It’s been seven years since Harry Styles began his musical career as one-fifth of One Direction. On May 12, 2017, his self-titled album proved to fans everywhere that his solo career is going to be one to watch (or listen to). Coming from someone who fell off the One Direction bandwagon before their second album even hit the radio waves, I was beyond pleasantly surprised with Harry’s self-titled album.
Being in a boy band can feel restricting to an artist — especially when their main demographic is teenage girls. Not only does the band have to keep a certain sound throughout their career, but they may also have to work with those who have creative differences. However, with Harry’s album release, it’s apparent that his true sound is something One Direction never allowed him to experiment with. Harry is well on his way to becoming a global rock star.
The most important first step to his global domination was that he did not piss off the Directioners by leaving the band early. *cough cough*. Having an entire group of millennials excited for your success is a huge stepping stone to building a solo career. Back that up with killer talent that was unable to shine while tucked behind four other boys and you have a recipe for success.
Have you seen his carpool karaoke with James Corden? If the answer is no then I highly recommend taking 13 minutes out of your day to witness the perfection that is two British dudes quoting “Notting Hill.” The last time he was in James Cordon’s SUV for Late, Late Night, he was squished in the middle back seat. This time in the passenger seat, Harry let loose his killer vocals while simultaneously making me fall back in love with his personality.
Personality is often overlooked when you think of the making of a rockstar. Having talent is the first step in the right direction, but personality influences who wants you on their television programs, who will interview you, which events you’re invited to, and overall fan appeal. Without an entourage of four, Harry has been able to show the public that his wit and humor stand out just as much as his suits.
His band mates have all seemed to follow the mainstream pop genre, which is totally fine, but it’s a breath of fresh air to hear a musically mature Styles. His musical ability and creativity have shone through in this album in ways his former band mates haven’t been able to replicate. The numbers don’t lie, either. If Harry continues to rack in the revenue he has accumulated over the past several weeks, he is on his way to having the largest debut sales in the UK for a male artist since 1991.
With week-long stints at late shows, on the brink of breaking records, a coveted spot on the cover of Rolling Stone, and glorious locks of chestnut hair, Harry Styles is not only outshining his former band mates, but also killing the solo game. Did he have a secret meeting with Justin Timberlake for tips on how to transition from boy band stardom to international rock star? I think yes.
Reviews have dubbed him as everything from the new Mick Jagger to a remake of Bob Dylan to today’s Prince. I’m not sure that being dubbed a “remake” legend is what Harry was shooting for, though. If he truly looks up to those artists, which I believe he does, I think he acknowledges that their ability to be uniquely their own is what made them legends. Album standouts Only Angel and Kiwi are the tip of the iceberg for this teen pop prince to transition into a full-fledged rock star — minus the drug usage, I hope. Harry is well on his way to figuring out his sound and blowing our minds. I’m already keen to hear what he has in store for us next.