Harry Styles: Harry Styles

In 2012 I had to admit once and for all that not only was Taylor Swift talented, but that I loved her music. I had been holding out for a long time, easily enough avoiding her tilted-towards-country discography up until then. But the omnipresence of We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and Trouble, was a one-two Top 40 punch I couldn’t deny anymore. It was a good lesson to learn: I have no business being pretentious. And it was keeping me from a lot of good music.

It’s fitting that Taylor Swift is the one reason I’m listening to Harry Styles’ eponymous debut solo album, in 2017, given he finally tells his side of things with his long-awaited(?) song about their relationship.

I have no doubt that every Max Martin in the world was lining up to write this album for him, but instead he opted for a more sepia-toned sound — aiming for a 1970s California rock vibe befitting his long hair and tight pants aesthetic. And that’s certainly admirable. And it wasn’t a mistake! He gives us a good, if not great, album. It’s an interesting listen with plenty of rewarding moments. And even if it doesn’t quite convince us that Harry is the laid back lothario he’s impersonating here, it opens up his career to go wherever he wants it to go.

With any luck, this album isn’t so much a sign of the times, but of things to come (sorry).

Soundtrack To: Buying a distressed Led Zeppelin shirt at Urban Outfitters.