More than two years since his last album release, Harry Styles released “Fine Line” on Dec. 13, an album that provides a closer look into Styles’ life experiences and tells honest stories from his past relationships.
Upbeat and fresh, “Golden,” the first track on the album, projects an optimistic, excited attitude. Leading with soft cymbals and keys, “Golden” intertwines Styles’ warm vocals with naturally paced drums, using layered background vocals to create an overall round production.
Released as a single on Nov. 16, “Watermelon Sugar,” the second song on the album, debuted in Styles’ “Saturday Night Live” performance. The song reminds me of an ideal summer day spent with friends by the pool.
“Adore You,” the third song on the album, debuted Dec. 6 as Styles’ third and last single off “Fine Line,” released with an official music video directed by Dave Meyers. Upbeat in production, the song talks about being infatuated, with lyrics like, “Walk through fire for you, just let me adore you.”
The fourth track on the album, “Lights Up,” released Oct. 10 as the first single off “Fine Line,” initially grabbed my attention with its music video, revealing Styles in a new, artistic and vulnerable way. Using repetitive yet catchy lyrics, “Shine, step into the light / Shine, so bright sometimes,” the bridge highlights Styles’ smooth vocals, establishing it as my favorite part in the track.
“Cherry,” written about Styles’ ex-girlfriend Camille Rowe, served as my most anticipated track on the album, and thankfully did not disappoint. Initially reminding me of “Sweet Creature,” a track off his debut and self-titled album, “Harry Styles,” the song truly provoked me and led to much needed introspection. Lyrics of struggling in letting someone move on after a breakup, “Don’t you call him ‘baby’ / We’re not talking lately / Don’t you call him what you used to call me,” felt all too real and relatable.
The sixth song on the album, “Falling,” hones in on Styles’ vocals and lyrics while leaving the production more minimal using a light piano progression in the background. “What am I now? What am I now? / What if I’m someone I don’t want around?,” Styles reflects on his character.
“To Be So Lonely,” “She” and “Canyon Moon,” the seventh, eighth and tenth song on the album, all feel the most singer-songwriter-esque on “Fine Line.” “To Be So Lonely” and “Canyon Moon,” both remind me of “The Lumineers,” using acoustic guitar strum patterns and clear storytelling to convey Styles’ reflection on his past relationships and memories.
By the time I listened to “Sunflower, Vol. 6,” I was ready for an upbeat track, and that is exactly what this song delivered. Like a gap in the clouds on a rainy day, this song feels just plain-out happy. Filled with synthy beats and experimental rhythm, Styles’ knows exactly how to create a perfect pop song.
The second-to-last song on the album, “Treat People with Kindness,” sounds much like a musical would, using layered female harmonies in the background and solo vocal moments from Styles. I thought this upbeat track was a great follow-up to “Sunflower, Vol.6.”
A standout for myself and the album, the title track, “Fine Line,” was a masterpiece in my eyes. Nostalgic, cinematic and stripped down, this song made me emotional the second Styles’ honest vocals faded in. “You’ve got my devotion / But man, I can hate you sometimes / I don’t want to fight you,” shows the toll loving someone can take on an individual. Styles’ describes the extremity of emotions we go through in relationships, and how he wanted the find the middle ground of it all, “We’ll be a fine line.”
Overall, this album is one of my favorites from the year, representing the balance I continue to work toward with my emotions and relationships with people around me.