Brand new Style?
Harry styles has broken from the 1D hive mind and gone off to create a new career which peaked my curiosity. To me 1D were a bunch of boyband tits so magnificent even the most jaded fuckboy would be brought to tears. In addition, when Harry (the alpha tit in my eyes) was compared to Bowie of all people I had to gawp at such a comparison, in fact, it’s a good thing Bowie’s dead cause otherwise he may have difficulty spinning in his grave at such a comparison. However, does Styles live up to the expectation in his new album or will me and my big biased bollocks be proven correct as Styles is dragged under by the hype and never seen again?
Well damn. Who’d have thought judging a book by its cover wasn’t a viable concept. I’m in actual shock over how much I enjoyed album because I honestly couldn’t imagine dividing the Harry Styles from 1D with the Harry Styles in this new album (which to confuse me is called Harry Styles). The album has shown a more mature side to Styles with it being surprisingly slow with only a few speedier songs, this slow and consistent tone that carries across the album is complimented by the album leaving heavily on an acoustic sound with electronic beats and guitars being a rarity that lets those faster songs stand out more prominently.
The album can be split between more mellow tunes like Meet me in the hallway a slow opening song that sets the tone of the album with mellow vocals and Sign of the times a song that isn’t sure if it wants to be a heartfelt love song or an 80’s power ballad with a spacey feel. On the other side of the coin songs like Kiwi which evokes Rolling Stones style rock that is a welcomed shift of tone to keep the album fresh. The final product feels like a modern re-imagining of some of Britains greatest 20th-century musicians which seem’s apt for someone who looks to want to fill the same space for the 21st century.
I can see where he draws the Bowie comparison from, Carolina probably best shows his Bowie inspirations reminding me of (and even having a similar content to) Young American with Styles crooning about his love from Carolina while backing vocals give the song a more bluesy feel. However at some times Styles sinks always from the Bowie comparison and instead winds up sounding like a generic folk singer with songs like Two ghosts and sweet creature not sounding out of place on the album of someone like Tallest man on earth, this isn’t exactly the most stellar criticism of the album as that may have been the idea behind some slower songs but that fact is at some points he trades in his unique sound for a much tamer one which, while it doesn’t hurt the album, doesn’t help him develop a new image away from his ex-band mates.
And while we’re talking about 1D I should probably address how far from the tree his solo career has fallen. I’d say he’s forging his own career but that the spectre of 1D is unlikely to leave him any time soon, while some of his songs like kiwi I couldn’t imagine finding their way onto a 1D album the fact is many of his songs seem like the same old tripe he’d sing about with 1D but with a new coat of paint slathered over it. So while I’m sure subsequent albums will be able to help him forge his own sound I do fear his entire career may be spent lamenting all the beautiful women life throws at him and he ineptly fails to catch. And even when he tries to grapple with harder topics in his songs they fall a bit flat which may be down to them seeming out of place or maybe just the fact that I can’t take him seriously as a mature artist yet.
So, in conclusion, Harry Styles shot for the stars with a mature and different sound but got caught up somewhere around Jupiter. The album is very good but with the level of songwriting veterans behind it I’d be more surprised if it wasn’t and while his comparisons to David Bowie aren’t without credit he still has a long way to go to become as timeless as Ziggy Stardust.