Album review: Harry Styles


Maddie Ward, multimedia editor

On May 12, Harry Styles became the first One Direction member since Zayn Malik to release a solo album. The former band member’s self-titled record was welcomed with open arms by fans around the world, debuting as the number one album on the Billboard 200. Despite his pop-oriented One Direction roots, Style’s new album showcases a more mature, rock side that listeners are not used to seeing from the singer.

To introduce his new style to the world, Styles released his debut solo single, “Sign of the Times.” The soft rock ballad is far from the bubbly and optimistic songs from Styles’ former boy band past. Through this single, Style was able to convey themes of hope, despair and triumph with lyrics speaking of dark times trying to be overcome. Upon first listen, it is easy to mistake the song for the typical love song, but with further examination of the lyrics, it can be seen that Styles was attempting to reach a much greater point about self-improvement and learning from past mistakes.

Harry Styles was not void of well written and beautifully arranged love songs. “Carolina,” the third track on the record, is written for a girl Styles met once, but still deemed worthy for a relatable, more upbeat song about one who got away. With a slower tempo, “Two Ghosts” depicts a relationship that has demised and the final stage of acceptance that once was is no more. Leaning towards an angrier approach to a past relationship, “Kiwi” spins the tale of infatuation that led to lying and deceit that left Styles confused and upset.

Despite every song on the album striking a chord with listeners, Styles’ real gem is one of the last tracks, “Woman.” Opening with a voice recording of one of his friends, the song quickly transitions into a buoyant, yet reflective tune. The harsh chords of the lead guitar convey a sense of urgency as Styles sings about a lost lover he still cannot seem to get over. While the words of jealousy about a former flame’s new relationship resonate with many, you cannot help but feel how overbearing and obnoxious Styles felt when obsessing over his old love.

Whether you were a fan of the former One Direction heartthrob’s past works or not, Harry Styles is an album definitely deserving of a listen. The album caters to a wide variety of music enthusiasts and contains songs for both upbeat and sorrowful moods. With such an incredible debut album, the only question that remains is how Styles will be able to follow it up.