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From a Fan: Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times” is a Sign that We Can Let One Direction Go

Harry Styles’ first single, “Sign of the Times” feels like a turning point in Styles’ journey as an artist. While his voice was heavily featured in every One Direction track since their stint on the X Factor, it is clear from this single that he was always meant to be a solo artist. One Direction definitely held him back in terms of showing just what his voice can do. If “Sign of the Times” had been written for One Direction, there is no doubt that each high note would have been given to Zayn or Liam, who were typically thought of as having the strongest voices of the group since it’s beginnings. Granted, Styles has matured as an artist and improved greatly since his audition, but four to five voices are hard to feature on one single track, so it would be justified. A piano intro and outro are the bread to this audibly delectable sandwich, something I personally enjoyed as it ties the song together into a neat little package awaiting each listener as if it was the first item on their Christmas list. The first listen through already had me planning his awards show performances: center stage, dimly lit at the mic, a full band behind him revealed as the song picks up around the 1:19 mark. This is undoubtedly a song he’ll be performing well into his golden years. If Styles had been capable of performing to this caliber when he initially auditioned for The X Factor, there absolutely would not have been a One Direction. It is clear now that he was always meant to be a solo artist and carry the song from start to finish. I’ve been a fan of One Direction for over five years and I will admit, I was devastated when Zayn left and again when the rest of the boys announced the hiatus. It took a lot of convincing to come to terms with the fact that they would each be happy with time to themselves, and that five albums are better than one. It’s been an adventure of sorts getting to see each of the boys really come into their element and find their sound. I waited nearly all of Friday to listen to “Sign of the Times” for the first time. I had read reviews with nothing but positive remarks about the single, but was nervous. Nervous to hear something that was made out to be so different from what I had known him to do, and also to accept that One Direction is not the most important thing to the boys anymore. Four very different sounds (so far) have come from one talented boy band and my nerves have been put to rest after a few plays of the track. I think myself and their countless other fans around the world have finally embraced their newfound freedom and are ready to let them move on. This freedom and time away from One Direction, as much as it initially hurt as a fan, has been great for each of the boys to be able to truly express themselves and show what they’re capable of. Except Liam, please hurry up because we’re waiting on you.

More commonly known as Katy, I am a senior marketing major at Framingham State University. I enjoy long walks to the dessert section of the dining commons, reading into The Wonder Years lyrics, and adding to my growing collection of All Time Low t-shirts (the current count is 26). If you need me, I'm probably napping.
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