I have to admit that I used to run a One Direction fan account.  I loved them, and they grew with me through my adolescent years; I  genuinely appreciated them as a band. But, nothing from their era could  ever compare to Harry Styles’ solo career—after all, he was always my  favorite. Apparently I’m not the only one, since Styles’ following has  stayed strong after the One Direction days, which cannot be said for the  rest of his bandmates. 

After releasing his self-titled debut solo album in 2017,  Styles took it easier than he had in his One Direction days and kept  things pretty lowkey. That being said, he has dropped back in full force  with his newest album, Fine Line, which was released on Dec. 13. 

Strap in, because this album is a wild ride of bangers,  emotional sad-boy songs, and sounds that can only be compared to actual  sunshine.

Flow worth following

One of my least favorite things about listening to new music is  when I feel like I have to put a lot of effort into getting through the  album and hearing every song. For example, I love Billie Eilish, but it  took me a while to get through her newest album, When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? This  is not to say that it was a bad album, but I had to put in effort to  get through it, even though she is one of my favorite artists. With Fine Line,  that’s not the case. It flows seamlessly from song to song and the  shift in tone carries listeners like a float on a lazy river; all you  have to do is sit back and relax. 

The album starts off with “Golden,” which is the perfect upbeat  opener. It fades in with some light cymbals and then really throws you  in for an instantly-enjoyable banger. After a few more upbeat songs like  “Watermelon Sugar” and “Adore You,” it fades a little to the first  single from this era, “Lights Up,” which is a little softer. The  beautiful little sad spiral continues on with “Cherry,” “Falling,” and  “To Be So Lonely,” which are soft, melancholy songs with vocals and  instrumentals fit only for Heaven. 

The pace does pick up a little heavily in “Treat People With  Kindness,” but that can be excused since that is the ultimate happy,  joyful, good-day song that everyone needs after crying to “Falling” for  three hours. 

Overall, the flow and beautiful instrumentals work in favor of  the album. It all sounds really cohesive without sounding too similar or  boring. 

Room to flourish

Ever since Styles became a solo artist, it has been incredible to watch him flourish creatively. The sounds in Fine Line are far funkier than what anyone ever could have ever expected from One Direction. 

The vulnerability in the lyrics paired with the funky beats in  songs like “To Be So Lonely” and “Sunflower Vol. 6” are truly so unique  that I could not have seen them coming, even through a telescope. “She”  is also a funky, sultry whirlwind that stole my heart from the first  note. 

The whole album feels far more vulnerable. Rather than just  having thrown-together, bubblegum-pop love songs that are easily  marketed, Styles has pulled through with some of the most raw lyrics and  unique beats. Listening, I almost felt like this was the story of a  close friend’s heartbreak and not that of a superstar multimillionaire  who is thousands of miles away. This is particularly true with  “Falling,” “Cherry,” and “Fine Line.” Overall, Styles’ sound has evolved  to fit him like a glove, which makes the listen even easier. 

Feels like sunshine

Even though some of these songs are deeply emotional, there are  still plenty of tracks to balance that out and make the album feel  happy overall. 

“Treat People With Kindness,” while jarring, can only really be  described as 2019’s version of “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina &  The Waves. It feels like I could march down a sunny street listening to  it in the middle of June, or frolic through a field of sunflowers with  it playing in the background. 

“Canyon Moon” was also really upbeat and brought an almost  folkish sound that I was not expecting, but loved nonetheless. It sounds  like if nostalgia were a sound.  

The final single of this era, “Adore You,” also feels upbeat  and happy and was paired with an adorable music video that also set off  Styles’ creativity. It is really about just wanting to unconditionally  adore someone, which is a very cute and joyful concept. 

Overall, this album delivered everything I wanted and more. I  got some upbeat happy music, something to hurt my feelings, and some  sultry, funky bangers. I am in awe of Styles’ creativity and continuous  development of his sound. To me, Fine Line is  mind-blowing, front to back, with the exception of the jarring start to  “TPWK,” and the large chunk of the album that is taken up by singles. 

Top Tracks:

Falling

She

Sunflower Vol. 6

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Featured Image: The Independent

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