is only 23 years old and has already done it all, if by all you mean selling out massive venues as a member of boyband One Direction - which honestly feels redundant to say, because if this fact came as a shocker to you, there truly is no hope - as well as selling out a world tour in literal seconds with only two singles, one SNL performance, and a Today Show appearance to show for his capabilities as a solo recording artist. Since the band announced their lengthy hiatus beginning in 2016, Harry has been in the studio creating what revealed to be the most personal side of him to be presented to his fans thus far.
"Sign of the Times" acted as Styles' solo debut and showed a different, more rock inspired, less bubblegum pop sound than what many were expecting. It shares the same slowed pace and emotional aspects as "Sweet Creature," the second track to be released, revealing a desire to rebuild communication with someone close to him, declaring in the former, "We don't talk enough, we should open up"
and in the latter, "I always think about you and how we don't speak enough."
The album itself opens with "Meet Me in the Hallway," another acoustic track about wanting a past lover back. The beginning of the chorus somewhat resembles the pre-chorus of "Sign of the Times," showing just how interconnected his songs are to each other.
Harry premiered "Ever Since New York" on Saturday Night Live
and showcased a more folky side of his musical capabilities, this paired with the melancholic nature of the lyrics shut down any accusations that he hasn't grown as an artist since his days with One Direction. This album captures so many of Harry's experiences that have shaped him into the person he is today. I suspect that Styles found many of these moments to be difficult to share immediately, such as in "From the Dining Room" where he sings, "Woke up alone in this hotel room / Played with myself, where were you?"
I'd hate to be the one to have to answer that question. In the fourth track of the album, "Two Ghosts," Harry gets a bit more specific in regards to the subjects of his song, mentioning his signature white shirt look that shows off his many tattoos and a partner with blue eyes and red lips; however, this description is vague enough to leave much to the imagination -
and his fans have extremely vivid imaginations.
"Carolina" carries some very burlesque meets 70s rock vibes into the album and is definitely easier to dance to than the aforementioned tracks. "Only Angel" begins as yet another slow song, as a woman speaks softly over the track - that is, before Harry screams and yanks you out of the peaceful trance you found yourself slipping into. There should seriously be a warning on this one. This is easily a contender for the most hardcore 70s rock inspired track on the album; but, the following track "Kiwi" takes the cake with a banging instrumental and chorus that repeats, "I'm having your baby, it's none of your business."
I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that. Who's having your what? It's none of your what? What?
Moving on, Styles keeps the rock vibes going in "Women," which seems to be a huge fan favorite, most likely due to it's appearance in a Snapchat filter that recreates the artwork for "Sign of the Times." This track also features a killer guitar solo for anyone who was still not convinced of his rock abilities at this point.
All in all, Harry Styles managed to satisfy his already huge audience, as well as win over more reluctant listeners who swore they'd never be caught dead listening to someone who created such pop driven music. His success as a solo artist leaves you to wonder whether or not he'll be too inclined to return to One Direction, if or when their hiatus ends. Only time will tell, but in the meantime we'll be here rocking out and pondering who dropped the baby bomb on Harry.