I have never been a fan of One Direction so I was surprised to find I was actually intrigued about what the solo self-titled debut offering of Harry Styles would sound like.
I listened and I….
*gasp* REALLY LIKED IT?!!
So… just like I did for Ed here’s my review. I hope you guys like it 😊
- Meet Me In The Hallway is a really intriguing choice for album opener. It made me feel like Harry wasn’t giving us all the background on the story but merely plunging us in mid page or mid chapter. Its desperate refrain of “I got to get better” tells me this is Harry’s bid for redemption and second chances. He’s standing outside, waiting… unsure, fist raised to knock but hovering or maybe he’s walking away real slow, dragging his feet to give you time to call his name and invite him back inside. It’s a fragile love, crumbling in places and leaving you unsure where your feet might land next.
2. Sign of The Times is a Bowie Elton infused ode of a wearied boy seeking freedom from everything. To me it’s a song about fame and the stratospheric highs of celebrity but going home to empty hotel rooms and seeking answers at the bottom of a bottle and among clouds of other vices. It’s tearing at the walls “no one wants to see you down in the dumps because you’re living your dreams and this shit should be fun” Goodbye Yellow Brick Road style.
3.WHAT. THE. HELL. IS. THAT. RIFF?! Beatles! Beatles! Beatles! Random snapshots of a relationship. Love the backing. She feels so good eh Harry? I bet she does 😜 It’s short skirts and roadtrips in convertibles and being snared by a pair of eyes and hands… Also I think she might know you wrote a song about her now, like just a little…
4. Two Ghosts – hmm have I heard lyrics like this before??? It’s watching a relationship fall and knowing there’s no fixing it. The line “We’re just Two Ghosts standing in the place of you and me, trying to remember how it felt to have a heartbeat” made me stop in my tracks… It’s a song that’s raw, chilled (some would even say a tipping of the hat to times shared,)even as you remember the whisper of goodbye and the ghost of that last kiss. It’s slow dancing in the living room under the glow of moonlight and flicking through Polaroids with a rueful smile as you look back…
5. Sweet Creature – OK I’m a sucker for a boy and a guitar. I feel this is a happy song of sorts but also sad like the fondness of a memory. It’s about being in a relationship and needing your own identity but also feeling like a person is your home. It’s the little click of tiny pieces into place. It’s not being sure whether you should be free in flight or at home. It’s trust and faith and the scream in the background I think is a scream of hope, of longing, of the need for comfort.
6. Only Angel – expecting this to be another ballad but NOPE. It’s a fist pumping rock n roll frolic. Do me a favour and strut while you perform this Harry, maybe with a pout thrown in for good measure.? It’s red lips and slammed doors and hands on thighs and leaving marks on the body. It’s skin to skin “You’re so good this doesn’t feel like sin.” Brings to mind The Stones & ACDC
7. Kiwi is headbanging foot stomping heart crushing rock ‘n’ roll. It’s knowing a person is dangerous but moving towards their blinding light anyway because just for a minute, you need to feel their warmth. I’M HAVING A BABY AND IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. I feel like this is one of those songs for couples who fight incessantly but crash together chemically. I’m imagining a trashed hotel room and white hot rage but still answering the phone every time they call.
8. Ever Since New York is the melancholy nostalgia – “I’m drowning without you” track that is pleading and quietly desperate. There’s the before and the after of a relationship it seems which is already defined by whatever events happened in New York. It’s asking for last words and the kind of questions you ask even when you know you shouldn’t just as someone’s about to walk away. The repetition of vocals makes me feel like Harry is replaying those moments over and over, kept awake because of them.
9. Woman is a track that oozes jealousy. The guitar is subdued yet angry and dripping with cold fire. Its phrasing is really biting as though Harry is thinking of all the words he’d like to say to the lover who has left him sleepless and tortured. I think the la la la la is kind of symbolic of forced smiles that fade behind closed doors when walls are hit and things are smashed. From the beginning with the spoken opening, I think that’s setting us up for the landscape of Harry’s bitter imagination as in he’s visually enveloped by the pursuits of this woman and her new lover.
10. FALSETTO!!!From The Dining Table is all blurry wine soaked slow motion heartbreak. It’s loneliness so deep you feel like it might be easier just to surrender and float away. It’s staring at the phone, realising they’re not calling. It’s being stuck in the past while the person you loved is getting away. It’s awkward pauses, not mentioning their name and burying yourself in the open arms of another in the hope that they might just make the pain go away.
I hope you liked it guys!!!
Overall, this is a pretty great debut with a lot of diverse and complex layers. I’d say Styles has this solo gig under control.
H xoxo ❤️