Friday, June 21, 2024

Track by Track: Harry Styles, “Fine Line”

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When Harry Styles released his first self-titled solo album in 2017, the former One Direction member surprised his fans with a sound drenched in reverence for the rock’n’roll of the past.

While other pop stars were dropping synth-laced bangers and beats made for the dance floor, Styles’ first single, Sign of the Times , was a nearly six-minute space ballad in the style of David Bowie almost straight out of the Hunky Dory era . His heavy references to ’70s pop-rock were unlike anything else on the radio at the time.

The album, however, wasn’t the most innovative of the year: like the single, its references were obvious ( Fleetwood Mac , through Rod Stewart , The Beatles , and more Bowie ), and it did a good job paying homage to its idols. . The problem was that he felt too built up; as if Harry had wanted to distance himself from the old boyband pop of his.

Next, our Fine Line Track by Track.

1. Golden

The album’s opening track, Golden , reveals the final ups and downs and fears one experiences during the honeymoon phase of a shiny new relationship: with its fresh guitar sound and hopeful lyrics, love feels like you’ve just left. receive a prize.

2. Watermelon Sugar

Watermelon Sugar is perhaps the song that most resembles Styles’ debut album, using the same Jimmy Page -inspired acoustics heard on Meet Me in the Hallway . While Harry said the production was about “having sex and feeling sad”, nowhere on the LP is this seen more prominently than on this track: the title is a poetic connotation for oral sex.

3. Adore You

With a pulsing beat, boisterous enough to make anyone want to dance to it, Adore You is the crush made song, like you could sing this to your crush . “It’s about that initial stage of infatuation where you get that heavy feeling of happiness, like an incredible, blissful connection with someone. We wrote this in one day, we had a lot of fun doing it. Songs like that are usually the ones that end up being the best…it’s like they wrote themselves,” says Harry.

4. Lights Up

Lights Up is a moving electro-choral track, fusing the nostalgia of the 60s and 70s music that Styles loves so much, with some pop-rock touches. Talk about coming out, not hiding who you are, and never regretting it. “For me, I think the song is about freedom and, I guess, self-reflection, self-discovery… I guess it’s about a couple of things that I’ve thought about and struggled with a little bit in the last two years, like that. that the song is about acceptance of those things,” says Harry.

5. Cherry

“I wanted to be true to the breakup. I wanted it to be true to how I felt then, in that moment. It was all part of being more open and not like, ‘ah, I don’t care.’ You get mean when things don’t go your way, and Cherry is pathetic in a way.” As Styles recounts, the track was written about her ex, Camille Rowe , after her breakup in July 2018, during a time when Harry was feeling “not great.” Camille’s voice even appears in the song, in a dialogue section at the end of the song.

6. Falling

Falling ‘s slow sonic melody may not be particularly memorable, but when Harry hits the upper octaves on this emotionally charged number, it’s inevitable not to identify with him when he sings about how it feels to fall after the end of a relationship, even hesitating. of himself.

7. To Be So Lonely

After two emotional ballads, To Be So Lonely arrives like a breeze of acoustic jazz, which to many sounds like that phone call you make to your ex when you’re drunk and in complete denial about the fact that you broke up: it feels like a fine line between anger and sadness, despite the carefree tone of the song, which seeks to hide the loneliness that is felt.

8. She

With a guitar riff and a slow tempo beat that could have been straight out of Pink Floyd ‘s The Dark Side of The Moon , She is a sultry track where the singer acknowledges that his ideal woman is just a figment of his imagination, and that she is simply confined to her dreams. Sounds like the most painful admission of all, and adds a bit of histrionics to the LP.

9. Sunflower, Vol. 6

The turning point of the album, despite the timeline of a relationship breaking down, comes in the eighth song on the album. Sunflower, Vol. 6 is the ninth on the tracklist. A sunflower represents kindness, brightness and purity, and it’s quite normal to only reflect on the good memories after a relationship falls apart, and in this song, which represents the highlights , Harry remembers just those beautiful and bright moments with harmonies vocals in the style of The Beach Boys and production that could have come from the last Vampire Weekend record .

10. Canyon Moon

After love and heartbreak, it’s time to forgive each other and heal the wound: that’s what Canyon Moon is all about , reminiscent of a time when the singer and his ex walked under a landscape under the stars, and more than a description of a landscape, evokes good times. Styles himself says it sounds like Crosby, Stills & Nash on steroids, and the title also references Laurel Canyon , the Los Angeles spot that was home to rock musicians in the ’60s and ’70s. Little, she is a favorite of Stevie Nicks , who has become Harry’s musical godmother.

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