While I intended FIF to be me writing about bands/artists I had yet to listen to, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about my first thoughts on Harry Styles’ first single as a solo artist. (Technically this is the first time I have heard anything from Harry as just a solo artist, even if it is a bit of a reach.)
Last night, into this morning, I stayed up until 2 AM waiting for the release of “Sign of the Times” on BBC Radio 1. This had been so anticipated for over a month and every day that it got closer, I got more and more anxious to hear the music that Harry had been working on. Ever since there was the announcement that One Direction was going on hiatus/the other boys were releasing solo projects, Harry’s was still the one I was most excited for because I knew whatever he created would be super unique and different than anything that One Direction had put out before.
“Sign of the Times” was entirely unexpected when I heard it. I knew it was going to be a longer song (over 5 minutes) but that’s all I was ready for. The song starts with a piano intro and Harry’s vocals are almost isolated as he begins with “Just stop your crying, it’s the sign of the times…”. It’s been said over and over again that this song has almost a Queen/Freddie Mercury/David Bowie vibe and I can totally see it. There’s something almost dreamy and ethereal about the instrumentation that channels these icons from the 1970’s and 80’s. I was incredibly impressed with his vocals, going from almost ballad-like singing to higher tones that had never really been emphasized while he was a member of One Direction. The variance of vocals and almost soothing lyrical rhythm he has in the pre-chorus and chorus makes the song both beautiful but also a bit haunting. To me, Harry Styles has always been a bit of a private person, but you can really feel that this was a personal move for him and the song takes on even a more vulnerable persona with that in mind.
You can believe me when I say this song (along with The Maine’s new album I’ll be reviewing next week) will be on repeat all weekend as I power through some of my end of the year assignments. Listen to “Sign of the Times” here if you haven’t heard it already, or want to listen to it a million times over like I will. Follow Harry on Twitter to keep up to date with his upcoming releases and show your love for my favorite member of One Direction when his new album drops!