Harry Styles Album Review


Alyssa Chartrand, Managing Editor

It has been two years since Harry Styles, previous One Direction band member, released an album as part of his solo career. Much like his self-titled, predecessor album, Fine Line is a continuation of Style’s creativity and a shining of his own natural charisma. This time he provides his fans not only with nostalgic classic rock influenced-pop songs, but also brings to fans the amalgam of sounds and rhythms of an intimate and complex journey of his life.

In all, Fine Line is a liberating and refreshing work of a summertime happiness — complete with its sweet, lyrical integration of lemons, cherries, and watermelons. Taking a road trip with the songs is like listening to a glitchy radio station — one that swiftly transitions from the trippy-ness of 60’s and 70’s rock and roll (think Abba, Queen, and Fleetwood Mac) to soulful choral music to the velvety vibes of piano-inspired contemporary pop music. I have never listened to an album riddled with such hectic themes, but one with so much underlying poetic energy in it.

The album seems to be constructed in a way that highlights the simplicity of love and infatuation (tracks 1-3), the pressures of Hollywood fame (track 4), the seeming unbearable sadness of heartache (tracks 5-7), and a combination of the hopes, daydreams, fond memories, and an overwhelming desire for happiness in the world (tracks 8-12). Thematically, the songs appear to be rooted in mystery, as if Styles constructed the lyrics with allusions and hidden meanings intending to make the listener ponder more about life and love in the modern world. The musical compositions in each peace, while conveying similar messages, are all put together in a variety of unique ways:

The acoustic dynamism of songs like “To Be So Lonely,” “Canyon Moon,” “Fine Line” and “Cherry” provided such an enriching sense of wanderlust; a contemporary blend of light guitar and cello performances and sound acoustics – perfect additions to Spotify road trip playlists. Or, if you are a campfire or perpetual guitarist, these swift but easier chords might put you and those around you in a great mood. Further, each song is an art all to itself. “To Be So Lonely” features Style’s breathy and emotional vocals while backing the intimate sentiment with beautiful cello sound in the background. “Canyon Moon” is a claimed Stevie Nick’s favorite; a true tribute to Fleetwood Mac with the sweetest cadence of Styles’ voice.

Much appreciation can also be focused toward Style’s uncanny ability to sing the most harmonious and authentic tunes, like “Sunflower Vol. 6” – which unexpectedly delves into an arrangement of multi-instrumental world of brass drums. It is almost a continuation of the first track “Golden,” which introduces the listeners with a melodious world with uncharted territory and a vibrant introduction to the peaks and valleys of Harry’s previous relationships. Its soft guitars and sun-filled lyrics integrate the listener into an aura of true bliss.

In the same fashion, the song “Falling” continues to rise in popularity among fans with its powerful, emotional substance. Though it is written as a simple piano ballad, Styles’ vocal range supplies audiences with so much warmth and longing. It starts off slow and peaceful before adding a powerful chorus with its sliding octaves. The song “She” conveyed the same emotions but did so in a way that added an echo-chamber effect followed by a chorus comprising of Styles’ highest vocal range. The guitar riffs build up to the climax of the song supremely well.

And absolutely no one can forget the most obscure, yet well-crafted song on the album that integrates hand claps and gospel chorus with his crisp diction and sultry voice. “Treat People with Kindness” is not only a phenomenal song entirely distinct from most other artists in the pop culture realm, but it, alongside the song “Fine Line,” is a solid indicator of its deep millennial undertones.

The “Fine Line” album in sum has so much eclectic action in its rhythm and discussions of emotional highs and lows as well as the fun, carefree feelings that seem to embody most young people today. I feel that songs like “Watermelon Sugar” and “Lights Up” are so eccentric that millennial’s and generation Z people will absolutely fall in love with the pop rock album (though my “Boomer” dad surprisingly appreciated the entirety of the album). It all depends! Styles’ album is an experimentation of what Rolling Stone calls a feel-good, groovy, “non-toxic masculinity-filled” album. Each song is a glimpse into the literal heart and soul of Harry Styles. It seems that unlike his One Direction or in the early stages of his solo career, Styles this time was very much able to nurture a reflection of his ideas, tastes, and opinions.

So, as you continue to compile your 2020 Best Playlist, consider adding this surprisingly phenomenal treasure. Fine Line features 12 tracks for both CD and the Deluxe Edition (so, if you love it so much that you want a hard cover, 32-page photos of the Gucci-wearing Brit megastar, be my guest). If you want to test the waters of post-One Direction pop music, check it out: it is available on Spotify, Google Music, in-store shops like Target and Walmart, and other forms of online media. Rate: 9.5/10