I’m selfish I know; I told you but I know you never listen -Harry Styles ‘Woman’
Some musicians make music that lasts for a moment. Some make music that lasts for a year. Some make music that lasts for a decade, and some artists…they make music that transcends.
When Harry Styles revealed that he would be releasing his debut single ‘Sign Of The Times’, speculation ran rampant. Would he go with a safe choice, would he take a risk, or would he fall somewhere in between? In terms of Harry, is there really an option to take the safe bet?
The answer is a solid ‘no’. With this album, he wanted to write and not have to edit himself. He wanted to put thoughts, feelings, and experiences into songs and say ‘That’s all I have to say about that’ and let that be it. From there, fans can take what they will from it, and Harry enjoys that aspect of music the best. We can all hear the same song and think of it in a hundred different ways, that’s what makes Harry a great fan of music, and a great musician himself.
‘Sign Of The Times’ debuted at number 1 and within days of its release, fans also heard ‘Ever Since New York’ performed live on SNL but it wasn’t immediately available on iTunes. His next official release was ‘Sweet Creature’ in the days leading up to his album debut and then fans got the music video for ‘Sign Of The Times’. It’s been an incredible, and busy time to be a fan of Harry’s.
Today, a new chapter officially began for Harry, and we couldn’t be happier for him. He wrote an album, lived with the songs, revealed parts of himself that he hadn’t before, and proved to the world that he’s an artist with staying power.
When the album first became available to us, we wanted to enjoy it properly. Say what you will, but this is a huge deal for Harry and for his fans. We relaxed, turned off distractions, and really listened to the songs. We played it through twice before focusing on our favorites, and while all of the songs are incredible, and they serve a purpose, a few stuck out to us more than others.
That’s another good thing about music, especially Harry’s music, everyone is going to relate to certain songs for their own reasons and Harry encourages that.
The album begins with ‘Meet Me In The Hallway’ which is vulnerable and open. It’s a little bit broken or maybe a lot broken, but that’s life. Harry isn’t sensoring it by pretending he’s never felt pain. He’s embracing the pain like it’s the only thing he could feel but at least that meant that he was alive.
We don’t talk about it?, it’s something we don’t do?Cause once you go without it?, nothing else will do
‘Sign Of The Times’ still stands proud in the mix of songs. It’s speaking to hardships and it’s relevant, there will always be a place in music for that song.
‘She’s got a book for every situation gets into parties without invitations’ leads the second chorus to ‘Carolina’ and the song is incredible. It’s one of the most speculated on the album, via social media, and no matter what you take from it lyrically, you can’t deny that it’s an absolute tune.
Maybe an interlude should have followed ‘Carolina’ because we weren’t exactly prepared for ‘Two Ghosts‘. The song is the most different on the entire album. It’s almost the most vulnerable. He lets his voice lead, the music accompanying the lyrics is soft, and he’s not doing vocal runs or putting emphasis on hearing him rather than truly listening. These lyrics demand to be heard, and they stay with you.
‘Sweet Creature’ is just that, it’s sweet. It’s fun and it’s upbeat and it’s real; yeah…people can be stubborn and of course, you’ll argue but if someone feels like home, the foundation will always be strong enough to anchor you down.
In terms of the most surprising song on the album, ‘Only Angel’ blew us away. It wasn’t what we were expecting at all, but that turned out to be a good thing. ‘I got splinters in my knuckles crawling across the floor’, alright. Okay. We’re picking up what you’re putting down and we love it.
‘Kiwi’ is the song we didn’t know we needed, and so far, it’s the one we’ve read the most mixed reviews about. Hear us out though, a dingy low lit bar in NYC with a house band and all the ‘rocker kids’ in their black ripped t-shirt dresses and leather jackets and boots. We see it.
‘Ever Since New York’ is an emotional experience in a way that the other songs on the album don’t quite touch. It’s lonely but it’s not hopeless. It’s exhausting but it’s not run into the ground. It’s soft and it’s still more than we can put into words. When we first heard it on SNL there was just something about it, there still is.
‘I’m selfish I know, I told you but I know you never listen’, sings Harry in ‘Woman‘ and this song is sexy. It’s raw and you can almost touch the emotion in it as the song fills the space around you. It teases, it’s not a masochistic show of ‘you belong to me’. Instead, it’s a jealous game and it’s tempting in the best way. We expected to see this side of Harry again, especially after ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ and we are so glad this one made the album.
‘From the Dining Table’ has a Jack Johnson vibe, as soon as we heard it we thought of the interview where he said he didn’t care to hear about musicians and their champagne, he wants to know what you do when you’re alone in your hotel because you chose to be. This is that emotion put to music. ‘Even my phone misses your call, by the way’.
Harry didn’t want this album to bring him a slew of number ones. He didn’t write it to be the pop star people have long labeled him as. He wrote this album with vulnerability and openness, with an artistic ability and as a storyteller. So while, in going in to write this album, he didn’t out on top with this one, the album speaks for itself.
Harry’s star power goes far beyond his charm and his good looks, it’s not lost in his hair and his dimples, not woven into the fabric of his suits or sheer shirts. His star power doesn’t come from a place of undeserved worship, it comes from his spirit and the way he makes the vulnerability necessary to write an album like this one, look effortless.