By Lily Firth
“Harry Styles,” the long-awaited debut album from ex-One Direction member Harry Styles was finally released in May, and longtime fans and casual listeners alike are still buzzing about the latest hits.
Many fans were skeptical about the former boyband star’s album — some expected nothing more than a sugar-coated pop album, but the singer surprised the world with his own original sound. Experimenting with heavy guitars and beautiful ballads, Harry Styles decided to puts his own spin on alternative music.
Critics praised Styles for his attempt to “bring rock back into popularity and mainstream music,” according to Rolling Stone.
Many of his pieces include electric guitar solos and riffs, but not to the point where listeners feel he’s just smashing chords together — they are done in a professional and impressive manner that pulls at people’s heartstrings. The beats are funky and nothing like what is being played on the radio these days, even by his former bandmates, who seem to be experimenting with other genres like hip hop and R&B.
Styles explained in an interview with E! News how One Direction’s band members had such different artistic views attributed to the break up, starting with Zayn Malik’s departure in early 2015.
Many of them felt trapped in the strict management that wanted them to regurgitate pop songs for profit and popularity, which put stress and restrictions on the boys, considering their diverse talents. Styles vehemently states that he and the other boys are still good friends, but if they stayed together they might not have been.
He also notes that is very proud of his bandmates for their accomplishments following the break.
Not only is the music itself done beautifully, the lyrics that Styles wrote show his ability to weave his emotions into his work, as well as send out important messages to his fans.
His first single, “Sign of the Times,” sang in Styles’ famous falsetto, urges people to stop crying and learn to accept and improve on the state of the world around them.
Another ballad, “Meet me in the Hallway,” begs his ex-lover to meet back up with him because he knows he messed up by letting his pain and habits get into the way of treating her better.
But not all of his songs are sad or reflective. “Carolina,” which he wrote about a girl he fell in love with, even though he only met her once, talks about a hard-edged girl that is driving him crazy.
Every song is honest and distinct — he talks about issues and intimate personal experiences that helps his listeners stay connected with him.
“Harry Styles” debuted at the top of many countries’ charts, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, and of course his home country, the U.K.
The album has received phenomenal feedback, still topping the charts months later. Although Styles took a huge risk with his new music, it paid off.
With an album like this, his long-term solo stardom is almost assured.