Former One Direction member Harry Styles incited a frenzy from fans and music lovers with the release of his first solo single “Sign of the Times” last month. The ‘70s vibes and poetic lyrics in the single were only a teaser for what was to come in his self-titled debut album “Harry Styles.”
In a music scene dominated by EDM and generic pop songs, Styles delivers a lovely gem full of sounds from music’s past. The musical direction of Styles’ album is a refreshing throwback to the good ol’ days of rock ‘n’ roll. Although, this should not come as a surprise to fans.
Styles previously expressed how artists like The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac influenced his music from his days in One Direction, reflected in songs like “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “Olivia.” On this album, several songs, including “Kiwi” and “Only Angel,” bring out Styles’ musical inspirations.
The most impressive part of Styles’ debut album are his raw and poetic lyrics that detail his innermost thoughts and emotions.
“Harry Styles” is his personal journal that recounts the love, heartbreak and loneliness he has experienced. Styles sings every song with so much passion, listeners can practically feel everything he’s trying to convey in each song.
“Meet Me in the Hallway” kicks off the album with the lyrics “I walked the streets all day,
running with the thieves, cause you left me in the hallway, (give me some more), just take the pain away.” This recounts the pain of losing the one he loved and begging them to give it another chance, a side of him scarcely shown.
“Carolina” is a ‘70s classic rock-inspired song that details his infatuation for the girl who “got a book for every situation” and “gets into parties without invitations.” This is one of the the many songs on this album serving as an ode to the music Styles grew up with.
“Two Ghosts” is one of the deeper songs on the album that’s a look back on a relationship that never really had a chance to begin with. Lyrics like “We’re not who we used to be, we’re just two ghosts swimming in a glass half empty, trying to remember how it feels to have a heartbeat,” are some of the best on the album.
“Ever Since New York” is musically and lyrically beautiful, with Styles softly singing lyrics like “I’ve been praying, I never did before, understand that I’m talking to the walls, and I’ve been praying ever since New York.” While the lyrics are vague about what exactly happened in New York, it’s easy to understand that it made a significant impact on him.
“From the Dining Table,” the last song on the album, is one of the most emotionally-driven songs. “I saw your friend that you know from work, he said you feel just fine, I see you gave him my old t-shirt, more of what was once mine,” are some of the hardest-hitting lyrics on the album. This song demonstrates that Styles experiences heartbreak and loneliness just like anyone else, and it’s a perfect close to his first solo album.
Styles proves that he is more than just a heartthrob, with this album. It demonstrates that he is a complicated and layered artist.
Styles took a major risk straying away from the contemporary sound popular in today’s music, and it really paid off. This album establishes the foundation for a long-standing, successful solo career for Styles.