This album is the debut release of One Direction’s Harry Styles, where he explores some of the music that influenced him such as, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Coldplay, and incorporates it into his music. I have honestly never really delved into the music of One Direction, and the only music of the group I have heard was from radio singles. In Junior High, I was one of those kids who would laugh whenever it was cool to make fun of One Direction, even though I had no reason to be assisting in the hatred of a group of guys just trying to entertain and make a living, This album is not that bad, and I was not sure what to expect when I listened to it. To me, what Harry Styles has done here on this album is fuse elements of his musical aspirations, and the elements of the boy band pop that launched him and One Direction into fame and fortune.
The first track, “Meet Me in the Hallway”, is my favorite on the album. It sounds like it has elements of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon album with its psychedelic, spacey, string bends. It is a slow, whispery, feel good song. When I first heard this in my car I forgot I had even played the Harry Styles album until the song’s chorus, where I have to compliment Styles’ vocal abilities, the man can sing well. “Sign of the Times” starts off as an airy pop ballad before exploding into the song’s chorus with a grand and prideful drum beat that continues for the rest of the song. It has elements of a classic soft rock song, and it’s all around a good track and a good follow up to “Meet Me in the Hallway”. “Carolina” is a decent song as well, I like Styles’ vocals on this track along with the flow of the lyrics (The lyrics flow well on every track), it is what happened in production of this song that drags it down for me. I’m not a fan of the constant background “oh yeah!” that was added in, it’s annoying and takes more away from the song rather than adding support to the track’s creative percussion. The two tracks after “Carolina” are “Two Ghosts” and “Sweet Creature”. There isn’t too much to say here without me writing what I have already written about tracks one and two. They are pretty decent, no complaints.
“Only Angel” is the electric guitar, power chord driven track on the album, and Harry does a good job in the rock genre, most notably in his vocals. What ruins this song is not a rock music element whatsoever. This song is plagued with someone (I guess Harry Styles?) screaming “Wooo ooo!” all throughout this track and it completely destroys any intention I had of revisiting this track after I finish writing this review. “Kiwi” is a brilliant song that reminds me a lot of the Arctic Monkeys in many ways with the song’s garage punk driven instrumental, and Styles’ sleazy, British, vocals. However, despite my fondness for this track, it feels out of place compared to the rest of this album. I do not like the song “Woman” at all. The “uuh!” in the percussion ruins it along with how Styles’ pronounces “Woman” as “Vwoman”. Then you have this annoying “LA LA LA LA LA- LA!” added after everytime he shouts, “Vwoman!”. Just a bad song all around, this one was not completely production’s fault. “From the Dining Table” is a melancholy, downbeat solo acoustic track, and is a nice closer to this album in the way that the album ends where it sort of began with the solo acoustic, minimal, downbeat song.
I feel like this album really impressed me, and I look forward to seeing another album from Harry Styles. I do wish that his next album is less either less pop, or less electronica influenced. Those added in vocal percussion effects on this album really hold it back from being something a lot greater, and I believe elements like that were only added in to appeal to the mainstream crowd who revered him so much as a member of One Direction. Based on the tracks I enjoyed the most, I believe Styles could take his music in the direction of a melancholy, psychedelic pop sound, even if for just one album.
Release Date: 12 May 2017
Genres: Pop, Soft Rock, Pop Rock.
- Meet Me in The Hallway
- Sign of the Times
- Two Ghosts
- Sweet Creature
- Only Angel
- Ever Since New York
- From the Dining Table
Track Highlights: Meet Me in the Hallway, Sign of the Times, Kiwi.
i. e. 6.8/10