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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Stay Tuned – Review: ‘Harry Styles’

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When your taste in music is identical to your 50-something year old father’s, you catch yourself scoffing at the heavily-produced songs on the radio and their artist’s choice of instruments – a MacBook and Logic Pro. So when Harry Styles released his debut solo album on May 12 – appropriately titled “Harry Styles” – I was overjoyed, to say the least. Styles, formerly of One Direction fame, could have gone for the guaranteed chart-topper — a track list full of guest features from Top 40 artists and summer songs that would be remixed into every DJ’s setlist. Instead, Styles decided to make an album that he would want to listen to.

Drawing on influences from his soft rock heroes, the former boy-band star created a piece of work reminiscent of rock and roll in its glory days. His debut single, “Sign of the Times,” is Bowie-esque in its otherworldly build to an earth-shaking chorus that could lift your feet off the ground. Tracks like “Meet Me in the Hallway” and “Sweet Creature” echo Lennon-McCartney ballads, tender and full of longing. My personal favorite, “Only Angel,” hits hard and fast after its soft, angelic intro, evocative of the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” It was enough to make my father stop in his tracks. “This is Harry Styles?” he asked me. Yes, Dad. Yes it is.

I could write an entire dissertation on why Styles is vital to our popular culture. Whether it’s his androgynous style or introspective lyrics, Harry and his vulnerability stand out in an industry dominated by champagne bottle-popping EDM artists. Abandon your preconceived notions about this former boy-bander. He deserves to be heard.

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Caitlyn Vandevelde
Caitlyn Vandevelde
Caitlyn Vandevelde is a senior at Neuqua Valley High School.
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