Listening to the new album Fine Line by Harry Styles is like stepping back in time. While the almost 26 year old singer has always seemed wise beyond his years, on his second solo effort Styles is no longer making music for the kids, but for everyone. The attempt suits him well, hopefully planting the seeds to keep him alone for a long time. Opening with “Golden,” Styles takes us on a journey through his own personal heartbreak, a diary of sorts, as he discusses his year long relationship with French model Camille Rowe. While “Golden” isn’t very radio friendly, the lack of experimentation that Styles demonstrated on Harry Styles, his 2017 debut, is now gone. Free to finally to be himself, “Golden” is an exercise in not caring what anyone thinks. As an opener, it works out beautifully, as we realize that Styles is coming into his own.
“Watermelon Sugar,” is perhaps the track on Fine Line that is most suited for radio, and as Styles sings a song that belongs more in the summer months than the cold biting season of December, “Watermelon” is rounded out by horns and vocals that remind fans and critics why Styles has always been likable, even in the days of One Direction, where words from journalists were much more harsh. After listening to “Watermelon Sugar” nothing is off-limits for Styles as he sings about sex and other grown up topics, noticeably absent in his boy band days and on his debut.
“Adore You” is next and the 80’s inspired vibe is memorable and catchy, with a video that is one for the decade. Taking place on the fictional island of Eroda (Adore spelled backwards) Styles plays a boy that is the only resident of the island who is able to smile. Befriending a fish who gets bigger as the video progresses, “Adore You” becomes an experience that fans will continue to go nuts over. With a simplicity about it that is hard not to love, “Adore You” is a song that gets the chorus stuck in your head, and once its there, trying to get it out is more difficult than expected.
Track number five is “Cherry” which is by far the album’s best and most reflective and sad song. Written after Styles and Rowe broke up, we can tell that Styles heart is hurting, and the music that follows is beautifully done. As he sings about art galleries and missing her accent and her friends, Styles is relatable, while writing a song that hopefully mends his heart and brings fans along for the ride in the process.
The Fleetwood Mac inspired “Canyon Moon,” is a catchy tune that sounds decades beyond it’s time and as Styles dreams of a normal adult life through the lyrics, “Canyon Moon” lays out where his influences lie, and while fans may be a bit to young to remember Fleetwood and their dynamic front woman Stevie Nicks, Styles would have been the perfect star had he been born decades earlier. Closing with the tracks “Treat People with Kindness” and the album’s title track, Styles continues to distance himself from more modern artists, content to do whatever he wants. While Styles and his new music will not resonate with everyone, the new music on Fine Line speaks volumes on how Styles views himself as an artist and creative – long lasting and way to good to shrug off.
Listen to “Cherry” below.