Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know of the hype that's been surrounding Harry Styles' debut album. Compared to the other One Direction members who've released their own solo albums, Styles has the best prospects out of the entire group.
Being real here, he's always been the slightly 'cooler' member, and most definitely had the most interesting voice. His first song off the album, Sign of the Times, talks about a woman dying during childbirth, and so set the mood for what was to come with the record.
The entire thing is an eclectic mix of soft rock, ballads and alt-rock, and Harry's musical influences can be heard in pretty much every track off the album.
1. Meet Me in the Hallway
He opens with 'Meet Me in the Hallway,' which features drowsy vocals that howl the lyrics, 'Gotta get better/Maybe we'll work it out'. It gets across the main theme of the album – two lovers who've fallen out of sync with each other.
2. Sign of the Times/Carolina
We're then introduced to the first single, 'Sign of the Times'. It again is one of the many rock ballads scattered on the record. It's followed up with 'Carolina', the definite standout song from the album. It features funky percussion and 70s pop/rock coolness, and it's lyrics are also his best by far, talking about a girl who 'gets into parties without invitations'.
3. Two Ghosts
Perhaps the most talked-about song on the album today is 'Two Ghosts'. It features a country-like whammy guitar riff, which perhaps is a nod to the person the song's written about. Apparently, it's a response to Taylor Swift's 'Style' which talks about a boy with "long hair, slicked back hair and a white t-shirt". Styles sings about wearing the "same white shirt" – the drama of it all.
— BBC Radio 1 (@BBCR1) May 12, 2017
4. Sweet Creature
He then lulls us with 'Sweet Creature', which can be compared to The Beatles' 'Blackbird'. The finger-picking guitar is balanced out with sweet harmonies and honey-like vocals by Styles.
5. Only Angel/Kiwi
'Only Angel' is another rock anthem with plenty of clapping and lyrics that pack a punch, particularly when he sings about a girl who's an angel but a "devil in the sheets". This is followed up by 'Kiwi', another song about an irresistible bad girl. Harry's brash vocals are paired with intervals of classic guitar riffs that make these two songs the powerhouse anthems of the album.
5. Ever Since New York/Woman
'Ever Since New York' and 'Woman' are next and are both about Harry's (you guessed it) failed relationships. 'Woman' features heavy piano chords, influenced by Elton John no less, and is one of the most personal tracks on the album. Harry expresses his avid jealousy at seeing his lover with another man, "I hope you can see the state that I'm in while he's touching your skin", he wails.
6. From the Dining Table
The album ends with 'From the Dining Table,' which has a distinct 'Shins' sound. It's about waking up in a hotel room alone, with Style's singing '"Even my phone misses your call" – poor thing. It features a beautiful progressive strings section followed by a pitch-perfect harmony.
Overall, the album has a personal feel to it and is a good first attempt at going solo. It's clear that the album is an ode to his musical influences, and brings us back to the point that Styles' has clearly never been into the catchy pop bullshit he's been churning out for years. It's definitely a breath of fresh air that might encourage rock to slip back into the consciousness of young people again.
For that Harry, we salute you.
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