Harry Styles has reinvented himself in these past three years. Going from teen heartthrob to now an edgy, psychedelic, and unique individual, while still maintaining his down to earth and charming personality, has taken control of his image and has become a new retro rock icon.
He has recently released his sophomore album “Fine Line” which features a mix of songs very different from each other, full of soul, funk, pop, and rock. Styles was not afraid to take risks in mixing all of these sounds wrapped up into one album. Each song is incredible individually but put together seems like a melody right out of a dream. With the rise of 60s, 70s, and 80s trends resurfacing in many different forms of media, fashion, etc., this album could not have come out at a better time.
His first song on the album, “Golden” has a great beat and is simply fun to listen to on a good day. It can also be tied with “Sunflower, Vol. 6” as another fun and lighthearted song with a melody that could get stuck in your head for hours. “To Be So Lonely” has a similar “vibe,” with a steady beat and melody with some pretty relatable lyrics to go with it. “Canyon Moon” is another fun song that reflects Styles’ free-spirited personality.
The three singles, “Light’s Up,” “Watermelon Sugar,” and “Adore You” (my personal favorite), have exciting choruses and all individually funky sounds. “Adore You” has that classic pop kind of sound with a beat that would put a skip in anyone’s step as they’re walking down the sidewalk. It’s definitely one of those feel-good songs on this album. The one song with an interesting gospel-like sound on the album is “Treat People with Kindness.” Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to sit through this song twice, which pains me to say. The first time, when the album first came out, and the second, right now to write this review. It kind of reminds me of a kid’s song you’d sing in Bible camp (which yes, I’ve done a few times). Although the message behind it is great, I definitely think Styles could have approached this song in different ways. The gospel choir vocals are definitely cool, though. It doesn’t necessarily fit with the rest of the songs.
Turning it down a notch and thinking about the slower songs on the album brings “Cherry,” “Falling,” “Fine Line,” and “She.” “Cherry” was written about his ex, Camille Rowe and will definitely make you feel a certain way if you’re going through a breakup too. The sound of the guitar in the background will definitely carry you along with the music, which is why this is probably my second favorite song on the album. The sound of it all together is just very dreamy. However, “Falling” will definitely make you shed a tear or two. This is the most breakup-y song on the album and tells the story of how Styles is really feeling. His vocals are also incredible, and you can hear how powerful his voice can get. This song is strung with emotion and it is evident from start to finish. “She” is a short story that is definitely a little more on the risky side for Styles’ album, but he executes it incredibly, with lots of great guitar riffs and vocals. “Fine Line” is a soft song that I would see myself listening to in my car while driving at night. Rolling Stone describes it as a “Bon Iver-like haze” and I don’t think I could have worded it better myself. His voice is incredible in this song and the lyrics are both beautiful and hopeful, emphasizing “we’ll be alright.”
All in all, I definitely see Harry Styles coming out of his shell with his second album. He seems to be finding his solo sound with each new song he releases. Seeing him find his voice and style post-One Direction has been a journey, as this album is very “him” and I look forward to hearing what kind of sound he explores in the next album. I definitely recommend this album, putting my One Direction & Harry Styles bias aside, as there are so many wonderful sounding songs featured on this album, each one with great meaning and melodies.