We have a full length album from Harry Styles! The One Direction member has just released his brand spanking new debut album as a one man band, which is self titled. After releasing the #1 single ‘Sign of the Times,’ giving punk rock Bowie style, it was clear what route Mr Styles was going to take, however it was unclear whether it would work. Well Harry proved himself to be a triumph by debuting at #1 on the Worldwide iTunes chart selling over 200,000 in it’s first week alone. Being the third 1D member (fourth if you count ZAYN) to release a solo hit, we are left with Liam to release his take on solo music, which his debut single ‘Strip That Down’ who features Quavo will premier next week.
Without further a do, here is my track by track review of Harry Styles’ solo effort.
1. Meet Me in the Hallway
A hazy start into the album, proceeded by a countdown into the song, but also into the album if you look at it from a wider view. I feel like I need to be in my best hippie wear, smoking a joint in a hotel room, or somewhere in a corn field with my lover. Talking of which, this song does talk out being left in a cold hallway and having to “get better” in order for everything to be alright. Perhaps this is a drug talking song. It’s very mysterious and preens along this view of a great British 70′s rock song with added haze.
Rate /10: 8
2. Sign of the Times
The song starts off as husky, sulky melodrama that offers Bowie nostalgia, before breaking into an impressive falsetto. The lyrics are deep. It’s not certain whether the song is talking about death, or maybe the end of a relationship but with the lyrics “you can’t bribe the door, on your way to the sky,” and “welcome to the final show, hope you’re wearing your best clothes” really help you assume the worst. The song then continues into this rocky outbreak of more emotion with added rock and roll, and a heavy drum and lives up to it’s anticipation.
Rate /10: 9
A Kula Shaker/Beatles hybrid with added Harry Styles and a South Carolina waft of guitar riffing, and this is what you get. Not necessarily a combination you’d usually put together, but one that works exceedingly well. Chili & chocolate, chalk & cheese. It has your foot tapping, your bottom fidgeting, and your head rocking. Brit Pop hasn’t really been that much of a trend since that era, and it’s daring using old for the new. This works, and this specific track brings back all nostalgia for the kids for today.
Rate /10: 9
4. Two Ghosts
Taking a set back from the more obvious approach towards Brit Pop, this little down vibe reminds me of the time when Shrek and Fiona weren’t together anymore in Shrek 2. It has that movie written finesse about it. It doesn’t scream smash hit, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a rubbish song. It’s one of those that if you’re in the mood for listening to it, you will, otherwise this song is one of those you skip.
Rate /10: 6
5. Sweet Creature
What seems like it was penned from inspiration from Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird,’ it also has similarities and hints of Harry’s own ‘Little Things’ with the rest of the boys. It offers, again, a soft side towards this triumphant Brit pop throwback piece and fits perfectly like a puzzle with the rest of the path of this album. Picture yourself around a campfire with Harry himself underneath the stars and your set to swoon and wallow.
Rate /10: 8
6. Only Angel
A misleading intro transforms into the bite back into the upbeat nature of classic rock that we know of the album so far, and we’re only halfway through. The intro and that change seems to be the only majorly interesting thing in this song though unfortunately, as the rest of it seems a little too repetitive. Nothing comes out of the wood works so to speak. Unfortunately, this is another one I’d skip.
Rate /10: 6
Another one that’s a little too repetitive. I feel we’re slowly coming to an anti-climax. There’s no word as to why it’s called Kiwi, unless I missed that part. The only message that I appear to have gotten from this is that someone’s having Harry’s baby, either that or Harry’s talking in the first person and he’s pregnant. Who knows.
Rate /10: 5
8. Ever Since New York
This song kind of persuades the thought of something coming to a natural end and accepting it. The worst kind of hurt. Knowing you’ve lost something. The lyrics are deep. They talk about talking to walls, and telling him something he doesn’t he already know, conveying perhaps he’s losing his mind. It has that sturdy feel of just getting pissed and re-running all those memories about what once were. Songs that create images and tell stories are those best.
Rate /10: 9
Another musical hybrid and stems from influences of those Prince, Elton John and also I can picture a few references from Frank Ocean’s pages too. Basically it’s a bop. It’s simple, but it doesn’t waver the technicalities of the instrumental. You can’t deny Harry’s writing talents behind this LP are undeniably magical, and that is proven with these types of songs.
Rate /10: 8
10. From The Dining Table
Even as a global superstar, it’s clear Harry steal wear his heart on his sleeve and struggles with the rejection by someone else. With this one, you almost share Harry’s pain by feeling that part of knowing that he will never get that call that he so struggles to deal with when the words are sung. A mystifying ending to the situation, this song, and the album.
Rate /10: 8
Album percentage – 76%
It appears that every One Direction member has taken a completely different approach towards their solo efforts, but it’s refreshing to see that this group of guys who create records with each other, are so diverse when it comes to hearing their own thoughts individually. As expected, Harry was the one with the most diverse album so far I believe. It rediscovers real music writing, and real instruments and the knowing of relating to emotions from the music that you no longer tend to hear anymore. I feel like music nowadays are always masked to stop you from feeling the real emotions that you try to avoid, whereas, back a few decades ago, that wasn’t always the case. Sometimes you need that connection with your emotions, and Harry Styles has, without question, managed to do that.
Harry has brought the nostalgia to the present, kind of like reading and old book instead of a Kindle or an iPad, but still keeps that up-to-date generational message. I still feel myself when I listen to this album, but I feel like I’ve been momentarily transported to the 70′s.
Unquestionably, one of the best albums released this millennium in terms of lyric writing and production. Even though not all songs were spring clean and polished, and some were a little bleak, it still, as a whole, creates this mystical feeling after listening. This should have been put with the rest of the great albums released back in those times. Bowie, Elton, McCartney. All those Brit rock gods who helped pave the way for so many artists in the world today. Even though the way we listen to music today is different, as well as today’s generation, you still can’t help but fall in awe of how beautiful and how magical it is, and how it feels, just for a moment, to belong in the 70′s among those who are now deemed as legends. This album could continue to pave the way for more artists in the future. If Harry continues to be the artist that he currently is now, and changes ever so slightly with every era, he could become his own artist in every way. Just like Bowie, a legend.
Favorite song? Ever Since New York
Is it worth buying? Yes