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Album review: Harry Styles’ debut solo album sets a new tone for former One Direction member

Harry Styles sings to a Pittsburgh audience during One Direction’s 2014 tour. | Credit: Jenna Wallace Photography

While he hasn’t strayed from bold fashion choices and a Mick Jagger-esque stage presence, Harry Styles’ debut self-titled solo album, “Harry Styles,” is a far cry from his One Direction days.

The biggest hit among the masses is Styles’ debut single, “Sign of the Times,” and its ballad-like sound, which will set the tone for the singer’s solo career. It has a lot of language about leaving the past behind and moving on. For example, in the second verse, Styles’ sings: “Just stop your crying have the time of your life / breaking through the atmosphere / and things are pretty good from here.”

The song debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top Tracks list and is currently sitting at number 17 on the Hot 100 list six weeks after its release. The most recent single, “Sweet Creature,” followed suit by debuting at number two on the Top Tracks list.

“Sweet Creature” may be a little more upbeat than the first single, but it still follows the mellow tone of the album. The love song can mostly be described as mellow, which was probably the intention, but it’s one of those songs that makes you wonder how the former boy bander could ever evolve from singing something like “What Makes you Beautiful” to writing the songs he does today.

The rest of the album followed a more melodic and slow theme, but as a whole, it’s anything but boring. Songs like “Carolina,” “Only Angel” and “Kiwi” add some upbeat sounds to the album and show off Styles’ classic rock roots.

If nothing else, this album proves that Harry Styles is his own man, one that doesn’t need to follow any trends set by his band or other solo artists. It proves that his vocals are nothing to ignore and his start as a boy bander can’t diminish his career.

Styles isn’t going for pop or hip-hop, and he isn’t even going for the more folky, Ed Sheeran sound that some may have expected. His songs have a rock-n-roll base that still manages to be new and completely original.

Despite appearances on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” Styles is far from done showing off his talents. He has an upcoming role in Christopher Nolan’s film, “Dunkirk,” which set to be released on July 21. It certainly shouldn’t be long until we see a music video for “Sweet Creature,” as well.

Overall, if One Direction’s music was maturing with each album, Harry Styles took a few extra steps forward with his solo career, and has reached a place that his band never did.

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