Review: Harry Styles ★★★★

Ever since listening to One Direction for the first time, I have been wishing for Harry Styles to go solo. Their talents as individuals prove that they’re each suited to a specific style, Styles, in his self-titled debut album, seemingly smashing a proficiency in rock ballads.

‘Meet Me in the Hallway’ is an interesting starter to the record, with a relaxed dream-pop sound that reminds me of some lovely songs by Galaxie 500. The lyrics are just ambiguous enough to spark curiosity and lure listeners into the rest of the album. ‘Sign of the Times’ is Style’s first single, which immediately became a number one hit in the UK, as well as debuting at four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the States. It is representative of the album as a whole with its slightly spiritual touch, and was chosen perfectly as the song most suited for radio play.

‘Carolina’ then turns everything upside down by going more in the rock direction. It’s an exciting cut, that feels slightly odd at first but very quickly becomes a favourite. A completely different tune is ‘Two Ghosts’, which resembles One Direction’s ‘Home’ and ‘Night Changes’. It is a sweet, nostalgic pop song, which will no doubt be appreciated by a lot of old fans.

‘Sweet Creature’, the second single from the album, comes with an acoustic sound, Styles’ pure voice accompanied by just a guitar. ‘Only Angel’ appears to be a favourite. It starts with an almost angelic choir before abruptly plunging into rock n’ roll, reflecting the nature of the lyrics. This is a track surely bound for live success.

‘Kiwi’ is the first track on the album that really sticks out. It stars a grunge-inspired sound, Styles resembling a bit of a male Taylor Momsen. ‘Ever since New York’ then changes back to a more quiet atmosphere. It is a poignant track brimming with nostalgia.

‘Woman’ stands out as a track that sounds different from the rest of the record, whilst still managing to sound like Styles with candied lyricism – “you flower, you feast”. Take Hugh Laurie’s ‘Wild Honey’, throw in some ‘la la la’s’ resembling Ronnie Radke and you’ve got this track down to a T. It is the most mature of the songs on the album, Styles’ voice seemingly ageless.

The album ends on a bitter-sweet note with ‘From the Dining Table’. A more pop-y Radical Face, it is an incredibly nostalgic ending to the album, leaving fans longing for more.


Harry Styles is out now.


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August 2021
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