Harry Styles is still reeling from the rave reviews of his self-titled debut album. On this record, Styles is reborn and rebranded as not only a relevant artist, but a truly talented one, one that deserves a chance from both One Direction fans and non-fans alike.
This is a confused and ultimately self-indulgent debut, Styles shedding the pure teenage rush of his old band's music for a set of songs that teeter between extended and rather boring exercises in angst (Sign Of The Times) and fame-induced loneliness (the self-pitying From The Dining Table) and lame sub-Def Leppard heavy rock (the truly atrocious Kiwi and Almost An Angel).
Much of the credit belongs to Grammy-winning super producer Jeff Bhasker, whose drum-filled sound has aided everyone from Kanye West and Jay Z to Bruno Mars and fun.
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Styles' voice varies on each song - in a good way - as he emotes the lyrics like a seasoned star, especially on the simple piano tune "From the Dining Table" and album opener "Meet Me In the Hallway". "(That's) way more interesting than them telling me they had champagne for dinner".
But the creative process?
While Styles channels a variety of other artists in his vocals on the album, from Jagger to Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner on "Kiwi", it's clear that Styles' sound is all his own, riding the fine line between sweet and seductive, and he owns it throughout all ten tracks. And while imitation can be seen as flattery, that's not always the case.
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