Harry Styles - Fine Line Album Review
The former One Direction member has done a lot since beginning his solo career to differentiate from his former boy band roots and his ex-bandmates own music. Fine Line furthers this, being an enjoyable album with a mix of late 70s and early 80s sounding, nostalgic and bubbly tunes, yet still fails to be as bold as Style’s persona lets on, falling back on the 70’s influences that are important to this album but prevent it from soaring.
His self-titled debut was Style’s first step into solo music after one direction, and while some songs on the album felt like confident strides into this new world, others felt like a cautious tiptoe. Fine Line shows how far Styles has come, with all the tracks feeling much more confident, yet still lacking that “oomph” behind many of the tracks that kept me interested in his last album. However, the thematic line throughout the album is its saving grace, focusing on laments around Style’s ex-girlfriend, who the album is clearly written for (shown by the slightly clichéd, ‘ex-lovers recorded voice at the end of a track’).
The 70’s influence on Styles is clear as day in songs such as 'She' and 'Cherry', sounding like Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac songs respectively. Although a little derivative they are enjoyable to listen to with well written lyrical content and vocal performances. In “She”, styles vocals bounce with the shuffled drums and bass groove complimenting each other very well and creating an ethereal tone.
"Falling" is the “Sign of The Times” for this album, a powerful piano ballad that is sure to become a fan favourite. In fact, Falling almost feels like a response to sign of the times, where that song makes you feel like you are soaring in the air. “Falling” makes you feel like you’re, well, falling. The production on this track and the other slower, dreamy songs on the album can feel repetitive at times, but it makes up for it in Harry Styles' vocal performance whch is consistently entertaining.
"Canyon Moon" is an interesting song, and potentially my favourite from the album. It's clear that this a more confident Harry in this song and is not relying on his influences instead creating a wholly fun song to listen to.
Fine Line is a good album, but it makes you wish for Harry Styles to really come into his own. The highlights of the album are where his influences are hidden and you’re left to simply enjoy the song without thinking about where you’ve heard it before, such as “Lights Up” and “Golden” and "Canyon Moon". This album feels like it’s going to grow on me and will require multiple listens through to get past the hang-ups I have with this album.