By Jada Hester
After One Direction’s split in 2016, the iconic boy band members separated to create their own brands. Harry Styles, in particular, has found major success in his solo career. In 2017, his first single “Sign of the Times” was named “Song of the Year” by Rolling Stone, and his self-titled album released later the same year topped the charts of 14 countries. However, his newest album, Fine Line, is destined to be even greater.
While Styles’s first album and Fine Line both speak of relationships and love in general, Fine Line has somewhat melancholy lyrics alongside a funky, almost psychedelic tone. With the album cover showing Styles in a chest-baring top and wide-legged, high-waisted pants, the singer might as well have waltzed straight out of the 1970s. It’s not a far cry from his self-titled album, but if that album was about Styles finding his own voice after One Direction, Fine Line takes that search to the next level.
The first single released was “Lights Up,” a groovy song about freedom and embracing who you are. After being in One Direction for so long, Styles is seeking out his own tone and accepting that it is different from the boy band’s style. “Watermelon Sugar,” Styles’s second single from Fine Line, speaks of a past love in a refreshing, indie-pop manner. In “Adore You,” Styles describes the lengths he would go for his significant other. He sings, “I’d walk through fire for you/ Just let me adore you/ Like it’s the only thing I’ll ever do.”
However, many songs on Fine Line also speak of heartbreak. In 2018, Styles and his ex-girlfriend Camille Rowe broke up, and she is indirectly mentioned throughout the album. In “Cherry,” you can even hear Rowe speaking French in the outro, and Styles makes a sly jab at Rowe’s new boyfriend, singing, “Does he take you walking ‘round his parents’ gallery?” Similarly, in “Falling,” Styles mentions the Beachwood Cafe, a Los Angeles cafe the couple used to visit.
Styles was in the middle of writing Fine Line when the breakup happened, and it’s evident in his music that it took a toll on him. However, he used his heartbreak to create beautiful music. Since his self-titled album, Styles has constructed and started to perfect his personal sound, and it’s apparent that he’ll continue to surprise the world with the emotion he throws into his singing. As he says in “Fine Line,” the album’s final piece, “We’ll be a fine line / We’ll be alright.”