Harry Styles - Harry Styles
Harry Styles either has everything going for him, or a world hoping for him to fail. Anytime a boy leaves a boy band as a man(ish) they often have to do something to make themselves standout from their former bandmates. Zayn went out and bought the best R&B album money could buy and is now the "edgy" and "sexual" one. Well Harry is taking an entirely different approach and billing himself as the rockstar for 2017. There are tons of guitars, with Styles taking an almost reformed country singer approach. The issue is with this self titled debut is every inch of it is fully contrived. You are SUPPOSED to think Styles is the rocker with a dark side, moody and clad in leather. It's just so laughable that a record company expects us to believe this, We have known the kid for years now and have more or less watched his life play out on TMZ. So where exactly did He get these introspective ideas? When did he have the time to pen "Sign of the Times" while doing Ellen every other day? There is an almost shameless amount of pandering to generation upon generation trying to re-create something similar to what they used to love in "their day". While the leadup to Zayn's album was almost completely focused on proving just how dark the singer was, Harry Styles seemed hellbent on proving He has musical chops. On "Carolina" he does seem to keep the British tradition alive of stealing American Blues music though, so there is that at least.
One of the major issues with the songs on Harry Styles is just how rounded out the edges are. He is borrowing sounds that at one time may have been edgy, but the lyrics are just vanilla as fuck. This album was made solely for mass appeal and in doing so made it appealing to no one. "Sweet Creature" could have been ripped from a One Direction album, one about 70s soft rock that is, and is about the only song with any kid of substance to it. There are many attempts to be bold, like using not one but two choir interludes on "Only Angel" or suggesting heavy drug use about a minute in to the record, but they fall so incredibly flat. It seems like Styles should have the swagger to pull these big swings off, but his (pardon the pun) style only goes so far when trying to push this generic bullshit. "Kiwi" really is the culmination of all this terribleness, and sounds just like a muddled mess. Save for the diehard fans who will like anything Styles puts out you just cannot imagine an audience for this record. You simply can't treat your fans like a bunch of preteens once they aren't anymore and expect them to keep coming back. This record just sucks.
2.0 out of 10