There are times in life when you have to say, "do you know what, let's not put the album title in capital letters".

But here we are. Here we are with Niall 'Niall' Horan releasing a solo album called 'Fucker'.

And you might say well, this is clearly not the title of Niall's album. Niall's debut album is called 'Flicker', you might insist.

But the more you find out about pop, and the more you find out about the way pop works, don't you find yourself realising that nothing, not even #susan­al­bumparty, really happens by accident? Because you know, don't you, that dozens or even hundreds of people saw this artwork before it went Out There, and that at a con­ser­vat­ive estimate at least half, if not two thirds, of those people would have seen 'FUCKER'.

And some of those people will have thought nobody else would notice. But many would have thought: this is actually quite good. This is edgy if we need it to be, totally non-edgy if we don't. We are winning at musicbiz, they decided. We are having our cake and eating it but in fact not even eating it, we're throwing the cake directly into the bin because we have cracked the code of 21st century enter­tain­ment and money is no longer a problem. The glory days are here again.

So what sort of fucker do you think we are dealing with here?

What are we, the global pop-consuming community, to take from all this?

Is it fucker as in "you cheeky little fucker, Harry was supposed to have all the best solo songs and now it's all gone wrong"? Is Niall a fucker in the sense of "no bottoming for me thanks"? Or are we talking about fucker in the broader, almost spiritual sense of Niall fucking with us all by releasing an album called 'Flicker' which looks like 'Fucker' and doing so on purpose because he is — to bring us back to our first pro­pos­i­tion — a cheeky little fucker?

Life really is a mystery.