Styles’ “Fine Line” is vulnerable and valuable

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Styles’ “Fine Line” is vulnerable and valuable

ERSKINE/COLUMBIA • 2019

ERSKINE/COLUMBIA • 2019

ERSKINE/COLUMBIA • 2019

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Harry Styles released his second solo album, “Fine Line,” on Dec. 13. I was never a big fan of One Direction when most of my peers were obsessed with them — I was more of a 5 Seconds of Summer girl. However, when One Direction split and Styles started his solo career with his self-titled debut album, I fell in love with his style. He shed his boyband persona and transformed into a rock star. 

Unlike his first album, this year’s release is an explosion of vivid color. The 47-minute album transformed him into a true artist as he explored his identity and self-discovery. Listeners can clearly hear in his psychedelic melodies that Styles is honest and full of hope and confidence.

This album begins with “Golden,” which is a fun start to the upbeat record. A consistent drum beat and retro guitar chords propel the song forward. It makes me want to drive around on a summer day at sunset with the windows rolled down. It sets the joyous tone for the rest of the album perfectly. 

Coming in at song number five, “Cherry” is a beautiful and honest response to heartbreak. The listener can tell Styles was true to how he was feeling after his breakup with French-American model Camille Rowe. He also includes a voicemail in French from Rowe at the end of the song, which was a tasteful and vulnerable addition to the song that I really loved.

Directly after, “Falling” is my personal favorite song on the album. It was hard to choose a favorite, but I’ve decided that the song is relatable to young adults that are trying to figure out who they are. The idea that sometimes we become people we don’t want to be resonated with me. Styles’ crooning voice combined with a subtle piano melody created a sensitive narrative of the hardship of not truly knowing one’s identity. 

Styles closes out the album with the song “Fine Line.” The subdued guitar, orchestral strings, horns and Styles’ faraway sounding vocals create a delicate conclusion to the album. Styles commented that this song was one of the first songs to be written for this album and typifies the spirit of the whole project.

This record was everything I wanted from Styles — I’ve never truly loved every single song on an album before. It is vulnerable, honest and fun. I have a feeling that this album will be a central aspect of my music taste throughout 2020. “Fine Line” deserves all the praise it has been receiving. I highly recommend listening to this record, One Direction fan or not.