mon 24/06/2024

CD: Harry Styles - Fine Line | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Harry Styles - Fine Line

CD: Harry Styles - Fine Line

Varied sophomore album mixes genuine treats with questionable lyrics

A Christmas release perhaps doesn't suit the album's bright complexion

Not all One Direction solo albums are created equally, and after Liam Payne's public ostracization for LP1, all eyes are on Harry Styles. His self-titled debut earned some baffling comparisons to David Bowie, so what to expect next?

Fine Line is akin to a seasonal selection box, picking the sweetest styles from across the genres. A bit of precision art pop here, a touch of dramatic blues rock there, a sprinkling of calypso on top. It certainly isn't comfortable staying still. Single "Adore You" owes a heavy debt to The 1975 by way of Simply Red, but still works thanks to an irresistible chorus. The six-minute wig out on "She" is genuinely exhilarating, and Vampire Weekend now have competition for the most fun song this year called "Sunflower". (Side note, both versions are followed by songs with "Moon" in the title - isn't life strange?)

Vocally, Styles wasn't 1D's strongest, but he's now settled into a characterful baritone that shines on opener "Golden" and the blissful "Treat People with Kindness". However, no amount of songwriters can create sincerity, and there's no escaping the vapidness of the lyrics. "Watermelon Sugar" aims for sweet rhetoric, but its nonsensical imagery misses the mark. This problem permeates the album, exposing the corporate strings that tie the album together.

Fine Line is a great pop record to chuck on during a summer barbeque. But in these cold winter months, a more attentive ear might find it frothier than its influences.


No amount of songwriters can create sincerity


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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