“Fine Line” hits big

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Most former boy band members end up completely phased out of the music industry. I mean, Justin Timberlake? He hasn’t put out a good song in years. The Jonas Brothers? They rely on the nostalgia of their 30-year-old fans. Harry Styles, though? Well, he is the exception.

Harry Styles is a former member of the notable boy band One Direction. He has recently released his second solo album “Fine Line”, which has already proved a tremendous success in the three months since its official release.

Styles was raised in the small town of Redditch, England. After Styles’s mom suggested that he audition for the British reality singing competition TV show “The X Factor” in 2010, he was unsuccessful in advancing to the Boys category of the competition. Out of all the performers who failed and were thrown into the Bootcamp category, there were also four other teens close to Styles in age. These boys were Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson.

Simon Cowell, a judge on “The X-Factor” who was put in charge of the Groups category, formed a group of the five called One Direction, who finished third in the overall competition that season. One Direction went on to be the first group from the UK to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard charts with their debut album “Up All Night”. They toured the world together, won numerous awards and sold over 7 million albums. 

After Zayn Malik decided to leave the group in 2015, the rest of the band decided it would be best to take a hiatus. Each member has since started their own solo career to varying degrees of success.

Harry Styles’s self-titled album was his first solo album since leaving the band, and although it surprisingly didn’t have a breakthrough in the music industry, there were a couple of notable hits like “Sign of the Times” and “Kiwi”.

On December 13, 2019, Styles released his sophomore album “Fine Line”, which has since received worldwide praise. The twelve tracks take listeners through a rollercoaster of emotions, starting off joyous, reaching heart-shattering lows and ending off on a resolving note. Jumping through a multitude of genres, many of the songs could fit on just about anyone’s playlist. 

Although “Fine Line” was released while most were approaching the dead of winter, Styles decided to boldly open the album with two of his most uptempo songs: “Golden” and “Watermelon Sugar”. 

“Watermelon sugar high / watermelon sugar high,” Styles repeatedly sings with melodic trumpets blaring in the background.

Lines like this make people wanna break out of their homes and go to the nearest beach as soon as possible. The only problem? The northern hemisphere is currently experiencing winter right now.

The first impression “Fine Line” gave off was that it was going to be an album with jams strictly meant for warmer months, but Styles proved he had more up his sleeve.

The only thing that separates the strictly melancholic tunes from the cheerful ones is the transition song. “Lights Up” slows down the album quite a bit, preventing a sudden halt in the previous rhythms.

The title of his sixth song on the album, “Falling”, is an accurate description of how fans feel while listening. 

“What am I now / what if you’re someone I just want around,” he belts. The emotion Styles exudes is a feeling most everyone has felt at some point in their lives: heartbreak.

During this middle portion of the album, Styles is the most vulnerable and relatable than he will ever be, expressing his feelings towards both his exes and himself. We are reminded that this superstar is human too and has emotions like the rest of us.

After the lite rock of “She”, Styles goes back to his summer songs, with “Sunflower, Vol. 6”. The end of the album is extremely experimental, featuring all sorts of avant-garde genres.

In the YouTube comment section of the “Canyon Moon” audio post, fans describe how the song feels “straight out of an indie film,” and “like something The Beatles would sing.” Those types of songs are the type to give Styles’s older demographic a bit of nostalgia and to appeal to people from various walks of life.

The final song in the album is the title track. The nearly seven-minute “Fine Line” gives the resolution listeners long for. After such a complicated and emotional album, it is nice to wind down with a song that sticks to the basics. Although “Fine Line” begins just with the simplicity of Styles’s voice, guitar and piano, it opens up into something greater. It gradually builds into an elaborate song with horns, drum fills and never-ending harmonies.

Styles’ ostentatious closing track may be the last we hear from the singer in a long time, but it isn’t his final hurrah just yet. The success of the 26-year-old on just his second album is arguably just the beginning. Be on the lookout for the 2021 Grammy award winner for “Best Album of the Year”.