Allow Harry Styles to watch the world burn.
Or at least, revel in the minutiae of that possibility—an inescapable freeze-frame of ricocheted bullets, a gentle chin tilt towards the smog-filled sky (“things are pretty good from here,” he assures). Like his glam rock icons, Styles establishes those earthly bounds to surmount them, taking off into a cathartic resolution of hopeful escape with a gospel-choir-assisted boost at the close of his nearly six minute escapade.
It is a lofty, well-worn path by vocalists and storytellers to whom Styles can’t quite compare. Styles doesn’t have Mercury’s stratospheric range, Bowie’s calculated detachment, or the Beatles’ mastery of the lyric. But what Styles is doing with his ex-One Direction fame is unprecedented; where “Sign of the Times” lacks in its execution, it makes up for in its timeliness and sheer commercial might. Bolstered by Styles’ huge fan base and a political climate of tremendous uncertainty, the track has already topped the iTunes charts, overshadowing the second tune (Bruno Mars) by a rate of ten to one. So regardless of how we feel about Style’s debut single, it is about to be everywhere, and it may expose a younger generation to a genre of music that has (as Harry proves) not yet returned to or exceeded its peak potential.
Check out Harry Styles’ new single, “Sign of the Times,” below.