Harry Styles released his second album, Fine Line, on December 13th. The album continues Styles’ sound of classic rock, but he’s become more and more comfortable in his own skin. Fine Line consists of 12 songs that each have their own sound, but that come together beautifully to form a coherent, fun, and meaningful album.
Styles released his first album, Harry Styles, in 2017. On this album, Styles showed his love for classic rock artists, with songs that were strongly reminiscent of those released by the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. While Harry Styles was a great step in the right direction for a young man trying to break away from a boyband sound, Fine Line shows that Styles is now confident in what he is creating and has found his “sound.” On Fine Line, Styles definitely showed this influence is still very strong. However, this influence is no longer overshadowing Styles’ ability to create his own unique music. Fine Line is definitely a step up from his debut album.
The three singles so far – “Watermelon Sugar,” “Adore You,” and “Lights Up” – showcase Styles’ pop sound. These songs are fun to dance to, with messages about sex, love, and finding yourself, respectively. However, what makes Fine Line great are the hidden gems that lie beneath the singles.
The peak of this album is the flow from “Cherry” to “Falling” to “To Be So Lonely.” These three songs together are a perfect snapshot of Styles’ musical ability. “Cherry” is a slow, soft, and peaceful song about seeing your ex with a new significant other, with the chorus, “Don’t you call him baby/We’re not talking lately/Don’t you call him what you used to call me.” The song stays true to Styles’ interesting music choices with a 30 second voicemail playing at the end, completely in French. The album then moves to “Falling”, a slow ballad that showcases Styles’ vocal abilities better than any other song as well as offers a look into the singer’s soul. What sounds like an apology for a bad breakup also consists of Styles’ lamenting the version of himself that he was becoming, a version that he did not like. The chorus of the song, “What am I now?/What am I now?/What if I’m someone I don’t want around?/ I’m falling again, I’m falling again, I’m falling,” is heart wrenching, relatable to every person who has ever become something they’re not. However, he doesn’t stay sad for long. Styles then goes to “To Be So Lonely,” a more upbeat song with a bouncy guitar riff about trying to move on from an ex-lover.
Styles’ breaks from the beaten path with song “Treat People With Kindness,” a slightly out there, upbeat, unique song. The term “Treat People With Kindness” has been Styles’ mantra for years – he has sold merchandise with it, preaches it to his fans at every show – so it’s only fair he write an anthem for it. Some listeners may overlook it due to how different it is, but it is definitely the underrated hit of the album. The album comes to an epic conclusion with “Fine Line”, a six minute song that ends with the lines “We’ll be a fine line” and “We’ll be alright” repeated over and over again as trumpets come in and the music picks up, sending listeners off feeling comforted that everything, indeed, will be alright.
Styles has created an album of emotional ups and downs, with songs that make you dance to songs that make you want to sit down in the shower and cry. Together, it forms a strong album that has determined Styles’ sound. Fine Line displays Styles’ love for classic rock while bringing in the sounds of today’s pop music. The time to discredit ex-boyband members is over; give Harry Styles and Fine Line a try.
Article By: Cristina DiFlorio