When I first heard Sign of the Times by Harry Styles, I immediately fell in love with its slow acoustic sound and deep, meaningful lyrics. Upon learning it was Harry Styles, the Harry Styles from One Direction, I was in shock. It sounded like absolutely nothing like the bubble gum pop that One Direction is known for. It sounded like something released by Pink Floyd and Elton John four decades earlier — musicians I love and listen to on a daily basis.
It turns out that Sign of the Times was only of a preview of the delicious audio that was to come from the former Directioner. His self-titled debut was released May 12, and like his single, nothing that you would expect. It’s almost a cross between psychedelic rock meets singer songwriter meets classic rock, with lyrics that go deeper than wooing a woman and the end of a relationship. Sure, there are songs about breakups, but these songs are more poetic than anything I could have every pictured Styles writing.
So, with that being said, I have to admit that Harry Styles might be on his way to establishing himself as an artist – not just a member of the next teenage boy band fad.
What Styles presented in his album shows he is capable of way, way more than we gave him credit for, and will be a part of the next generation of great music, joining artists like Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey. Surely, he might not be able to be the next Paul McCartney or John Lennon — no one could compare to that. But, that’s okay. I think he is establishing his own name, not as a member of a boy band, but as his own artist. Thus far, I think that he’s doing a great job at it.
So, if you haven’t listened to the album yet, I invite you to put aside your prejudices and everything you’ve heard about Styles – as a member of One Direction anything else – and listen to it with open ears. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it.