Review: Lights Up by Harry Styles

Our lord and savior has done it again. Harry Styles has ended the drought and released a brand new single. The new song “Lights Up” has set the stage for the second era of Harry Styles. His previous album was rock heavy with the kind of songs you listen to when you are in an angsty mood. Of course it did have its bops; “Kiwi” and “Only Angel” are rock-out songs that give you the energy to climb three flights of stairs on a daily basis. 

It was dropped on a hectic and panicked October Thursday. But it started three days earlier when Harry tweeted out two simple letters in the form of ‘Do.’ What did it mean?? Harry rarely ever tweets, the last time he tweeted himself before this was all the way back in May on the anniversary of his first album. Not only this, but suddenly posters began popping up around the world touting the now iconic phrase ‘Do You Know Who You Are?’ Now it may seem like a stretch, how did we know these posters were associated with Harry? Well, during the first era of his musical career, Harry always mentioned the phrase, “treat people with kindness,”

or TPWK for short. The acronym was located on the bottom of each poster, signaling to die hard fans the new era was starting. Now, the next biggest question we had for each other was: was this the new title of a single? An album? An audiobook? Fake lyrics flooded twitter claiming to be the new song, his face started showing up on Spotify playlists all over the world, people were starting savings accounts for his new tour. 

One hour before its release, we got the name, “Lights Up.” There it was. Harry himself finally confirmed what we fans have been waiting for since the first album⁠—a new single. Not only did he decide to release the new single, but he gave us a music video to go along with it. To say us fans were being fed would be an understatement. It was also bittersweet to watch the pink and white theme he previously adopted, be replaced by a black and dark theme. We weren’t sad for too long and created a long list of memes to announce the change. 

Finally, 11 pm came and it was time to settle in. The new video started playing a rock/pop hybrid with a slight folk sound mixed in. A slightly softer uplifting sound than Harry fans were used to, mixed in with a heavy piano and a simple synth vibes in the background. The lyrics explain how he himself is never going back after stepping into the light. Whether or not he’s announcing something or describing an experience is up to interpretation, but there is no question that Harry is ready to start anew. 

The video that was released alongside it depicts a very shirtless and wet Harry. In one part of the video he is in a house looking trapped and desperate to get out. In another, he is in a mosh pit full of shirtless people grinding against each other and overall just messing around and having fun. The final scenes show Harry on the back of a motorcycle driving through the streets of Puerto Rico late at night. In possibly the most subtle but poignant shot, present day Harry stands over a past representation of himself, which is most likely a symbolic way to explain that he is not dwelling on the past and that he is not the same person he was two years ago and that he is saying goodbye to the HS1 era. 

Overall, I highly recommend this new bop. It’s already underrated. Many people do not give him enough credit for his talents. He is still largely considered a former boy band member, or they don’t even know who he is. Which in and of itself is a sad thing. How does anyone live without Harry Styles in their lives? Is it even possible? Anyways, Harry possibly outshines himself in this new single, leaving fans incredibly excited to see what this new album has in store.