Upon my initial listen, the song reminded me a lot of Justin Timberlake and the boy bands of the ‘90s and early 2000s. Upon further research, I learned that the song is co-produced by Payne and ‘NSync’s JC Chasez, with whom Payne has collaborated in the past. Chasez also does backup vocals on this track.  

“Teardrops” contains two generations of boy bands behind it, and that influence is apparent when you listen to it. 

Will “Teardrops” put Payne back on the charts? Only time will tell, but what’s clear is that Payne has spent years working on and mastering this single and upcoming album. Payne’s fans are excited to see what is next for him in this new era.


Featured photo courtesy of @liampayne, Instagram