March 16, 2018
Aaron Middleton and the Purple Smoke
After being in a boy band, Harry Styles is ready for a fresh start. Setting aside his pop career, his new album reveals his introspective acoustic side, his love for rock and roll and his careless encounters with devilish women.
Inspired by the likes of Bowie, Pink Floyd and The Beatles, it’s a sound which mirrors 70’s and 80’s classic rock.
Opening the album, Meet Me In the Hallway shows off a bit of hippy Harry. Throughout, a sadistic guitar plucking sound plays in the background. It almost sounds as if it is out of tune, recollecting 70’s folk sound. Singing lyrics such as “I got to get better, maybe we’ll work it,” we can only assume its a plea to his ex to take him back. Its dreamy, dazed-out track with its quirks.
Among the more familiar to our ears, Sign Of The Times and Sweet Creature are up next. Sign Of The Times is soft in its approach and clashes with its hard-hitting, guitar driven chorus. It’s piano-led presence makes it feel scenic, its relaxing to listening too. It’ll be interesting to see whether the fans continue to embrace it, having debuted at No.1 on the U.K charts. Sweet Creature is similar to the Beatles Blackbird, an emotive track, with a slow melody and acoustic guitar backing.
Sitting in the third spot of the listing is Carolina and rightfully so. Its a funky track with a laid-back, surfer vibe. We can only assume this track is either about Caroline Flack, the star’s ex girlfriend or Styles being a free man. In the background of the chorus, there’s a lot of la la las and upbeat guitar riffs. Its a track that stands out amongst the others. Without a doubt, you’ll find yourself singing la la la for the next hour or so.
Styles is full of surprises. Whilst some tracks are delicate, others are hard-hitting rock anthems such as Only Angel and Kiwi. Only Angel opens with a piano driven backing track, which feels similar to Sign Of The Times. Then BAM. Styles has suddenly turned into a young Mick Jagger. Its a vintage track, with rock swagger and mood. Kiwi is possibly the strangest addition to the album and even more direct than Only Angel, opening with a giant riff. Its also a dig at his former lover, with Styles singing lyrics such as “I’m having your baby, it’s none of your business.”
What we’ve learnt from this album is one thing: don’t judge a book by its cover. Harry Styles has surprised us all by showing us that he can pretty much sing any genre. Rock, acoustic, pop – its all in the album. Most of all, Styles has broken away from pop music cliches to produce an album that is compelling, emotive and light-hearted.