British pop star Liam Payne released his debut EP First Time on Aug. 24. With his recent high-profile breakup, Payne has decided to take more time writing and recording his LP, but the 4-track EP still touches on the topic. Compared to his past dance hits, Payne slows things down and bears his soul with that soulful voice of his.
Earlier this year, the former One Direction member announced that his debut album would drop in September. Payne’s scored pop gold since launching his solo career last year with hits like “Strip That Down” featuring Quavo and Zedd’s “Get Low.” In July, he and his girlfriend, Girls Aloud member Cheryl Cole, split after two years of dating and having their son Bear together. In a note on the EP, Liam wrote some “big changes” in the past few months have pushed back the album. “Some of the songs on my album which was done a while ago and they felt from another age,” he continued.
Like The Weeknd’s My Dear Melancholy, EP appearing to explore his breakup with Selena Gomez, Payne seems to go a similar route with First Time. Starting with the French Montana-assisted title track, a trap music-influenced ode to Liam’s track record with the ladies, he boasts, “I always pick up on the first time.” From there, things start to get more serious with the tropical-tinged “Home With You,” where Payne uses his falsetto to win over the girl. “I wanna go home with you / Yeah, we can do whatever you want to,” he sings.
Like his relationship with Cheryl, things start to fall apart for Payne in the second half. His voice hits heartbreaking highs trying to work it out in “Depend on It.” Liam asks, “How are we ever gonna make it out alive if we don’t get back to touching, loving, kissing, f**king like our lives depend on it?” The writing’s on the wall with the EP’s closer and the best track “Slow.” Bouncy synths back Payne singing, “Know that we’re broken / Know that this was over months ago.” The lyrics seem to indicate that Cheryl broke it off. “Let me down slow / Just another minute I ain’t ready to go,” he adds. It’s a sweet realization and releases rolled into a breezy pop bop.
The First Time EP is not just any kind of holdover release until the album comes out. Payne gets personal on the honest effort that shows the deterioration of a relationship from the flirting stages to getting together and later saying goodbye. If the EP spills this much tea, just imagine the full-course meal on Liam’s LP.