From Boy Band to Solo Artist, the Evolution of Harry Styles

Becoming slightly obsessed with the second studio album from Harry Styles gave me pause. I’m in my, ahem, late-30s, and I guess I just think it’s weird for me to like this album so much. I mean, Harry Styles was born when I was in 8th grade listening to Boys II Men. He was a member of the boy band One Direction for Pete’s sake! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this is just me being my silly bird self and attempting to shed some light on my own hesitations. That said, here is how much I like the album: I actually bought it. It wasn’t enough for me to just stream via Google Music. No, I actually purchased the album.

Facts and fine lines

Did you know that Harry actually auditioned for the British singing competition The X Factor in 2010? Yep. He was eliminated pretty early on, foolish mortals. Just goes to show that winners never quit. Harry Styles’s first solo album after the dissolution One Direction was a smashing success that earned rave reviews internationally. For me, though, this second album hit at the right time in my life. 

Fine Line. That’s the name of my aforementioned audio obsession. Released on December 13, 2019, it has been out for a little over a month and it’s still a constant in my rotation. The album is bold and inspiring. He put himself out there and he’s addressing who he is and how he feels. It’s just a superb listen all around.

Fact: I have a Christy curated playlist named “Current Obsession” and a playlist named “For My Soul.” The track “Adore Me” by Harry Styles is on both of those playlists.

Adoring one of the singles

The release of “Adore You” was announced directly from Harry Styles on one of his social media platforms. He shared what looks like a custom made tarot card, which I’m sure means something to someone out there, and a link to the video. It was the third single of the set. The lyrics aren’t anything special, honestly, most of them have probably been used in other love songs. There’s just something about this song that I absolutely adore.

You don’t have to say you love me
I just wanna tell you somethin’
Lately, you’ve been on my mind

The first two singles were “Lights Up” and “Watermelon Sugar”, and I do like them both. “Watermelon Sugar” is one that I went back and forth on whether or not I liked it. Ultimately, the truth is that this album has 12 tracks and I enjoy all of them. There is one that’s different from all the others- “Treat People with Kindness.” It’s not going to be a song that everyone enjoys, even if you want to enjoy it because of the lyrics. However, if it’s not already written into a musical or television choir show, it will be soon. This song makes me happy, legit, it picks my mood up. I do recognize that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

So the whole album, as mentioned, is 12 tracks, listed below from Harry’s Instagram:

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FINE LINE . THE ALBUM . DEC 13

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My other favorites

Outside of “Adore You” I also really love the opening track, “Golden.” I simply cannot sit still when that song is on, it’s not like I feel like getting up and dancing, but I’ve tried to not bob my head or tap my feet and it’s impossible. It’s just too catchy.

Golden, golden, golden as I open my eyes
Hold it, focus, hoping, take me back to the light
I know you were way too bright for me
I’m hopeless, broken, so you wait for me in the sky
Brown my skin just right
You’re so golden

Following “Golden”, another track which sits in my top 3 of Fine Line is called “Canyon Moon.” It’s about when you’re away from home and missing someone. He’s in Paris and Rome, which should be awesome and exciting, but he’s thinking about another time, likely when things were perfectly simple with no need to be glamorous.

You gotta see it to believe it
Sky never looked so blue
So hard to leave it
That’s what I always do.
So I keep thinking back to
A time under the canyon moon

Don’t judge an album by its cover

Do I care what the album cover looks like? Well, yeah to some extent, because I’m a creative person, but it’s not because I feel like it represents his sexuality. The album cover is bright, bold, and just looks freaking cool. I love it. Being an artist takes guts and it’s a good thing when a singer-songwriter can go from a boy band to a solo career and really become one with himself. I find it empowering, the whole damn album, the story about love and heartache and just being kind to each other.

Don’t judge the track titled “Cherry” by its title either. I really enjoy this song as well, not that it necessarily shows exciting vocal range or anything, but I like the lyrics; they resonate. For anyone who has ever gotten out of a relationship that maybe wasn’t so great and then eventually moved on… Or for anyone who is on the flip side of that situation, you’ll understand.

I, I confess I can tell that you are at your best
I’m selfish so I’m hating it
I noticed that there’s a piece of you in how I dress
Take it as a compliment

Don’t you call him “baby”
We’re not talking lately
Don’t you call him what you used to call me

Somewhere on the interwebs, I read that Styles intended for this to be a “summer album lost in the dead of winter.” Whether you like pop music or not, I think the album is upbeat and fun, it’s definitely a touch of summer, but I hope it’s not considered lost.

Fans who live in Harry’s hometown: the tour begins April 15 in Birmingham, England. For those of you in my hometown area, Harry will be in Philadelphia on June 26.