Album: Fine Line
Artist: Harry Styles
Label: Erskine Records Limited
Non-Airable Tracks: None
Harry Style’s new album, “Fine Line”, is a delightful mix of pop, ’70’s rock, and folk. As someone who approached this album with trepidation, I was wonderfully surprised by how much I enjoyed this album. I never gave Styles much of a chance, even back when he was in One Direction. When I read the title “Watermelon Sugar”, due to it being in my recommended songs, I originally scrunched my nose. Luckily, the imagery Styles employs in his lyrics gives this pop song made me smile. The chorus is repetitive, simply a repetition of “watermelon sugar high”, but the horns, bass line, and guitars make up for the chorus’s blandness. After enjoying “Watermelon Sugar”, I had to give the rest of the album a chance.
“Fine Line” is clearly about the story of Harry Style’s relationship with Camille Rowe, a French-American model. The first three songs, “Golden”, “Watermelon Sugar”, and “Adore You”, are classic love songs. The lyrics are lovey-dovey; the music is either sweet or upbeat. Things start to take a slight turn when the album reaches “Lights Up.” The lyrics indicate a rocky point in the relationship. However, the instrumental is still romantic, with even a choir singing a couple notes popping up at one point. “Cherry”, “Falling”, “To Be So Lonely”, and “She” transition the listener into the breakup. The major clue as to who Styles is singing about is given in “Cherry.” As if to pour salt into the wound, Styles includes a bit of audio where Camille Rowe is on the phone, seemingly in key with the song. Styles develops “Falling” and “To Be So Lonely” around the feelings of loneliness and self-doubt that one has after a break up.
After experiencing the heartbreak, there’s acceptance and hope. “Sunflower, Vol. 6”, “Canyon Moon”, “Treat People With Kindness”, and “Fine Line” bring the listener back to the happiness from the first fourth of the album. However, this happiness is from accepting the pain, embracing the good memories, and hoping for new ones. “Sunflower, Vol. 6”, where Styles reflects on the good times, has some fun guitar riffs that I wish more of the album had. My favorite song on the album, “Canyon Moon”, brings a wave of bittersweet happiness. The rhythmic strumming throughout enforces the folk element that is introduced in the song’s title and lyrics. This homey happiness is replaced with confidence. While “Treat People With Kindness”, as the name suggests, is a bit preachy, it’s nice to hear how confident Styles feels in this song. However, I still could do without the corny chorus that utilizes a choir and hand claps like it’s a musical.
With the delicate strum, we reach the end of the album. “Fine Line” is a perfect conclusion to the album that shares its name. After experiencing the budding romance, the rocky ending, and finally the acceptance, Styles reflects. The soft guitar and piano eventually gets overpowered by upbeat horns, a snare, and Styles’s strong voice. Like the album, “Fine Line” is a song, but mostly a journey. When the horns get progressively slower and his vocals fade, it’s almost hard to believe the album is over. However, there isn’t more to say. “Fine Line” completes the package and the listener will still be left satisfied.
Overall, “Fine Line” is an album full of emotion. Styles tells the story of his romance from start to finish. It’s satisfying, as the transitions keep the album from becoming too stale from repetition. While it may have the same flaws that most people find in pop, this album is perfect for playing on repeat. Much like a relationship, this album has really high highs and some low lows. If you’re skeptical of Harry Styles and his music, give this LP a listen. During the 46 minutes of this LP, you’ll get to know his style, his emotions, and a journey through his past relationship.
“Canyon Moon” (*****) – Nostalgic, bittersweet, and the warmth of going home
“Watermelon Sugar” (****) – Fun, upbeat, and sweet like watermelon sugar
“Sunflower, Vol. 6” (****) – I’m biased. I like any song with “sunflower” in the title.
Reviewer’s Name: Alli Gilbreath
Date of Review: 2/1/2020