by SYDNEY CHURCH - Harry Styles released his sophomore album on Friday, Dec. 13, and here’s what I thought about it.
There’s no denying my love for the British boy they call Harry Styles. I mean, ask anyone who’s ever talked to me and they’ll tell you it’s true. So the information you’re about to read is definitely going to be biased--not wrong, just biased. Take it as you will.
“Fine Line” rocketed to the top of the charts within minutes of release in countries all around the world. The album dropped just after midnight on Friday, and obviously, I was awake and ready to listen, filming myself and a friend on my computer webcam. If you’re a music lover like myself, you know there is only one correct way to listen to an album: start to finish, in order, without stopping. That is exactly what I did.
“Golden” is a nice, upbeat beginning to the album. It is an opening not many expected from Styles. His first, self-titled album opened with a slow-tempo piece, much different than this new beginning. It serves as a symbol to the awakening of this new era of his music, his new sound, a more open Harry Styles. This was teased at the end of the tour announcement video and sent fans into a frenzy. I really love the song, like a dance party anthem. You could definitely catch me headbanging in my car on the way to school.
The second single released from the album, on Nov. 16. Minutes before his debut on Saturday Night Live, the song was dropped out of nowhere. My friend Ava Hiatt and I were surely taken by surprise. We had anticipated the song to be released that night, but not out of the blue. By the time Styles sang it live on SNL, we knew all the words. “Watermelon Sugar” is a catchy, upbeat melody with fun lyrics and a good stage presence.
Don’t get me started on this song. The build-up to the release of the third and final single of “Fine Line” led to a fake island. Yes, a fake island. Styles and his team created an island, including social media and advertisements surrounding it. When an unknowing Twitter user came across an advertisement on YouTube and asked the community for help solving the mystery, fans quickly came to the conclusion that there was a relation to the album. Nearly a week later, the song and music video were released. The song serves as a fun devotion to Styles’s fans with an upbeat chorus and fun music video.
The announcement of “Lights Up” was long anticipated by the music world. The first single on the “Fine Line” album was released over a year after Styles’s first tour ended and fans were more than ready. The build-up to this release was also hilariously connected. Days after posters with the line “Do You Know Who You Are” surfaced and were rumored to be connected to the One Direction singer, Styles himself simply tweeted “Do.” Fans went crazy, as there seemed to be only one explanation. Harry himself. The single is what clearly showed what the new era of Harry Styles’s music meant. A brand new sound, one that no one expected, but everyone liked.
The entire album focuses on love and heartbreak and the emotions someone feels when their heart is ripped out of their chest and stepped on a couple times. This song is a strong portrayal of that idea. The composition of the song is light, but with deep meaning. It is one of the more controversial songs because it includes a voice message from an ex-girlfriend. Many fans don’t like “Cherry”; however, it is at the top of my list.
Okay, to preface, this was the song I was the most excited for. So, I did listen to it first, out of order. I know, I know, breaking my own rules. My immediate reaction was exactly what anyone would have expected. I cried. I cried for a lot of the album, but I sobbed like a baby during this song. There’s a lot of raw emotions put into it and you can tell it’s a song that was written during a time of despair. "Falling” is also one of the most popular songs on the album, continuing to chart on iTunes into its second week.
“To Be So Lonely”
This song is completely different from anything Styles has written before, and I couldn’t love it any more than I do. The lyrics are kind of sad, but they’re masked by an interesting melody of instruments. If the song was slower or deeper in tone, I think it would be a bit more emotionally driven than it actually is.
When the tracklist was first released, two songs were durated to be six minutes long. This sent fans on run for their money. “She” is a slower six-minute serenade with a killer guitar solo performed by Styles' guitarist, Mitch Rowland. It’s a strong lead to the ending of the album and serves a great purpose as a more serious piece. One of my personal favorites to listen to on full blast during a night drive.
“Sunflower, Vol. 6”
I will dance to this song any day of the week. It opens slowly but picks up in tempo very quickly. The lyrics are a cute love song, presumably to a crush. The line “kiss in the kitchen like it’s a dance floor” highlights the light, childish nature of the song. The youth of the piece continues to the ending with “bird like” noises, a personal favorite touch. I look forward to seeing this performed live.
“Canyon Moon” has a similar instrumental idea as “To Be So Lonely” but not to mask the sad lyrics. The song is just really fun, as most of them are, with a hint of country folk. The entirety of the composition leaves you dancing with a smile on your face. The reaction video Ava and I filmed can definitely attest to that. With a lighthearted beat and fun lyrics, it’s hard not to love it.
“Treat People With Kindness”
To be straightforward, the song is like a preschool anthem. Since the beginning of his solo career, Styles has preached the message of treating others with kindness, so it was no surprise to see a track with the title. However, it did not sound like anyone expected. Some people really don’t like this one, thinking it’s too childish or mocking Styles' normal music taste. In my opinion, the song is a necessity to break up the serious nature of the album. I believe the song was written to provide a side of Styles which his fans have never seen before. It is a nontraditional song that contrasts well against the rest of the album.
“Fine Line,” oh boy. A well-written, emotional, six-minute ballad, perfect for ending the album. This song made me cry the most out of any of them. It’s an incredible closing sound that drains all the energy from you, in the best way possible. The lyrics are emotional and rich for having so few of them. The focus of the song is primarily the continuous “We’ll be alright; we’ll be a fine line. ”Similarly to “She,” one of the first things I wrote down when I started this piece was simply, “trumpets!'' referring to the lyrical break towards the end of the song, focusing on the instrumentals. And, frankly, it’s beautiful.
That’s how it ends. Not so similar to the way it started, but it leaves me content and teary-eyed, and the album will remain on repeat until the end of time.
Disclaimer: This review was written, not only for you but for me, too. Harry Styles is a big part of the person I am today and the album’s release was long-awaited. I appreciate being able to write about something so deeply important to me, such as Styles and his music. I hope you enjoyed this tiny piece of my brain and the billion thoughts inside it.