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Harry Styles released his sophomore album, Fine Line on December 13th. Former One Direction fan or not, odds are that if you’ve been online in the past few days, you already knew that. It’s been almost impossible to scroll through Instagram stories without seeing people sharing his songs – and for good reason. After the success of his self-titled album in 2017, Fine Line has been highly anticipated, and only a few days after its release, it’s already being well-received by critics and fans alike. Styles has described this album as “so much more open” than his debut record, due to the fact that it gives listeners a glimpse into the most intimate aspects of his life.

I’ve been listening to the album almost exclusively since it was released. As an avid music lover, I tend to have a lot of thoughts about new releases, and now I finally have a platform to share them! Here is my track-by-track review of Fine Line.

Golden

One of my favorite aspects of this album is that the majority of the tracks tell the story of a relationship. “Golden” is an upbeat song about new-found love, especially the infatuation of the honeymoon phase, as well as the fear of potential heartbreak. I think it’s a perfect opening track because it’s infectiously energetic and excites the listener for what is to come.

Watermelon Sugar

This track picks up where “Golden” left off, exploring the progression of a relationship Styles may have been in – especially the physical connection and high of being in love. Remaining upbeat, “Watermelon Sugar” keeps the album energetic, especially after the first chorus. This song is sexy in both sound and content; however, the lyrics are tasteful, which is refreshing in a time when the music industry is rife with sexuality.

Adore You 

This is one of those tracks that just makes you want to dance around your room. Following the theme of the first two tracks, this song is about the kind of infatuation that feels like nothing else in the world matters. It’s such a feel-good song. The chorus is infectious, and the “ahhh’s” are so fun to sing along to. I was honestly surprised at how much more pop-influenced Fine Line is than Styles debut album – but this is the type of pop music the industry needs right now.

Lights Up

While the preceding tracks explored a romantic relationship, “Lights Up” is more introspective. Styles has not confirmed what the song is about; however, it seems to be an anthem about being comfortable in your own skin. Bringing some jazz and R&B influence into the album’s sound, I think this song is perfectly placed. It interrupts the heavy pop-influenced sound of the three opening tracks, and foreshadows the depth that is to come.

Cherry 

This is where the album begins to change for the better, in my opinion. “Cherry” is about the pain of losing a lover to somebody else when you have yet to move on. This track is acoustic, and feels almost folksy at times because of the guitar plucking. I always love when artists write about specific personal experiences, so this song ranks high on my list due to its lyrics. I also love that Styles chose to include a voice recording of his ex-girlfriend in the outro of this song. It speaks to the intimacy that he has built with his art, as well as with his fanbase.

Falling

I think this track and “Cherry” make the perfect duo. “Falling” is also about the loss of a lover; however, it’s more of a self-reflection about who you are after a break-up. I think Styles’ vocals are strongest on this track, not only because the piano ballad allows them to be at the center of attention, but also because of how raw they are. You can hear the pain and sadness in his voice, and it makes me feel like I am sharing his experience. Music like that is special.

To Be So Lonely

The verses of this song are so beachy and carefree, and I love the way they lead perfectly into the chorus, which has a completely different sound. While the two preceding tracks come from a place of sadness, “To Be So Lonely” taps into Styles’ frustration with his break-up. While in “Cherry,” he didn’t want his ex to call somebody else “baby,” he now expresses how hard it is when she continues to call him by the same name even though they are no longer together. I love when lyrics from songs reference other tracks like this (even unintentionally).

She

If Harry Styles and Alex Turner had a love child, it would be this song. “She” is almost sickeningly smooth, and I think the guitar solo on this track is some of the album’s strongest musical content. If you have listened to Styles’ self-titled album, think of “She” as “Woman” part 2, but better. I love that the lyrics of this song center around a daydream, because it’s honestly so easy to get lost in the music – especially the 2.5 minute psychedelic guitar solo outro.

Sunflower, Vol. 6

This is definitely the most experimental track on this album, if you couldn’t already tell from the quirky title. Styles has been open about his experimentation with psychedelic drugs during the time he wrote Fine Line, and I feel like it’s safe to assume that this is one of the tracks inspired by those experiences. I love the feel-good vibes of this song. Somehow, it makes me nostalgic for summer memories that have yet to happen.

Canyon Moon 

I feel like this song brings Styles’ previous influences from 70’s soft rock into Fine Line. While much of this album takes a completely different path from his debut, this track feels like a nod to that record. Similar to the preceding track, “Canyon Moon” is unapologetically feel-good. It’s one of those songs that makes it almost impossible to be anything but happy while it’s playing. I also find this track to have some of the strongest lyrics on the album, at least on a line-to-line basis.

Treat People With Kindness

As much as I hate to say it, this is one of the weaker points of the album for me. I love the lyrics of this song, but the chorus just hasn’t grown on me – mostly because an actual chorus sings it. I appreciate what the song stands for, but I think I would have preferred it had Styles sang the entire song himself, or if the chorus had simply backed his vocals in the refrain. That being said, I do think this will be a really fun song to experience live at his show in June, especially because it will create a sense of community beyond that which concerts already inspire.

Fine Line

If “She” is Harry Styles and Alex Turner’s love child, “Fine Line” is the love child of Styles and Bon Iver. I don’t know how to describe this track other than hauntingly beautiful. The lyrics of this song illustrate the juxtaposing themes of this album: love and hate, highs and lows. That’s what the title “Fine Line” represents, and I love the symbolism in that. The song ends with a powerful, sonic crescendo, and I get chills every time it begins to build up. This track is one of my favorites because it feels like the perfect conclusion to the album, both lyrically and musically.

Emily is currently a Senior at the University of Pennsylvania. She's majoring in Sociology and minoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. She loves concerts and crystals, and spends most of her time listening to music or rewatching the same 5 movies she's loved since high school.
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