Harry Styles has made his long awaited return.
Loved by cult followers, fans and One Direction junkies alike, “Fine Line” was released everywhere on Dec. 13.
Comprehensive in soulful guitar riffs, rich imagery and unparalleled background vocals throughout, “Fine Line” asserts Styles continued 70s influence.
In contrast to his previous debut solo album, “Harry Styles,” Styles’ early releases were exceptionally upbeat, sparking initial radio play and buzz. The first three singles released are some of the best tracks off the album.
According to Rolling Stone, Styles said, “‘This time I really felt so much less afraid to write fun pop songs. It had to do with the whole thing of being on tour and feeling accepted.’”
The album opens with “Golden,” an experimental track that successfully elates Styles’ intended tone for the rest of the album.
The song begins with the lyrics, “Golden, golden, golden/ As I open my eyes/ Hold it, focus, hoping/ Take me back to the light.”
“Adore You” was the third single and is the third song on the album. Longer than its earlier single releases, “Adore You” is my personal favorite, an unbeatable pop-rock blend. Complete with an engrossing music video, just under eight minutes long.
The lead single off of the album, “Lights Up,” is a compelling blend of Styles’ love for pop ballads, as well as a sprightly liberation from past tracks.
Repeatedly questioning one’s identity, Styles again and again asks, “What do you mean?/I’m sorry by the way/ I’m never going back now,” and “Lights up and they know who you are/Know who you are/ Do you know who you are?”
According to Rolling Stone, “‘It all just comes down to I’m having more fun, I guess,’” Styles said. “‘I think ‘Lights Up’ came at the end of a long period of self-reflection, self-acceptance,’” Styles said.
Equally upbeat, “Watermelon Sugar” is carefree, sweet and addictive. The second single from the album and second track is again extremely upbeat, much more so than past work. One of my personal favorites, “Watermelon Sugar” is sure to satisfy one’s love for pop and rock n’ roll.
Track five, “Cherry,” signifies a turning point in “Fine Line.”
The song is a recognizable salute to Styles’ ex, French-American model Camille Rowe.
The track concludes with voicemail from Rowe in French, speaking nonsense phrases (translated into English) such as “‘Hello! Are you asleep? Oh, I’m sorry… Well, no… Nope,
it’s not important…Well then… We went to the beach and now we—Perfect! Harry,’” according to Cosmopolitan. Fans have also speculated that the song’s title is a tie to the past couple’s “ship” name, Charry. In conclusion, “Cherry” is a reminder that heart wrenching songs can still be somewhat upbeat.
I want to give a nod to “Falling,” “To Be So Lonely,” “She” and “Canyon Moon” and tracks six, seven, eight and 10. Each song conveys something different: two breakup ballads, a rock saga and a possible ode to Styles’ time with model Kendall Jenner. Additionally, Styles primarily cultivated “Fine Line” while living, playing and creating in Malibu, California, leaving a west-coast twang in each track.
“Sunflower, Vol. 6,” is the crazy, fun relative of the album. Completely disco influenced, track nine is sure to get one dancing.
The 11th track on “Fine Line” is “Treat People With Kindness.” This infamous phrase, well known to Styles fans, has been relevant for a while. Initially used during Styles’ first solo tour, this phrase was made popular through tour and online merchandise. It only seems natural his second album would give a nod to this motto.
According to Rolling Stone, “‘Through the two years of making the record I went through a lot of personal changes—I just had the conversations with myself that you don’t always have, and I just feel more comfortable being myself,’” Styles said.
The final track of the album, “Fine Line” flawlessly wraps up the album.
Styles’ upcoming world tour, “Love on Tour,” launches next spring. On July 21, 2020, Styles will perform at Enterprise Center. Tickets can be bought through Ticketmaster.
This will be Emily Stisser’s second year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.
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