The first year I was an Eye staffer I wrote a review on One Direction’s album Four, titled One Direction Ruined My Life. To bookend my journey with the eye, it only seemed fit that, for my last contribution to The Eye, I would throw it back to my One Direction roots and review Harry Style’s first solo album, Harry Styles.
Frankly, I truly don’t think there are any misses on the album, pretty much every song is a banger! So I’ll go through a couple of my favorites:
The first song on the album “Meet Me in the Hallway” is the perfect way to start it all off as it gives a clear image of the artist he wants to be. It begins slow, with quiet yet powerful lyrics and then, once it reaches the chorus, the anthem becomes louder and more intense as he chants “I gotta get better.” Styles highlights a failed relationship that left him heartbroken and eager for more. I’ve heard this song compared to those of Beck, and Rolling Stone even says that in “Meet Me in the Hallway” Styles has a “touch of John Lennon echo in his voice.” Overall, out of ten on the banger scale “Meet Me in the Hallway” is a 7.
If you want to talk about absolute tunes, Style’s third song on the album “Carolina” is textbook. “Carolina” is so different; it is upbeat, and it makes you wanna dance. I get Rod Stewart vibes, but you can’t really put your finger on what it sounds like. As Harry sings “She’s got a family in Carolina, so far away but she says I remind her of home,” I pretend that I don’t live in Singapore and that I’m from one of the Carolinas. Clearly, this song could be about me. “Carolina” is a 9.5 on the banger scale. Listen to it and get ready to be SHOOK.
“Sweet Creature” Style’s fifth song on the album has changed my life. It is sweet and beautiful, reminiscent of a Beatles song. After listening to “Sweet Creature,” I realized that I have been asleep my whole life and that this song has awoken me. Final verdict: Yes, I want to be Harry’s sweet creature. “Sweet Creature” is a solid 8 on the banger scale.
So, you’re still doubting Harry Style’s rock ‘n’ roll persona? Listen to the 7th song on his record, “Kiwi.” Kiwi made me feel like I had slipped into the movie Almost Famous and was in the crowd of some 70’s concert. This roaring arena stunner takes on hard rock but never feels gimmicky; it is a true reflection of Harry’s style (no pun intended) and brilliantly demonstrates his knack for genre-surfing. If I’m honest, “Kiwi” is a full 10 on the banger scale.
I’ll finish my review with Harry’s single and second song on the album “Sign of the Times.” Although all of the songs on the album showcase Harry’s transition to rock, “Sign of the Times” best exemplifies who he is and what this album is about. Whether you like One Direction or Harry Styles (or not – but, really, who wouldn’t?) this song is undeniably beautiful. Rolling Stone summed it up as: “sweeping, reflective.” When I first heard this early track, I felt like I was listening to Bowie, Prince, or even Queen. Although it beckons back to all of those people, the song remains undeniably Harry. Slower it may be, but it is a HUGE banger — a solid 9 on the banger scale.
It’s four years into my guilty pleasure, yet this album is perhaps the most refreshing because it shows Harry’s true artistic colors. In One Direction, the five boys were stuck making pop music and although they have had plenty of hits in their day, none felt as authentic because they rarely felt like personal creations. Watching Harry come out of his shell and take on this rocker image has been such a pleasant sight to see. This doesn’t just go for Harry; all of the former One Direction boys have gone into different musical directions (pun intended) and are now showcasing true, authentic versions of their musical selves. Liam has turned to hip-hop, Louis has gone on the EDM/pop route, Niall has been working in the singer-songwriter style, and Zayn is all about R&B.
Harry Styles is a record for the decades. My expectations for Harry were far exceeded and he truly killed this album. As a hardcore One Direction fan, I’ve never been prouder to see my future husband, Harry Styles, grow into a beautiful, mature, and self-assured rock superhero.