Harry Styles raises heavy philosophical questions, on a very good sophomore album,’Fine Line’ like… Is it “Dad rock” if it’s …mostly the young women streaming it?
Why Styles has chosen to use his superpowers for good?
Why Styles has chosen to use his superpowers for good and not evil? As these energies were vested in him by the superstar status of One Direction, which with each passing month sets new records for longest hiatus ever, even as its members meander in multiple directions. Most fulfilling of these detours has been Harry Styles’ full immersion in an era that predates him by a few generations, the mellow gold of the 1970s, when he released his eponymous solo debut two and a half years ago, made for quite an interesting dichotomy between his fan base and his bank of influences. Essentially, that was Dad-rock for girls. Men not knowing, but the little girls understanding it…well, the men would have gotten Styles’ initial solo music just as fine, if any of them had shown up for the shows. But even then the seats were filled anyway.
Harry Styles’ second album
Now come to Harry Styles’ second album, the question was that would he chicken out and play more directly to his target demo? The No. 1 hit was “Sign of the Times” was not quite everyone thought it would be; but that can happen with six-minute ballads that sound like Nilsson, in late 2010s.
One could also raise more cynical question of whether the ‘70s influence was a trendy coat, which he borrowed from his older co-writer/producers that would be easy to be discarded as whatever that black lace getup was that he wore to the Met Gala.
Again looks suspicions along these lines might have seemed founded when he released a teaser track (it’s not an official single, the record company would like to remind us) called the “Lights Up,” was fine but sounded faintly contemporary. Retro-Harry, we hardly knew yeh…?
“Fine Line” album
It good to know that the “Fine Line” album makes almost no sops to sounding like anything else you’ll hear on the radio. Harry Styles was so much older then but still not that much younger-sounding now, as it turns out. “Golden,”, the opening track is probably an ode to a girl, not a state but as the harmonies kick in alongside the slide guitar, there’s a hint that he’s been keeping spiritual if not literal company in California with Crosby, Stills & Nash. The Track “Canyon Moon,” in a happy charmer with some introductory acoustic strumming that inescapably brings to mind “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
Most of the songs have McCartney-esque interludes, like slightly draggier versions of the album tracks he might have released in his fruitful ‘70s solo heyday. Juber’s hit-songwriter daughter, Ilsey Juber, who co-wrote a track on the album, but you get the feeling that Styles is the kind of guy who totally knows and digs that Juber was a band member on one of his favorite McCartney albums, “Back to the Egg.”