Around two years ago, I reviewed Harry Styles’ first solo debut album, finishing my review with hopes that he would find his own way of telling us who he is, rather than shyly sticking with what he knew, and experiment more with his own style.
When the album came out last week, I could not have expected anything better from him. Releasing three songs and two music videos in the past few months, we got a taste of what we were about to get from him. A more confident version of himself was presented to us, and more mature, developing his own identity and character through his music, music videos, and in the past year, through his fashion.
This outstanding second album presents to us his immersion in the 1970s creating more of a gap between his past as a One Direction member, which wasn’t as apparent in the first album. It seems to me that this time, Styles wasn’t as worried about making music which might defy blockbuster expectations, and let himself go deeper into the world of true musical icons.
He manages to create an album true to himself, sounding good, where we can clearly hear sixties and seventies influences thrown around his album. The main difference between this album and the first one is the fact that it is more versatile in styles he enjoys listening to, and rather than trying to recreate the music made by his idols or trying to make them into pop ballads to play it safe, he decided to claim them as his own. Yes, the 25 years old can now bridge the gap between the classic rock era and modern chart music, Harry Styles’ way.
Each song has at least one amazing moment to remember – with ‘Sunflower, Vol. 6’, the synths and Mac Demarco vibes, ‘She’ , the track most like ‘Sign of the Times’, has an almost 2 minutes guitar solo reminiscent of Pink Floyd. The harmonies in ‘Golden’, the pre-chorus in ‘Lights Up’, and some George Harrison vibes throughout the album. Overall, each track contains really interesting, well made and great sounding moments and details, from jittery synths to vocal harmonies, especially during the musical parts in between lyrics.
While in my first review, I concluded with the hope that Harry’s music will make his fans grow up with him, he did not disappoint, bringing older musical influences and good music into the mainstream pop world, such as Pink Floyd or McCartney, and taking us along into a nostalgia of better musical times. Like in his first album, some influences like The Beatles, are still very much present. This time, however, he has taken us closer to what his real self sounds like. The singer could have taken a much easier road, but to hear songs defying the typical charts music aesthetic, taking inspiration from the biggest musical artists of all time and bringing them back into this era is refreshing. If each album evolves as much as this one has compared to his previous one, I cannot wait to see what will happen next.