When Harry Styles, and the rest of One Direction, decided to take a hiatus and work on solo projects, longtime fans of the band were initially distraught. Non-fans thought the boys had overstayed their welcome and took the news without a side of heartbreak. Whatever your opinion of One Direction is, as a band, they made big moves in the music and entertainment industry. That can’t be denied.
Today, Harry Styles released his solo single ‘Sign of the Times’ and it’s more than just a song, it’s an emotional experience.
The world was anxiously anticipating what his first song outside of One Direction would sound like. He didn’t pick a pop hit, didn’t go for a dance anthem, he wrote a song (the one he’s most proud of on his album) and let it speak for itself. It’s a ballad, but it’s not one that goes a beat too long or ends before it’s full potential is reached. It’s a song that transcends and it’ll undoubtedly go down in music history and not just as ‘Harry Styles’ first solo single’.
Harry, like the rest of us, has suffered losses in his life, and without overstepping and determining the inspiration for this song ourselves – the song does seem to reflect a big loss. It seems to be thoughts that were brought on by a friend or loved one leaving this life, maybe it’s the ‘what should have been’ or the ‘if only’ feeling that was left behind.
‘You look pretty good down here, but you ain’t really good’
If you close your eyes you can almost picture a funeral, the slow sad beat, the lyrics – the lost loved one is far away, those left behind are left with the pain and the hurt. They can’t escape it. It’s walking up to say goodbye, it’s sitting in a line of others mourning. The song can definitely be interpreted to mean something different to everyone.
Maybe, for you, it’s the loss of a dream or a thought, the loss of a way of life. Maybe you’ve known someone you wish you’d just opened up to before it was too late. Maybe the times are wearing on you too. ‘We’ve been here before, it’s just what we know’ Harry belts out a little bit after the four-minute mark. It’s something we can all relate to, it’s something we’ve all experienced. It’s a song that pulls an emotion out in you that you weren’t facing – for whatever reason – and coaxes it out with a deep and soulful voice.
Harry’s impact on the entertainment industry is just beginning, and as he said in an interview with Nick Grimshaw on the morning of his song premiere – One Direction is still just on a hiatus. For now, the lads are enjoying their solo projects. For fans, this means that the foreseeable future will leave us graced with more ‘solo Harry’ in music and also in film, as he prepares for his debut in Dunkirk this July.
Until July, however, we’ll be keeping ‘Sign of the Times’ on repeat; it’s such a tune.
‘Remember everything will be alright, we can meet again somewhere, somewhere far away from here.’
‘…but I knew him’