It turns out Harry Styles doesn’t have “One Direction” when it comes to the music he makes.
His 10-track, self-titled album resembles more of an old rock style than the group he was formerly a member of. It’s not easy to leave a successful group and meet expectations, but Styles makes a seamless transition to being a solo artist.
His first track, “Meet Me in the Hallway,” eases people into his new sound. It’s not inherently rock — it’s more of a psychedelic pop song with a few rock elements thrown in there. If the first track isn’t particularly your cup of tea, don’t let it stop you from finishing the album. The album gets better, and “Meet Me in the Hallway” just might be the worst track.
“Sign of the Times” and “Carolina” were the first two singles he released. The first is a soaring power ballad with a David Bowie-esque feel. In sharp contrast is “Carolina,” an upbeat, feel-good song. The song brings about an image of a group of friends sitting around a beach bonfire singing at the top of their lungs. After a couple of listens, “Carolina” will be stuck in your head.
Styles shows a softer side with “Two Ghosts” and “Ever Since New York.” He puts a little more of his heart into those two tracks. “Two Ghosts” has some of the best lyrics on the album that describe two people devoid of feeling who don’t recognize each other anymore: “We're not who we used to be/We're just two ghosts standing in the place of you and me/Trying to remember how it feels to have a heartbeat.” “Ever Since New York” is a simple song with beautiful harmonies on the chorus. They make you wonder who the songs could possibly be about.
Styles dials up the rock and roll a little bit more on the back half of the album. “Only Angel” has a long instrumental introduction, but ends with the shout of a “Hey!” His voice is gritty and raw, and he isn’t afraid to let loose a little bit on the track.
“Kiwi” and “Woman” epitomize what a rock song should be — from the lyrics to the beat. “Kiwi” has a beat that drives the song. The guitar and drums amplify the song to a complete rock and roll level. When Styles hits the road for a tour, this is a song that has a potential to be great on stage. Styles then takes on an Elton John-like piano intro with “Woman.” The song is groovy and his vocals are a little smokier. Those two songs are definitely for fans of rock and roll.
Styles takes a couple of pages from The Beatles on “Sweet Creature” and “From the Dining Table.” The songs are stripped down a bit and have a feel to them that is reminiscent of a softer rock.
Styles hit stardom in One Direction, and though that will always be his claim-to-fame, he is on his way to an equally successful career as a solo artist. Styles will definitely broaden his fan base and project himself into the new rock territory.