Former boy band member and current teen heartthrob Harry Styles is the second member of One Direction to drop a solo record since the band’s indefinite hiatus announced in August of 2015.
Sonically, the album is a departure from the top 40’s mainstream music Styles fans are used to, but it’s a “sign of the times,” which really shows his growth as an artist.
The 10 track self-titled album totals in at 40 mins in length, and teleports listeners back in time, as Styles’ voice and melodies sound more like music from the 60’s and 70’s and less like the EDM and pop music played on radio stations today.
Track 1: “Meet me in the Hallway”
The intro track gives listeners a great taste of what to expect as they embark on an adventure with Styles. The slow pace of the song is soothing as Styles coos over a gentle guitar riff while he begs for morphine to take his pain away.
Track 2: “Sign of the Times”
“Sign of the Times” is the lead single of Styles’ debut album. It was released on April 7th, and since then has been performed on “Saturday Night Live” and “Today.” The song starts out with a quiet intro, which eventually builds up to Styles belting out the chorus: “Just stop your crying, it’s a sign of the times, we gotta get away from here, we gotta get away from here. Stop your crying, baby, it’ll be alright. They told me that the end is near, we gotta get away from here.”
Track 3: “Carolina”
The third track on the album is an upbeat bluesy tune where Styles sings about a good girl. This song is very reminiscent of an early “Beatles” track. It’s hard to listen to this song and not want to get up and dance.
Track 4: “Two Ghosts”
What is undoubtedly the most controversial song on the album, “Two Ghosts” leaves a lot to be speculated about. Many fans have theorized the song was written about Styles’ relationship with Taylor Swift, and with lyrics such as “Same lips red, same eyes blue, same white shirt, couple more tattoos,” it’s hard not to draw the same conclusions. Swift is almost synonymous with the color red, as she is often seen sporting bright red lipstick, and even has an album titled “Red.” The song is very sad and moody, as it looks back on two lovers who have grown apart, and how they have changed.
Track 5: “Sweet Creature”
Upon first listen, this song almost passes as something James Taylor would release, as the acoustic guitar and catchy lyrics are in line with hits of Taylor’s such as “Fire and Rain” and “You’ve got a Friend.” “Sweet Creature” is a romantic love song where Styles expresses his appreciation of his lover singing: “Wherever I go, you bring me home. Sweet creature, sweet creature, when I run out of rope, you bring me home.”
Track 6: “Only Angel”
The 6th track on the album, “Only Angel” starts out sounding like a Sunday morning mass in church, before quickly exploding into a sexy rock ‘n roll anthem. The first verse sets the mood with the provocative lyrics: “Open up your eyes, shut your mouth and see that I’m still the only one who’s been in love with me. I’m just happy getting you stuck in between my teeth, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Broke a finger knocking on your bedroom door,
I got splinters in my knuckles crawling across the floor. Couldn’t you take home to mother in a skirt that short, but I think that’s what I like about it.”
Track 7: “Kiwi”
Kiwi is definitely a standout track on this album. Unlike the previous songs, this one doesn’t slowly build up to an explosion, it kicks ass as soon as it starts. It’s a fast-paced, upbeat rock ‘n roll song where Styles seductively describes a girl who he knows is going to cause him trouble: “She sits beside me like a silhouette. Hard candy dripping on me ’til my feet are wet. And now she’s all over me, it’s like I paid for it.It’s like I paid for it, I’m gonna pay for this.”
Track 8: “Ever Since New York”
This song immediately made me think of “The Eagles” 1972 classic “Take it Easy.” The song clocks in at 4 mins and 13 seconds, but it leaves me wanting more, definitely demanding a repeat or two.
Track 9: “Woman”
The song starts out with a cute intro as Styles asks: “Should we just search romantic comedies on Netflix and see what we find?” Things quickly escalate and the song switches gears as it becomes riddled with jealousy. Styles makes no effort to hide his feelings in the pre-chorus as he sings: “I hope you can see, the shape that I’m in while he’s touching your skin. He’s right where I should, where I should be, but you’re making me bleed.” His vulnerability in this song is what makes it relatable.
Track 10: “From the Dining Table”
The final track on the album, “From the Dining Table,” is the perfect conclusion to Styles’s debut album. This song feels like you should be watching the sunset while listening to it, only you’d be watching the sunset alone as this is another sad song. “Woke up the girl who looked just like you. I almost said your name,” is just one of the heart breaking lyrics on this final song.
Harry Styles is giving the other boys from “One Direction” a run for their money with his debut album. With its high replay value, deep lyrics and catchy choruses, Styles has delivered what the other boys can only hope to create. He has clearly defined himself as a solo artist, and distanced himself from the top 40’s music people have become accustomed to from him.
Favorite Tracks: “Meet me in the Hallway,” “Sweet Creature,” “Only Angel,” “Kiwi”