After splitting away from one of the biggest bands on the planet, Harry Styles released his first self-titled album. Styles takes a different approach on the album vs his usual pop sound with former band, One Direction. Styles shows off his soft-rock and alternative flare in his debut album.
“If you only know one thing about Harry Styles, it’s probably that the album bucks the established trends governing bids for young male solo pop stardom,” Jamieson Cox said. “Styles is uninterested in walking the trail blazed 15 years ago by Justin Timberlake’s Justified.”
Styles album starts off with a mysterious, eerie track titled, “Meet Me in the Hallway.” It shows off signs of heartbreak and confusion. It leaves listeners questioning and wanting to hear more of his story. The album then goes into his number one single “Sign of the Times.” The listener is then in for a shock when “Carolina,” plays. Compared to the first two tracks this one hits you with an old school British rock sound. Styles sings about his infatuation with a girl after only knowing her for a short period of time. Listeners start to assume this woman left him heartbroken after thinking back to the first track.
“It’s loaded with acoustic guitars and has nary a trap beat, drop or apparently even an electronic drum,” senior music editor Jem Aswad said. “It even feels like an old-school vinyl album.”
Styles dips into his inner rock star with tracks, “Only Angel” and “Kiwi.” “Only Angel,” starts off with the sound of a light and airy instrumental. It leaves you thinking it is going to be simple piece until the drums start up and Styles lets out a loud yell. Styles sings about his vast interest in a woman who he refers to as, “an angel.” With “Kiwi” he takes a hard rock approach and tells the story of a woman who has completely driven him mad.
“He goes for an intimately emotional Seventies soft-rock vibe,” Rob Sheffield said. “No club-hopping or bottles popping – it’s the after-hours balladry of a 23-year-old star wondering why he spends so much time in lonely hotel rooms staring at his phone.”
Styles slower tracks, “Ever Since New York,” “Two Ghosts,” “Woman” and “Sweet Creature” show off the acoustic guitar and slow beat of the drums. These tracks show his longing for a woman he once loved. Lyrics like, “Sounds like something that I used to feel,” and “I’ve been praying, I never did before,” show his yearning for his lover that slipped away. His ending track, “From the Dining Table,” takes you back to the eeriness from the first track. With nothing but an acoustic guitar and his vocals, you can hear the pain in Styles’ voice. It leaves you questioning if he ever rang up the girl he was once so enamored with.
“Through it all, he manages to steer clear of all the traps that ordinarily sabotage a boy-band star’s solo move,” Sheffield said. “But as the whole album proves, there’s not a thing ordinary about this guy.”
Story by Christina Poetz.