mvm.

music in review.


harry styles’ style.//

Hey folks, let’s talk. Harry Styles is arguably the biggest music artist in the world – at least the most relevant. Everyone is gunning for the artist’s signature at some of the biggest festivals all over. No music listener this side of the continent hasn’t heard his music in some other way.

Whether it be the Music for a Sushi Restaurant spatial audio promo for Apple, the studios feat of appearing in Holywood’s Don’t Worry Darling and Dunkirk or his covert operations as a fashion icon – appearing as the first solo male to appear on the cover of VOGUE – pop’s most recent Golden boy is everywhere.

But what has made Harry Styles one of the biggest music artists in this current age? Aside from the fact that he featured in one of the biggest boy band heartthrobs to grace our tellies – oh, and the fact that he used to date Taylor Swift – Styles’ own solo career is stupendously massive. Compared to his former band comrades … well … there really isn’t a comparison to be made really. Don’t get me wrong – – Zayn and co have all harnessed and developed their own solo careers, declaring an air of maturity to their work as they’re now making music they actually like, but Harry has seemingly leap-frogged all successive artists before him.

Could it be the fact that he’s the best dressed musician in the world right now? Or could it be the inexorable pull that popular music develops, drawing in the masses of millions? Personally, I think it’s more than a simple explanation saying because “popular music is popular, that’s why.”

A lot of what is drawn to his success must be down to the vast array of influences, styles and creations in his songwriting. His dress sense of prolific rock legacies and splurge of collaborations certainly come second to one of the most prevalent natures in music: staying relevant.

Embracing different ways of doing things while staying on top of culture is imperative in today’s world. For Harry, it’s gender fluidity, connectivity and individual empowerment. He has become a major mascot to LGBTQ+ rights and has become an outspoken individual for many who can’t speak up themselves.

He is currently on his LOVE ON tour during Pride month. And so, he’s managed to stay true to form with his music too. From every album comes a new evolved story for Harry…

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It started with his self-titled debut in 2017 along with morbid reality-checker Sign of the Times.A hard-edged off the cuff alternative album that was a surprise a lot to many – especially that unadulterated sexually overt version with “goes home to a cactus” Kiwi single. This was his spunky independence phase.

Then it dove head first with Fine Line. A global phenomenon in 2019, it allowed Styles’ to develop a more lucrative pop “mainstream” direction, reaping the rewards with singles earning platinum twice-over with Golden, Watermelon Sugar and Adore You. The album results in marking its territory in history as Rolling Stones’ 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. This was his “embracing mainstream independence” phase.

Now, Harry’s House – his third – shows yet another evolution to his depth as a songwriter. It not only draws on his pop music background but travels back in time to his love of 70s style folk storytelling and other-worldly influences of Bowie alike with huge characteristics from dance and electronica. As It Was took off as if he hadn’t took a break of 3 years from Fine Line, picking up 43.8 million plays in its first week of releasing. This was his “independent” independent phase, honing his craft and creativity to what he already knows – to a sound he adores.

Now, there’s nothing coherently special about As It Was, considering it’s just a pop song. But with his explosive public profile and stigma too bold and brash to ignore, his music enters new ground and new territory to it being more than just a “pop song.” It becomes a movement within itself. With it, comes an album of indiscernible quality, flair and multiple styles bordering on funky lo-fi and honey-pot sultry pop. The stand-out favourites of Late Night Talking and Matilda are dispersed with Cinema and Daydreaming – songs that really don’t often concern themselves with mainstream pop.

But yet, it’s staying relevant of the new and now. 1970s music is appearing again and Styles is leading the pack with his ultimate feel-good pop music. Better get listenin’ kids, Styles ain’t going anywhere.

8 responses to “Let’s Talk: From boyband breakup to global breakout – What has made Harry Styles so successful?”

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