One Direction has slowly faded into history as a relic from the early 2010’s as the five members, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson have all started solo careers. One Direction released five albums in a span of five years and the group split after 2015. For Styles, who was mostly the group’s lead singer, he is already on his second album and has succeeded on both. As a fan of the band myself, I have been following their solo careers and have listened to both of Styles’ albums.
In his first album, which was self-titled, he kicked off his solo career with “Sign of the Times” which was a smashing hit that peaked at number four on the Billboard Top 100 on April 28th, 2017. He delivered a somber song that left me sad listening to it on first listen with “Two Ghosts” and a crazy but fun song, “Kiwi”, which ended up being my most listened to song in 2017, according to Apple Music Replay. The rest of the album was average as it seemed Styles was still trying to figure out what works for him as a solo artist. I was intrigued for his next album and when I checked it out, I came away satisfied.
Fine Line starts off with the sports equivalent of returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, “Golden”. This is my favorite song on the album as Styles performs a romantic ballad full of yearning and sadness and he does a great job using background vocals to emphasize the emotion in the song. Then he follows that with a fun and descriptive song, “Watermelon Sugar”. “Adore You” is the next song and it a song that utilizes the full range of Styles’ impressive vocals and is a great song to sing with the volume up high.
There is a lot of variety in this album as we have somber songs that can be tear-jerkers such as “Cherry” and “Falling”, songs that use rock-like instrumentals like “She” and “Sunflower, Vol. 6” and a song like “Treat People With Kindness” that uses a choir to make it seems like a song from a gospel choir at a church. Regardless, there is a wide range of emotions throughout this album and it left me feeling emotionally drained after finishing the album due to the emotional roller coaster I was taken on.
My only critique with the album is that sometimes, the voice he produces sometimes do not match with the melody and tone of the song and the harmony can seem off at times.
Styles has a great voice and has mostly figured out what works for him post-One Direction. There are many great songs to listen to individually, but the album is great to listen to as a single unit. Not only is it filled with emotion, but it is fun to listen to and it in many ways feels more like a rock album than a pop album. I recommend checking this album out and I cannot wait to see what Styles will produce next.
Richest Tracks: “Golden”, “Adore You”, “Treat People With Kindness”, “To Be So Lonely”
Worst Tracks: “Fine Line”, “Lights Up”