Harry Styles has given birth to a masterpiece titled ‘Sign Of The Times’. Coinsodentally time has finally arrived and after months in the making, today the music industry and the universe has witnesses the day solo Styles dominated the world. At 8am this morning during a world first exclusive interview alongside good long term friend Nick Grimshaw and his first individual interview since One Directions announced hiatus, Harry’s solo debut was dropped on BBC Radio 1. So to mark this monuments occasion on Harry Friday this post will be a two parter explaining my non-bias review of the track (let’s be honest thats not going to happen) and then in the latter half I will be rounding up all the music related topics that caught my attention during the pre-recorded interview between Grimmy and Styles.If I had to describe ‘Sign Of The Times’ in one descriptive word it would be revolutionary. To begin with the track opens with a swinging pendulum like piano inspired through Harry’s private piano playing which supplied the emotional ballad aspect to the track which this instrument complements fully. A striking difference in terms of instrumentals later during the chorus of the song, a raw electric guitar was introduced and paired with the piano are two hugely contrasting elements which along with the vocals were the factors that enhanced Styles’ influences behind the creation of the track. Instantly names such as David Bowie and The Rolling Stones spring to mind as major players that sparked the desicion behind the choice of the piano and the guitar production which was expected from Harry to carry through to his solo career considering he was always the more ‘edgier’ sounding member in One Direction.
“We just wanted to make what we wanted to listen to” – Harry Styles
The lengthy song expressed deep, dark meaningful thoughts portrayed through the somewhat repetitive lyrics that played upon a wide variety of emotions such as sadness proved perfectly through the opening lyric line ‘Just stop your crying it’s a sign of the times’ was one of the many words that suggested that this song has a highly personal touch from Styles himself. With many lyrics hinting at a theme of the after life and being on death’s door, one lyric in particular stood out as a reassuring statement contradicting this theme with it being ‘Have the time of your life’ throwing a bit of a live while your young spin on the number.The most grippingly memorable moment was as the song progressed into the pre-chorus. Even though the main chorus has the reputation for being the most catchiest part of any song, I can’t say that was the section that was the most compelling in this case. A surprise rise in the pitch of Harry’s vocals commenced as he sung the lyrics ‘If we never learn, we been here before’ the falsetto and high pitched voice kicked in smoothly providing the single with texture, life and expression for his vocal abilities which was the thing that made ‘Sign Of The Times’ a distinctively good track showcasing his husky, raspy vocal efforts which of course Harry has free reign over as a now solo singer.
“I feel like this is the most anticipated song of the year” – Nick Grimshaw
A pop-rock ballad piece that gives a timeless, momentous and anthem feel, or a slap in the face as Nick Grimshaw described it as, ‘Sign Of The Times’ lives up to its hype and expectations and is a song that I will be reaching out for constantly in time to come.After the songs birth the two hour long interview intertwined with a playlist of songs handpicked by resident co-host Harry Styles for the day which included tunes such as ‘Chocolate’ by the 1975, ‘In Love With A Psycho’ by Kasabian and in honour of Harry’s life changing X Factor audition ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder broke up the interview which only kept us hanging on for more. Whilst listening to the interview many things such as kale, sprouts, scented candles and white Instagram squares all being on the agenda, but there were many golden moments where the pair talked about music which were actually very informative and important in the music industry today.
“It’s my favourite album to listen to at the moment” – Harry Styles
A big musical topic Grimmy and Styles discussed was how Harry is going to deal with the whole promo and releasing of material as an individual oppose to having 3 other guys around as a support system. A brief yet straight to the point answer, Harry replied “I won’t be by myself, I have a band”. Whilst treading along the lines of PR and promoting Harry delved into his stressful times and how much he didn’t realise actually went into creating a brand for an artist. The realisation of picking fonts seemed to be playing on his mind an awful lot. It’s a struggle trust me.Lastly writing, producing, mixing, mastering and performing all raised when Harry’s mum Anne got in touch asking her son about his favourite process of being an artist out of the ones listed above and about his precise taste in music. Essentially having two questions complied into one it was revealed that Harry’s favourite part of being an artist is the writing stages and that when writing lyrics it is important to incorporate your childhood music inspirations like Pink Floyd, Queen and Fleetwood Mac in order for him as the artist to genuinely enjoy what he produces. Considering at the end of the day whatever material Harry comes out with it is his record and if you dislike it because you didn’t take influence from you personal favourite artists how can you truly be proud of it and promote a project that you have no creative control over. With record labels in this modern age wanting to have a say in more than one income stream, I was so happy that Styles had no fear in bringing record companies into the equation during his reply to this question with him stating “People who work at record labels concentrate on every aspect of music, but in order to be happy with your work it’s important to listen and connect with your influences and the fans”. And as it stands at this moment in time ‘Sign Of The Times’ is currently number 1 in the iTunes Charts in over 80 countries on its fist release day and guess who made that possible. The fans.
“We’re all just fans of music. We Made it as a fan” – Harry Styles
Comment below your mini reviews of Styles’ solo single in the comments box below and if you managed to listen in on the interview this morning tell me your highlights and key moments too. After all there is only one person dominating everything right now.