A Review of Fine Line By Harry Styles

I had been waiting for months to hear the soundtrack that held the name for the melody that I kept hearing in Harry’s tour trailer. You know, the one that goes “Do do do do, duh, do do do do”.

And there she was, first song off the album that I listened to on midnight of December 13: Golden.

Ladies (and gentlemen), a review of Fine Line by yours truly.

 

I remember watching Harry’s interview with Zane Lowe and taking note of the part when he said that “Golden” was meant to be enjoyed by the beach, or taking a drive near the coast at sunset. Honestly, I couldn’t agree more. For an album released at the dawn of winter, in my eyes, it’s literally the poster child for a psychedelic Californian summer. If you liked “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus and are looking for another song to bring you the same vibes that it did, this is your song.

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“Watermelon Sugar” gave off the same care-free, festival vibe as “Golden”. Without going too much into the actual meaning of the song, and in the interest of keeping it PG, the strumming of an acoustic guitar paired with Harry’s airy vocals was the perfect solution to my seasonal depression. I clung onto that song as if it were the last remnant of summer that I’d have until the dreary days of winter have passed.

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As for “Lights Up,” it was the first single that Harry released off this album, and there is lots of speculation about it being Harry’s “coming out song”. He’s hasn't really responded to these claims, instead, countering the questions about his sexuality with a simple “Who cares?”. Whether or not it’s an affirmation about anything regarding his sexual orientation, I think we should just enjoy the piece of his life he’s sharing with us, and wait for time to tell us what the lyrics actually mean.

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“Adore You” was, arguably, the cutest music video in all of music video history. I should’ve put a warning at the top of the article that I’d be a bit of a biased reviewer. Oh well.

It was just such a feel-good song, with an equally joyful visual accompaniment. It’s definitely up there in the same realm as “Golden.” I’m glad Harry decided to use a theme for the music video that spoke to his mantra of “Treat Everyone With Kindness:” it ties the album together and it puts out a much-needed message in a world that could really use the goodness in Harry’s heart and his brain.

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“Cherry” is a delicate song that will get you all in your feels. Chances are if you liked “Sweet Creature” from his first and self-titled album, you’ll love this one. Harry is very open about his personal life with us in this song because he includes snippets of actual voicemails from his ex-girlfriend, speaking in French, at the very end of this song. The meaning is pretty straightforward: he’s hurt that they’re not together, and the fact that she’s doing the same things she used to do with him with someone else isn’t really helping with his heartbreak.

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In “Falling,” Harry opts for an approach that really allows us to hear the extents of his vocal range. Using just his voice and a piano, we really get to understand the internal struggle that he’s going through about seeing himself beginning to turn into something he’s not proud of. I think the picture below accurately describes me when I listen to this song.

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“To Be So Lonely,” “Sunflower, Vol. 6,” and “Canyon Moon;” I’m positive these are the ones he wrote when or after he had taken the ‘shrooms he was talking about in his interview with Rolling Stone. If there’s anything you should take away from these songs, it’s that Harry said he just wanted to have fun making this album. He’d rather not make something if he wasn’t going to have fun doing it. I think in the spunk and unique style of the songs in this part of the album, it’s very apparent that Harry was testing waters and really having a grand old time with his songwriting process. I personally am a huge fan of the way he brought in the acoustics to amp up the tone of these tracks. If you liked “Paradise” by Coldplay, my advice would be to give “Sunflower, Vol. 6” a listen.

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

 

“She” brings in all the angst and the sass. Sing it, Harry, sing it. If you liked “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande, you’ll probably like this number. It’s got the same badass energy as “Kiwi,” with a jazzy, mellow twist. Absolutely genius.

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“Treat People With Kindness” and “Fine Line” are title songs for Styles. “Treat People,” as he so lovingly calls the song, is a step away from the other, mostly solo songs, as he introduces a chorus of singers for this. It really speaks for itself in that it’s an attempt to promote the fact that he just wants to see everyone respect each other the way that he respects them. “Fine Line” wraps up the album with gentle, but strong vocals, that narrate the feelings of what it’s like to be toeing the boundary between love and heartbreak.

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Overall, I’m really proud of Harry and the direction he’s taking his music in. I grew up listening to and fangirling over One Direction, but now that I’ve seen how much his music has matured, it’s difficult for me to say that I could step away from the band’s songs and say they hit me the same way “Sign of The Times” did.

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I can usually pick out several songs from albums that didn’t resonate for me, but I genuinely think that each one off this album was well done, beautifully constructed, and unique in its own way. His vocal ranges have improved greatly, especially in live performances, and his style has evolved tremendously; I’m sensing an 80s idiosyncratic rock with a little inspo from artists like Bowie and Fleetwood Mac. All in all, it’s a solid album, and I definitely think it deserves a listen.

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to playing “Golden” on repeat for another five hundred times.

Photo courtesy of weheartit.com