Album Review: Harry Styles // Fine Line

Finally arriving with his sophomore album Fine Line, Harry Styles carries forward his talent to effortlessly pull listeners into his music, albeit with a very different sound from his One Direction-days.

Two and a half years on from eponymous solo debut, this 12-track production is a satisfying mix-match of metro-rock soundscapes some of which predate Harry’s generation while some others showcase his groovy contemporary influences in its full glory.

With opening track ‘Golden’, a dreamy ode to a warm relationship that comes to an inevitable end, and the risqué, bluesy’ ‘Watermelon Sugar’, Harry makes an unsurprising good impression; re-awakening the rusty “Directioner” in me, and reminding me why I’ve always loved his vocal abilities, and him – only this time it’s a 100 times better both lyrically and sonically.

Next comes the much-talked-about ‘Adore You’, a danceable, easy-going track with a polarising, half-fable music video narrated by breakout Spanish singer Rosalía. Following track, ‘Lights Up’- the only other track from the album besides the former to have a music video so far – is a soulful electro-choral offering, that merges the likeness of the 60s and 70s music the superstar seems so fond of, with edgier pop-rock splashes.

The slow ballad sonics of ‘Falling’ may not be particularly memorable – and may not be the one that on anyone’s frequently played songs list – but when Harry hits the higher octaves in this emotionally charged track, it’s goose-bump inducing yet serene and for that reason, it’s a personal favourite.

Effortlessly flitting between emotive and playful between songs, Harry goes from crooning on ‘Falling’ to the jazz/acoustic track  ‘To Be So Lonely’, which plays the fine line – pun completely intended- between openly flirting with a love interest while simultaneously playing hard-to-get.

The most interesting part of Fine Line – aside from the lyrical and thematic creativity- is the 25-year-old singer’s ability to segue from a ‘Sign of The Times’-esque slow jam ‘She’ to a happy, acoustic-based ‘Canyon Moon’ before switching to the catchy, guitar-heavy ‘Sunflower, Vol 6’ which brings to mind an image of sunny gardens and smiling people.

Penultimate track ‘Treat People With Kindness’, which opens a gospel chorus is the pinnacle of Styles’ second album. Light-hearted in tone, and warm-hearted in its efforts to bring everyone together; it’s a much-needed dose of positivity and an encouragement towards togetherness in a world that’s quickly turning upside down with hatred.

Closing with title song ‘Fine Line’, comes a haunting, slow-burning end to the album, as the instrumentals take a backseat letting Harry Styles and soulful, enticing vocals shine- making for a near-perfect end.

Styles’ proved with his previous release, that he’s undoubtedly here to stay beyond being in any beloved boy-band – not that anyone really questioned that – but with Fine Line, he establishes the wide range of audiences he can reach with his music.

Each track on the album- even where some like surface-level happy tracks like ‘Watermelon Sugar’ and ‘Canyon Moon’ pale in comparison to the genuine joy-inducing stylings of ‘Treat People With Kindness’-  is sure to resonate with at least one section of music-lovers – whether that’s the teenagers,  the parents of those teens, or a sub-section of human beings somewhere in-between.

With all the hype surrounding the release of the album, it wouldn’t have been surprising if it turned out as a bit of a let-down. But on the contrary, with Fine Line Harry proves that his detour from the biggest boyband in the world has only steered him onto a path to becoming one the biggest artists in the world, period.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Harry Style’s sophomore album Fine Line is now available to stream and purchase via Columbia Records. Harry Styles will play a special one-off London show on December 19th at a yet to be announced location. For tickets head to the official Harry Styles store to purchase any version of the album before December 17th. 

Author avatar
Malvika Padin

1 comment

  • While I agree in some parts, the lyrics in this albums is terrible. He did a better job on the previous one. BUT, in this album he sounds more of himself and less of his idols.

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