Harry Styles has released his sophomore studio album titled Fine Line. These past couple of months, each song he’s released I instantly fell in love with and every time I see him on Twitter or YouTube (which is a lot) I just love everything he says and how he presents himself. He’s a very interesting guy, I love the three singles he’s released and the last time I did an album review was for Lover by Taylor Swift and I said that if that post did well, I’ll do more so without further ado let’s walk a fine line. Also I will be ranking the songs after I give my thoughts on them so stick around for that at the end!
I’ve been a casual fan of One Direction, I’ve liked most of the singles, sang along most of the time because they were so damn catchy and I liked their overall sound. When Harry released his self-titled album three years ago, I wasn’t all that interested though. I love Sign of the Times, that blew me away but I never sat down and listened to the album so in order to review Fine Line I did just that. Yesterday I listened to “Harry Styles” and I had a couple problems with it, mainly the lyrics being too reptitive and the bridge being basically a sentence. Other than that the sound was a little too slow for my taste but that’s not a flaw it’s a preference. That being said I went into Fine Line with high expectations and I have to say they were met, even though some of the lyrical problems from his first album bleed into this one as well.
Thoughts on the Songs
When it comes to an album I look at them in two ways, either telling a story or singing about different aspects surrounding a topic like breakup, love etc. I really love it when albums take a linear approach and tell a story with the songs which is exactly what Fine Line does. We start with Golden, a song about a couple being in their prime and at the same time being afraid because their love is in a way vulnerable and they’re afraid it might lead to heartbreak. I love the song a lot, it’s one of my favourites. In terms of melody and instrumentals, it’s really catchy and it sounds amazing. I love it whenever Harry uses pop in his songs. It’s a perfect match in my eyes. Lyrically however it’s a bit repetitive, that being said you don’t really notice if you just listen to the song, I looked up the lyrics to every single song so that I can understand it even more and this is a problem with most of the songs. We move on to Watermelon Sugar, a groovy, feel-good song about pleasure and fruit? Make of it what you will but essentially it’s about a more physical aspect of a relationship and I love how it takes it to such a fun, upbeat melody. I love this song as well but again, lyrically it’s insanely repetitive especially the chorus and the second half of the song.
The next track is Adore You and it’s about how much one is willing to go to show love for another person. He is writing about the fact that he would literally walk on fire for this person meaning the love is deep and there’s a sense of adoration from one side of the relationship but not necessarily mutual. This might be my favourite track from this album but ironically enough on my first listen it didn’t win me over. It’s a grower but I can’t stop listening to it. Lyrically I actually think Adore You improves on the first two tracks. Next up is the first single Lights Up. Unlike the previous track I fell in love immediately with this song. It was fresh, new and unpredictable. Melodically this song is exciting in the sense that I’ve never head anything like it, the piano, guitar, pop and choir blend together to create this amazing sound and with Styles’ amazing vocals, it’s an instant favourite of mine. Lyrically it took me a while to understand what it was actually about. From what I read and understand it’s about self-acceptance and shining that light of yours that makes you unique. In the context of the album it could mean that Harry is writing about how he found himself and that he’s afraid this new and authentic version of himself might not be the version his lover fell in love with. Again, these are just my thoughts, I’m not, I repeat, I am not a therapist.
In Cherry, the next track, the couple breaks up and Harry is admitting to feeling angry about his lover’s success post-breakup and that he deeply misses his partner. According to something I read, this track is supposed to represent the anger in the breakup process and I felt that as the song progressed. Sonically I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite but I can sway from side to side to it. Next is Falling, a standout ballad which represents the intense sadness that comes with a breakup. Harry writes about possibly becoming someone he doesn’t even want around. Harry really knows how to exudes a lot of emotion in this song. Sonically it’s a different sound from the other songs giving the album some diversity. I really like this song and I love how it gives Styles some chance to showcase his amazing vocals. After this we’re on the second half on the album, continuing with To Be So Lonely which is a very interesting song. The is supposed to represent the denial stage of the breakup in the form a drunk phone call from what I’ve read and I think it’s true because melodically the song is very laid-back and the reptitive nature of the lyrics actually helps add to the drunk and in-denial aspect very well. Not my favourite song but I can see myself listening to it again.
