Emerging from one of the world’s fastest-growing boy bands, Harry Styles has had millions of eyes on him since 2010. With the release of his sophomore solo album, Fine Line, Styles has hidden nothing from his ever-growing audience. Combining the influence of legendary bands such as Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac with psychedelics and sad sex, Fine Line is a genre-defying album, breaking records across the nation.
From songs like “She” to “Treat People With Kindness” Styles debuts with more than a No. 1 Debut on the Billboard Top 200, but with an album full of styles never before seen in pop music. “She”, a practical homage to Styles’ guitarist Mitch Rowland, ends with a two and a half minute guitar solo and the song itself sounds as if it’s right off of the Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. Other songs, such as “Treat People With Kindness” pay tribute to The Beatles’ upbeat and innovative tracks, while simultaneously calling on a gospel choir for backing vocals. When it comes to his public persona, Harry Styles constantly proves that he will push boundaries of gender, genre, sexuality, and fashion, and Fine Line is no different.
Looking to men like David Bowie for inspiration, Styles wanted to stretch his limits on the second release of his solo career, and he did not disappoint. Moving from basic concepts found in One Direction’s lyrics, Styles opens up about past relationships, sex, and his own self-image. Fine Line partly reflects on the singers’ break up with French-American model, Camille Rowe, with songs like “Cherry” that sample her voice, Harry Styles made no effort to hide the subject of his songs. In addition to revealing a bit of the difficult parts of his romantic life, Styles wrote of the struggles of finding yourself. Though he is a world-famous rockstar, Styles may not see himself the way millions do. With lines like “What if I’m someone I don’t want around?” and “I’m just an arrogant son of a ***** who can’t admit when he’s sorry.” Styles puts himself out on the table for the world to see. Something his fans much appreciate, as the star is normally very private and rarely grants fans the opportunity to get to know him on a more intimate level.
Fine Line is certainly an eclectic album. In addition to his tracks clearly influenced by classic rock, the album has songs like “Watermelon Sugar” and “Lights Up” that feature a dance-pop sound alongside upbeat melodies. Combining pop, rock, and folk sounds is an art form that Harry Styles has clearly mastered and interestingly enough, Styles seems to almost separate the album into two halves. The first containing the pop-heavy songs: “Adore You”, “Golden”, and songs of the like, the second half, however, wanders away from anything we’ve heard from Styles before. Experimental tunes such as “To Be So Lonely” and “Sunflower Vol.6” are seen in the second half. “To Be So Lonely” features a killer guitar melody and a song structure like no one’s ever seen. “Sunflower Vol. 6” is an upbeat song featuring incredible guitar riffs, a dance-hall beat, and techno influences around every corner.
Overall, Styles has done something different with this album, something current pop music is in dire need of- and because of his unique style, around every turn, every verse and every chorus, you never know what to expect. Fine Line takes traditional song-structure and flips it on its head while also giving fans a glimpse into Harry Styles that they weren’t able to get before. Fine Line is an experience, it will take listeners through decades of music, days of emotions, and forty-six minutes and thirty-seven seconds of pure magic.