#OnTheList with Xtine is a weekly feature from Fresh 102.7’s Christine Richie that will be highlighting all things music, from her favorite emerging artists, top female vocalists, and much, much more!
Feelings of excitement and anticipation consume devotees of major bands when they part ways to embark on solo careers. It happened with The Beatles and has continued with each passing year and decade, occurring anew for every successive generation and their adored performers. Eyes have been focused on the past and present members of One Direction, one of the world’s most popular band’s until Zayn Malik‘s departure in March of 2015 and forthcoming hiatus the following year.
Harry Styles is the first member since Malik to deliver solo work, the eponymous debut released on May 12th featuring the single “Sign of the Times.” After a weekend alone with Harry in my headphones, I’m left with four thoughts as to why you’ll love Styles’ debut.
Styles Didn’t Do As Expected
Of all the solo stuff from the One Direction members, Harry’s was the most anticipated. We really had no idea what to expect, but I don’t think anybody would’ve predicted what we got; an album that’s more classic rock than anything. He could’ve just done and album of songs that had a similar 1D sound, but instead did his own thing. When you first hear “Sign of the Times,” it stops you dead in your tracks. There’s nothing like it on the radio right now. He smashed it!
*Zayn gets a mention for doing that as well.
Harry Is Standing Out
After all those years crafting songs in One Direction, Styles knows how to develop a hit song. And that’s what everyone hopes for; a hit. The winning combination lately seems to be artists collaborating with DJs. Every artist seems to be jumping on that bandwagon (I’m looking at you, Coldplay!). Styles could’ve very easily done the same, but instead took a distinct departure, which has really forced people to take notice. He’s not just blending in with all the other songs that sound the same. Smart move.
Styles Doesn’t Underestimate His Fans
One of the things that has endeared me to Styles is his love, appreciation, and understanding of his fans. I love what he said about them in his Rolling Stone interview: “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? Young girls like The Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? Teenage girl fans, they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act too cool. They like you and they tell you. Which is sick.”
Styles bet on the fact that his fans would appreciate good music and didn’t want to just hear more of the same, and he was right. Do some of his fans like him because he’s good looking? Yes, but if they didn’t like the music, that would be fleeting. Harry knows that.
Styles Stayed True To Himself
Some how he tuned out the noise from everyone: critics, record labels, and management; then kept on his path. He was honest and stayed true to himself. That’s what the fans are responding to and why critics can’t just write him off as a “boy bander” with no musical chops. Styles also could’ve tried too hard to set himself apart from the 1D music and it would’ve been obvious. This album just sounds like someone who grew up listening to the greats and mixed them in with his own sound.
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