“Just listen to it.” Those were the words of a colleague that doesn’t write for Salute regarding Harry Styles self-titled solo LP.
With a deep sigh, the play button was pressed and it has to be said that not only is the LP damn good, its damn good in a manner that was not expected.
Styles without question is One Direction’s breakout star. That much has been known but it was never thought that a boy band could incubate another Justin Timberlake-like success story that allows a babyface to find both commercial and critical success.
In short, nobody expected Harry Styles to become a fucking artist.
But this slice of soft-rock is legit and unique. Styles turns back the clock to FM radio’s glory days to update tones that are familiar yet surprisingly underused.
There are moments on “Ever Since New York” where the musical and vocal hooks fight each other for supremacy as they spill out of the speaker.
What’s to be found here is not challenging at all. Its gooey but it’s not slick. There are reckless passages that are a little seedy and there are forelorn moments that scream ‘I made a mistake.’
Styles apparently chose to grab honesty by the throat and pair it with a collection of backdrops that serve his truth well.
These are sweeping terms that describe a album that would have been a standout in Jackson Brown’s catalog. I said it.
The real benefit will be the influence that this record has over One Direction fans. They may go in expecting over-saturated pop anthems that could generically work for a Jonas, Taylor Swift or Pitbull. There is a lot of one-size-fits-all action going on in the pop production world at the moment.
To his credit, Styles found his lane and fought for it. The end result was greatness.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.