Louis Tomlinson is back, and he’s more confident than ever.
Two years ago, the former One Direction member began a solo career in earnest, launching the electro-tinged “Back to You,” the Steve Aoki collab “Just Hold On,” and the guitar-crunching “Miss You.” But a few personal tragedies and some self-reflective alone time caused him to re-evaluate his approach, something he shared in a forthright note posted to social media earlier this year.
“My expectations and aspirations are all shaped around my experiences,” he wrote. “As much as I try to stay realistic I couldn’t help but crave a ‘hit’ single. It’s because of this that I’ve spent so long on this album, trying to fit into Top 40 radio when in fact maybe I should start with what I love and work from there.”
His new single “Kill My Mind,” which dropped on Thursday (September 5), sounds like Louis making the pop ecosystem work for him – not the other way around. By filtering the Northern English music he grew up loving (Oasis, Arctic Monkeys) through a slicker pop lens, Louis sounds bigger, more stadium-ready, and more like himself than he ever has.
“Kill My Mind” begins with a playful opening line that feels like a declaration: “You’re a nightmare on the dance floor and you hate me and I want more.” Tomlinson only dials up the energy from there, bringing in knocking drums, guitar layers, and chimes that recall the sugariest moments of The Stone Roses’s seminal 1989 debut — or at least the Britpop onslaught of the ’90s and early 2000s that sprung up in its wake.
Louis’s re-arrival signals that his debut album is imminent, according to a statement. 2019 also saw Louis release the gentle, powerful ballad “Two of Us,” a sweet ode to his late mother that serves as his album’s first single.
“Everything I’ve ever known in my career has been straight down the middle pop,” he wrote in that same note back in April. Listen to “Kill My Mind” — co-written by Louis and Jamie Hartman — above to hear what happened when Louis followed his impulses and veered into more dynamic territory.