To Harry Styles’ many adoring fans he can walk on water, and he does just that in his new music video for “Sign of the Times.”
Harry Styles finally released the music video for “Sign of the Times,” his debut solo single after taking a break from One Direction. The video was posted on Harry’s YouTube page on Monday, and it’s already racking up views.
The “Sign of the Times” video takes place on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, with Harry singing in an empty field before taking off and flying through lush landscapes. Harry is shown flying over fields, a lake, and some woods; a lone human in a vast world. At one point, he descends onto the water and proceeds to walk on it before taking flight again. The video ends with the sun setting and Harry ascending into the clouds.
The video’s epic feeling reflects Harry’s own thoughts on “Sign of the Times.” The singer spoke with Rolling Stone recently about the song’s deep meaning and resonance in today’s world.
“Most of the stuff that hurts me about what’s going on at the moment is not politics, it’s fundamentals,” he told the magazine.
“Equal rights. For everyone, all races, sexes, everything… ‘Sign of the Times’ came from ‘This isn’t the first time we’ve been in a hard time, and it’s not going to be the last time.’ The song is written from a point of view as if a mother was giving birth to a child and there’s a complication. The mother is told, ‘The child is fine, but you’re not going to make it.’ The mother has five minutes to tell the child, ‘Go forth and conquer.'”
“Sign of the Times” is a departure from the dance-pop of One Direction. The song embraces ’70s pop-rock influences, including David Bowie, Elton John and Pink Floyd, one of the music eras Harry loves.
“A lot of my influences, and the stuff that I love, is older. So the thing I didn’t want to do was, I didn’t want to put out my first album and be like, ‘He’s tried to re-create the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, Nineties.’ Loads of amazing music was written then, but I’m not saying I wish I lived back then. I wanted to do something that sounds like me. I just keep pushing forward.”
The song received many positive reviews from music critics, who commended his bold departure from the teen pop that made him and his One Direction bandmates so popular.
“Styles swings for the fences on the nearly six-minute track, which serves as a kind of rock history lesson, folding in psychedelic soul, indie rock and spacey pop,” raved Billboard when “Sign of the Times” first came out. “Every artists [sic] is an accumulation of their influences, and in ‘Sign of the Times’ they come fast and furious, as Styles appears to be both showing his range and making a clear effort to step boldly away from the manufactured, plastic pop of his past.”
Harry does not dismiss the musical taste of his largely young girl fanbase, though.
“Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That’s not up to you to say,” Harry said in the Rolling Stone interview. “Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious?”
“Sign of the Times” is the first single off Harry Styles, the singer’s debut solo album. The album features 10 songs in total, having released three songs thus far. Harry performed “Sign of the Times” and debuted “Ever Since New York” on Saturday Night Live in April, while he released the track “Sweet Creature” as a promotional single.
Harry Styles will be released Friday, May 12.
[Featured Image by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images]