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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

How ‘Fine Line’ Redefined Harry Styles


“I’m going to write about Harry Styles’ new album,” I said in early September, “whenever it comes out.” This was something I said fairly often throughout the semester. But the time has finally come.

Harry Styles, the former One Direction heartthrob, released his sophomore album Fine Line Friday December 13 at midnight. This album comes over two years after his solo debut album Harry Styles.

Preceding the release of the full tracklist, Styles released a series of singles off the album, including “Lights Up”, “Watermelon Sugar”, and most recently “Adore You.” The former and latter of these singles included music videos.

There were two guarantees that came with Fine Line. One, that Harry Styles was about to bare his soul and show his fans a side they’ve never seen before. And Two, that he wasn’t half-doing anything.

Where do I even start talking about this album? The fake island and tourism pages created exclusively for his “Adore You” music video? Hosting Saturday Night Live and the Late Late Show? Stevie Nicks giving the album her approval? Harry was ready for this from the get go.

For this album review, I decided to write down my initial reactions to each track upon my first listen. From there, I went more in depth in my opinions on a second listen.

Golden- A new age version of Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” with 80s undertones throughout. The type of song to make you get up and dance like you’re in a John Hughes movie. Surprised by the presence of a steel guitar.

Watermelon Sugar- An early single release with summer vibes in November. I can already picture this song playing during summer drives down the beach at night, head out the window and hands in the air.

Adore You- My favorite song off the album. It’s both heartbreaking and empowering at the same time. On one hand the lyrics beg of reciprocated love while the meticulously crafted music video tells of self worth and growth. It’ll get stuck in your head for sure.

Lights Up- The first single released showcasing Harry’s new persona. It’s almost experimental for him. The chorus is still stuck in my head after over two months.

Cherry- Similar atmosphere to Harry’s first album with acoustic melodies and buttery melancholy. The lyrics are extremely specific and point directly at his ex-girlfriend. So much so, he uses a clip of her voice in the last seconds of the song.

Falling- Harry shows off just how much his vocal control has grown over the last few years. The song is incredibly bittersweet, a testament to the “what ifs” we all know. A great song to cry in the shower to.

To Be So Lonely- For such a somber title, it has a very cute melody reminiscent of Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes.” It’s nice to know Harry is finally comfortable enough to swear in his songs. The wholesome boy band of past is dead and gone.

She- “She’s So Heavy” meets “Strawberry Fields Forever.” One of a handful of songs on the album where Harry’s drug experimentation is evident. I am in love with the fact that the last third of the song is exclusively guitar solo.

Sunflower, Vol. 6- Another drug-laced track that feels almost indie. The melody is interesting and synth-flavored while his vocals stand out against the backing track. The song concludes with a series of weird noises made by Harry himself. I, for one, welcome weird Harry.

Canyon Moon- I love this track. It’s a call back to the days of Simon and Garfunkel and I’m beyond here for it. At first, it almost doesn’t sound like Harry singing. But the “Me and Julio” influence here is undeniable and refreshing.

Treat People With Kindness- Confession: I own one of Harry’s official “Treat People With Kindness” shirts from his last tour. However, this is the only song on the album I don’t like. It’s a tad too experimental for me, radiating 1950s propaganda energy. Points for positivity though.

Fine Line- The mellow conclusion to the album that promises a better future for Harry and his heartbreak. It’s somber yet somehow hopeful. The ending instrumental, incorporating brass and strings, brings Harry’s journey full circle as he allows himself to share his pain with his fans.

I’m floored. My expectations were high but Harry has beyond exceeded them. His sadness-soaked album with its thrilling highs and lows bring us closer into the mind of former boy band extraordinaire.

With his glittery shirts, high waisted pants, and dazzling smile the Harry the world came to know during his One Direction days is gone. And the Harry left over, heartbreak and all, is the version he most wants us to see.

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