Harry Styles’ New Album: What Critics Are Saying

harry-styles-fine-line-reviews

 

Harry Styles’ second album, Fine Line, has finally arrived – and it lives up to its insane hype. While he embraced the dad-rock sound of the '70s on his first solo outing after One Direction, Styles dedicates his sophomore effort to soulful pop in the form of a breakup album.

Fans who speculated that songs from Fine Line would reference the end of his year-long relationship with Paris-born model Camille Rowe seem to be proven right on tracks like "Falling" (in which he sings "And there's no one to blame but the drink and my wandering hands") and "Cherry" (which ends with a recording of Rowe speaking French).

Overall, the reviews for Fine Line are overwhelmingly positive. See what critics have to say, and listen to the album below:

"Arriving just in time to mess-up everyone's best-of-the-year music lists is Harry Styles' sophomore album, “Fine Line.” The former One Direction member richly deserves a spot on yours. The 12-track album continues Styles' tour through his musical influences — his salute to rock royalty — and yet also shows signs that he's coming up with his own sound. “Shine, step into the light,” he sings. It is advice he is also taking." -Mark Kennedy, Associated Press

"In an age of highly curated Instagram feeds and meticulously managed celebrity images, he’s dedicated the LP to “all that I’ve done. The good and the bad.” “That is life,” he writes in the collection’s liner notes. Styles may be talking about the mixed bag of experiences that define reality, but the same could be said of Fine Line. A candid autobiography written in technicolor rock n’ roll, it’s an album about Becoming and across its 12 songs, bears remarkable witness to a young man in the middle of self-reckoning." -Madison Vain, Esquire

"His writing is much improved. “Does he take you walking around his parents’ gallery?” he asks slyly on Cherry, evoking another ex, Taylor Swift, with his embrace of incriminating detail. More idiosyncratic production brings out his vocal nuance: Sunflower, Vol 6 dabbles in the quizzical chatter of Vampire Weekend; on Canyon Moon, he saunters like a Hal Ashby-like leading man. Unlike his former One Direction bandmates, who swiftly picked their lanes, Styles is taking his time coming into focus. The results serve him – and his fans – well." -Laura Snapes, The Guardian

"He’s not exactly mining unexplored territory. But, he’s an Internet Boyfriend – and Internet Boyfriends are non-threatening. As he inches closer towards the adult pop contemporary charts, Styles is thankfully owning his one-fifth of the One Direction power-pop legacy." -Rea McMamara, Now Magazine

"It is a relief to report, then, that, heard as a whole, the “Fine Line” album makes almost no sops to sounding like anything else you’ll hear on the radio (unless you’re, like, counting SiriusXM’s The Loft). He was so much older then, and he’s still not that much younger-sounding now, as it turns out. The opening track, “Golden,” 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 — an influence that becomes more explicit later on in “Canyon Moon,” a happy charmer with some introductory acoustic strumming that inescapably brings to mind “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."" -Chris Willman, Variety

"For the most part, though, Styles’ second album is a total joy. It’s an elegant combination of the ex-boybander’s influences, slick modern pop and his own roguish charm. On the last song, the euphoric, Bon Iver-inspired ‘Fine Line’, Styles comes full circle, seemingly feeling hopeful after his past heartbreak and indiscretions." -Hannah Mylrea, NME

"The same Styles who sang the unforgettable line, “Even my phone misses your call, by the way” just one album ago, can’t muster a memorable flourish, a vivid image, or the same diaristic self-dramatizing wink as Taylor Swift. Instead, feet firmly planted on the shore, Styles simply summarizes and apologizes and reflects as if he were just telling this story to his mates. During the stretch of ballads that comprise the middle third of the album, he sings, “I’m just an arrogant son of a bitch who can’t admit when he’s sorry,” and, “What if I’m someone I don’t want around?” What these earnest text messages reveal about Styles is that he has a desire to do right, to be a good person, or at least to be seen as one. And that’s it—we remain no closer to understanding him as a songwriter or solo artist." -Jeremy D. Larson, Pitchfork

 

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