We then get to She, one of the most striking songs on the album. Admittedly at first the song was losing my interest, I really wish the chorus could’ve went higher on certain parts. However as the song progressed I found myself liking it more and more. The guitar in this song is insane and adds some much needed energy to the song, I’m in love with the guitar solo at the end. Next is Sunflower, Vol. 6 which I don’t know why but I expected a pop rock so when it started I was disappointed but that was on me. I actually like the song for what it is. With this song he is gradually moving on and looking on the better memories of the relationship. Melodically I’m not gonna lie, it reminded me of Paradise by Coldplay at times but I do love the experimental aspect of the song. I love the high to low on tonight however I hate the ad-libs at the end. Up next is Canyon Moon which is my least-favourite song off the album but it provides some progress for the story. The “I’m going, oh, I’m going home” to me feels like he’s ready to fully move on and in that sense I actually like the song more but without the context of the album I wouldn’t listen to it again.
The next track is Treat People With Kindness which shook me with the choir. While I love the use of choir in songs, this one uses it too much in my opinion he should’ve sung the chorus and with them as backup singers instead of them singing it alone. Lyrically it’s pretty straight-forward and self-explanatory. In the context of the album to me this song resembles a fully-moved on Harry living life the best he can and it feels like he is expressing his love of life and suggests that kindness is the way to get there. I love the message but it’s not my type of song. We then move on to the title track and also the final track of the album, Fine Line. To me this song means that Harry is able to take the good and bad of this relationship and keep peace with his ex-lover. He admits the wrongs and his true feelings but is able to strike a balance and in doing so he won’t look at this relationship in a bad way, he won’t even look at his past partner in a bad way, in fact he says “We’ll be alright” multiple times bringing this wonderful album to a powerful close. Fine Line is an intimate, ethereal and powerful finale that makes us reflect on the entire album and makes us feel like we took this emotional journey with Harry. Hearing it for the first time it felt not only like an emotional journey but even a physical one, I literally felt lighter like a weight had been lifted off my chest. It’s truly an amazing ending to the album.
Overall I really like Fine Line by Harry Styles. I love how he experimented with his sound while still making sure that it’s still him and his style with the horns in Watermelon Sugar and Fine Line or the ad-libs in Lights Up and Cherry. He poured himself into this album emotionally and creatively. This sound is Harry, you can tell he found his sound and is proud of it. Lyrically however, most of the songs suffer from intense reptitive lyrical content. The songs start out great lyrically but as they progress it’s the same line repeated over and over again, for example Fine Line, Watermelon Sugar, Canyon Moon. That being said, most times when listening to the songs it doesn’t bother me, it’s just that it was a bit disappointing since the first half of the songs are written so well.
Ranking of Songs
1. Adore You
2. Fine Line
4. Lights Up
6. Watermelon Sugar
9. Sunflower, Vol. 6
10. To Be So Lonely
11. Treat People With Kindness
12. Canyon Moon
I do think this is a much better album than his previous one. Fine Line is more cohesive in the sense it’s uses it’s songs to tell a story. Sonically it’s definitely better, I love the fact that he delved into more experimental sounds. Just like I said in my last album review, music is like art, it’s subjective, everyone has different opinions. I personally really like the album, it’s different from what I usually listen to so I had to adjust but I loved most of the songs on this album. Also nothing that I wrote about Harry’s life is fact or truth, this was just what I thought based on the songs he’s written. I’m not saying this is what Harry wanted to say, this is just my interpretation of the album. I hoped you liked this review, if you want to support Harry Styles or this album you can buy it in literally any music store but it if you don’t have the money, streaming is an option! The entire album is available to stream on YouTube and Spotify!
What’s your favourite song from Fine Line?
Do you agree with my ranking? List your favourites below!