Exceedingly high expectations have been set for Harry’s debut. He’s perceived to be the most promising of the members of 1D, one of the biggest boy bands in music history and definitely the most influential of the last decade. If Zayn managed to commercially breakthrough with Pillowtalk, Harry should have no problem exceeding.
Prior to giving Sign of the Times a listen, take out any assumption of how it might sound like, because the mould you imagine him to fit will likely be shattered. You have to give the man props for taking a risk and attempting to break out. It is the most anxiety his music has ever conveyed. And the audacity to transition makes this piece beautiful.
Gone are the days the story of his life that he speaks of is you lighting up his world like nobody else. Now, he speaks of struggles experienced by a generation constantly rejecting facing issues and problems head on and with openness. You can construe his attempt at depth as over the top but anything that sounded epic always is. He’s playing with elements of arena rock that might not sit well with those who cling onto the past. But there is no denying its potential to own stadiums with its anthemic sound and power ballad style.
The single references Prince and drew comparisons to Bowie. Unsurprisingly, that has raised eyebrows and managed to elicit quite a number of negative reactions. Only time will tell if he will end up in that trajectory. But what’s clear today is that his music is growing and his artistry is developing.