Written by Beth Huthart
When One Direction announced they were going on a ‘hiatus’, I have to admit, as an unashamed One Direction fan, my main thought was ‘FINALLY!’, I get to hear solo Harry Styles music. Now over a year later, I have eventually been blessed with his first solo single, ‘Sign Of The Times’.
Listen to ‘Sign Of The Times Here’
Last Friday morning (07/04/17) Harry joined his, in his own words, ‘best friend’ Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1 for the official first play of his new solo single. I, along with his thousands of other fans and new comers, were not disappointed with what he had to offer. The track is a rock ballad that shows off Harry’s strong rock influences. Although it’s not by any means heavy rock, it is a definite departure from the music he made during his time in One Direction.
‘Sign Of The Times’ is an almost 6 minute long epic that somehow doesn’t feel like it’s that long; the 5 minute 41 second run time is definitely a risk for a first single as it’s unlikely to get played in full on radio but it works. Harry’s vocals on the track show off a range that he didn’t get to showcase that often with One Direction, singing a good portion of the song in falsetto – which is beautiful fyi. His vocal style is definitely suited to something heavier than pop, his gravely tone just screams to be used on an indie or rock track.
The first hint we had at Solo Styles (I’m sorry) music was a TV ad that aired during a live episode of ‘The Voice’ on ITV.
The ad showed a soaking wet Harry emerging from smoke and walking towards the light…okay maybe not the light but a light nonetheless. The ad was full of rebirth symbolism, possibly showing his departure from boyband land or maybe just everyone over analysing regardless it was a good way to create hype in true Harry Styles dramatic fashion. The ad was accompanied by an instagram post of 3 blank squares by Harry, something he did when he graced the cover of AnotherMan magazine. The dramatics…we love it. The TV ad ended with the words ‘April 7th’ and never once said his name meaning if you weren’t able to recognise the tattoos or the eyes then you would have been clueless but everyone who has been a fan for any length of time /knew/…we all knew.
The single was debuted alongside a 2 hour long interview with long time pal, Nick Grimshaw, which was a great way to introduce Harry to people who may not have paid attention to him during his time with One Direction. It was a relaxed, chatty, very honest interview and due to the existing friendship between him and Grimshaw it made it feel like it was just two friends having a catch up rather than The First Solo Interview.
The track broke Adele’s charting record by reaching #1 on ITunes in the US in just 19 minutes, and was #1 on ITunes in over 80 countries following its release. Harry was also the first person who has been able to knock pal Ed Sheeran off the top spot for a number of weeks. The track also reached the top spot on the UK Big Top 40 on Sunday, despite a Spotify glitch meaning the track lost thousands of streams ‘Sign Of The Times’ still managed to reach high spots on streaming charts.
Harry will have his live solo debut on American institution ‘Saturday Night Live’ on the 15th of April; not only will Harry be performing 2 tracks but the show will be being broadcast live across the whole of America for the first time in it’s history…no pressure then.
‘Sign Of The Times’ is Harry’s first solo offering from an upcoming album that he says is coming ‘very soon’ and quite frankly we can’t wait to see what is to come next!