Harry Styles has finally found his own sound on his psychedelic sophomore album, Fine Line.
The former One Direction member shed his image with his sweeping self-titled solo debut, but fell into a trap of imitating his favourite rock legends instead of creating something personal. This time around, Styles easily dances past the sophomore slump in sparkling fashion, and isn’t afraid to banish everyone’s expectations.
The record, which was recorded under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms, begins as a party with the glittering funky standout, “Watermelon Sugar,” and the dark disco-inflected “Adore You.” It quickly fades from its euphoric kickoff, and halfway through descends into a comedown where the joy evaporates and is replaced with sentimental piano-driven and folksy ballads.
Styles toys with the ukulele, flirts with some synths, and plays around with jazzy horns. The result is an array of songs that delve into heartache and explore the many layers that result from finding love and losing it.
Fine Line is experimental but playful, not straying far from the territory of his idols, David Bowie and Stevie Nicks, whose influences peek through.
Now, Styles is fully in control, letting loose and having fun. His heart is open, and beautiful melodies and soulful lyricism are pouring out.