The birth of Harry Styles as a solo artist is probably going to be noted as the biggest success story of 2017 with a worldwide number one debut single and a sold out world tour in less than 30 seconds. It’s one of those things that is almost unheard of but Harry is breaking those barriers and giving you an album you probably didn’t expect. The self titled record is an intimate collection of ten songs that have you begging for more when it finishes. There are no gimmicks or big pop moments that would be predictable for a member of one of the worlds biggest boybands but instead all these songs are just purely him. Honest, raw, genuine and beautiful. Album opener “Meet Me In The Hallway” sets the mood for the whole record with a building production surrounding a storyline of him begging someone to return after leaving him. It’s a vulnerable moment which hooks you in and makes you realise that this album is going to be special. “Sign Of The Times” is a long melodramatic track that sounds like it came straight off a David Bowie album and no I’m not being shady. “Carolina” sees him amping it up and proving that he really is a rock star that deserves the praise. And then we are met with the albums first major highlight, “Two Ghosts” which is a heartbreaking ballad that looks at the end of a relationship where both parties walked away feeling like different people. “We’re not who we used to be, we’re just two ghosts standing in the place of you and me”. With the vivid imagery in the lyrics it has already been speculated to be about his infamous relationship with Taylor Swift which he didn’t deny during a recent interview. The basic strumming of “Sweet Creature” is relaxing and slightly forgettable but the crooning of “Ever Since New York” will become a favourite. He amps it up again and experiments with a more fulfilled rock sound on “Kiwi”, Only Angel” and “Woman” giving him that rockstar appeal you wanted from this release. Album closer “From The Dining Table” is the record’s strongest and most powerful track. It is a haunting ballad that is minimalistic in production but heavily impactful with its lyrics, delivery and emotion. “We haven’t spoken since you went away. Comfortable silence is overrated. Why wont you ever say what you want to say? Even my phone misses your call by the way”. It’s a song that really captures the essence of his vocals, song writing ability and introduces you to a rare vulnerability.
What he has succeeded at doing with this album is delivering 10 ambitious, mature and genuine songs that stand out in this heavily saturated pop/rock market and whole heartedly make you believe that Harry Styles is never going to be a one hit wonder. He is here to stay.