Harry Styles by Harry Styles

After Zayn, it’s Harry’s turn. The highly anticipated solo debut, Harry Styles, has finally been released and it isn’t disappointing.

Growing up with artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, I have always been surrounded by good music. But when I started my teenage years I fell into the One Direction craze- probably just to find something to argue about with my dad, or probably just because of Harry’s angelic face. The quality of the music didn’t matter, as long as I could hear or see Harry. I have always known that their pop tunes weren’t ‘good’ as such, what with all the auto-tune and the basic lyrics and the generic chord patterns, so when One Direction separated, I wasn’t as upset as most fans would have been. I saw it as a new start for the band members, for them to follow their own direction (no pun intended), and Harry has always been a Stones and classic rock fan.

Malik’s success was immediate, with his own, more mature album putting pressure on his former bandmates, who might not have had as much luck as him. But Styles, considered as the favourite of the band, would never be let down by his fans. The promotion of his first single and album was extremely well done; his mysterious tweets, instagram posts, and his new website got the interest of everyone.

Premiered on BBC Radio 1 with Nick Grimshaw, ‘Sign of the Times’ did not disappoint. I was worried that he wouldn’t take too much of a step away from his former band, with the possibility to do something that would immediately put him on the top of pop charts.

Harry’s solo career has widely been influenced by different genres and artists, and his debut album’s 10 songs are perhaps a little too influenced by others. The falsetto in the 5.41 min track ‘Sign Of The Times’, for example, wouldn’t be out of place on a Queen album; his chorus strangely sounds like ‘Life On Mars’, by David Bowie, and the bassline is extremely similar to ‘Baby Blue’, by Badfinger. The guitar intro to ‘Sweet Creature’ has a heavy Beatles influence, and ‘Woman’ resembles Elton John’s ‘Benny And The Jets’. This direction certainly suits Styles and allows him to transcend One Direction’s teen-ballads, producing sounds reminiscent of the big 1970s rock anthems. More pop produced than the originals, however, Harry will have to find his own way of telling us who he is, rather than shyly sticking with what he knows, and experiment more with his own style. For a first album, it is a good start, and it will definitely be interesting to see what will happen next.

Harry Styles definitely doesn’t sound like 2017. We can only hope Harry’s music will make his fans grow up with him, that he will carry on this way, throwing himself into rock and leaving the traditional piano ballad behind. And perhaps, in the process, showing us what his real self sounds like.

Sarah Ashford-Brown

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