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The Style of "Harry Styles"

May 31, 2017

Harry Styles self-titled album was released May 12, seeking to answer the inevitable question asked of a post-boy band member – “Can he do this alone?”

To some, the answer could be a definite no – his songs aren’t necessarily as “catchy” as former co-boy band member Zayn Malik’s have been (such as “Pillowtalk” and “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” with Taylor Swift). The reason that the answer could be yes, though, is because something that Styles does have is a nostalgic sound, reminiscent of David Bowie, Paul McCartney and other 70’s legends.

Harry Styles is unpredictable – each song on the album isn’t anything like the one before. Changing from soft rock to blues to more of a melancholy singer/songwriter ballad, there is no word to tie all the songs together besides “honesty”. Styles’ lyrics, though possibly underdeveloped at times, are incredibly honest, causing you to feel as though you’re a close friend of his. Rolling Stone describes his lyrics by saying, “No club-hopping or bottles popping – it's the after-hours balladry of a 23-year-old star wondering why he spends so much time in lonely hotel rooms staring at his phone.”* The album doesn’t allude to a celebrity with all the riches and fame in the world enjoying himself – it goes much deeper, offering transparency about what exactly it feels like to be a celebrity, worshipped by teenage girls and being offered anything in the world, yet still being unsatisfied.

Pitchfork** offers up a well-written article about Harry Styles, stating “[He] wants to be a rock star—your father’s rock star, or maybe even your grandparents’ rock star.” The article goes on to say that the style of Harry Styles is essentially everything it needs to be – fresh, reminiscent and unique from other breakaway boy band members. The article mentions Styles’ sometimes underdone lyrics: “Vague allusions, stock characters, and cliché turns of phrase aside, [he] struggles most with writing about women, a shame given that Harry Styles is supposed to be “a song cycle about women and relationships.” While this seems to be true, his slight lyrical struggle comes off as charming, simple, and sometimes boyish. For Styles, the boyish charm behind his transparent lyrics works in his favor.

This album is truly all over the board – “Two Ghosts” begins as something like a John Mayer hit, while “Only Angel” sounds like a song straight off of Foster the People’s Torches. Yet, comprehensively, everything fits together in Styles’ favor. Harry Styles seems to be sure of what he wants his music to be, and as he continues to show off what exactly that is, listeners everywhere are sure to not be disappointed.

What did you think of Harry Styles? Let us know! Email us at studentactivities@liberty.edu or find us on social media @libertysa. We’ll have more reviews comin’ at you soon!

 

Disclaimer: Student Activities does not explicitly promote the albums/television shows/movies we write about. As always, we seek to engage with and review what is happening in our culture in order to interact with it in a godly manner, which is why we do what we do. For more information about movies/music that we do promote, check out our FAQ page!

Resources

* http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/review-harry-styles-harry-styles-w481586

** http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/23204-harry-styles/



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