Why “Harry Styles” Is Better Than “Fine Line”

Hannah Hughes ‘21 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Harry Styles became a household name after his days in One Direction. He’s now released two solo albums, Harry Styles in 2017, and more recently, Fine Line in 2019. Although the latter is what really skyrocketed his popularity, Styles’ self-titled album is a far better example of his musical talent and versatility as a musician. 

Fine Line still demonstrates a lot of Styles’ talent as an artist— the album itself contains great vocals and strong lyricism. However, it’s all over the place. The tracklist often feels confusing, and the songs seldom seem to fit together, and it often feels as if it’s two or more albums cobbled together into one.  

At one minute, you’re listening to “Watermelon Sugar” and “Adore You”, which are “sound of the summer” pop hits.  They are much different than “Canyon Moon” and “To Be Lonely”, which both have a little bit more of a folk sound, with their more acoustic backtracks. We then move to the more emotional songs on the album, which include “Falling” and “Fine Line”, which seem to be in their own world, entirely separate from the other songs on the album. 

Although albums can have more than one message, they should have a sort of overtone that ties the songs together. So many of the songs on Fine Line are great all on their own, but put together, I feel as if Styles’ intended message, whatever it may be, gets lost.

Styles’ music on his first album has more of  an edge to it, something that Fine Line simply lacks. It features a smooth blend of slow ballads (“From The Dining Table”, “Sign Of The Times”) and more rock-ccentric, upbeat songs (“Kiwi”, “Only Angel”). The tracks flow together, all sharing a common denominator that brings them together as one cohesive piece, making the album enjoyable to listen to as a whole. 

Albums should flow much like Harry Styles; it never gets “too sad” or strays too far from the music’s emotional undertones that weave themselves seamlessly throughout the entire album, even in the lighter songs. The entire album has a solid motif that leans a little more into the genre of soft rock, and leans away from the pop-rock that’s so prevalent in Styles’ other work back in his days in One Direction and on Fine Line

And that’s what sets it apart from the rest of Styles’ music career—  It showcases so much of his talent beyond the world of pop hits. Harry Styles isn’t necessarily mainstream music, but it was different, and it takes a talented artist to transcend genres and break out of that “box” that an audience puts artists in.

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