Anyone with a passing interest in pop music will know that One Direction singer Harry Styles has been drip feeding us his solo work for the past few weeks. As you might imagine, One Direction fans have been eagerly anticipating Styles new record, and he has plenty of celebrity endorsement, including from his pal Ed Sheeran. Rumors have been circulating for weeks suggesting that Styles will take his album on tour, and inevitably that raises more questions over the future of One Direction.
Various members of One Direction have been adamant that the boy band will reform. As reported in the Inquisitr recently, Harry’s pal Niall Horan reassured One Direction fans last week when he stated that the band would reform, though he wouldn’t be drawn on when that might happen.
Niall was speaking to UK tabloid The Sun when he admitted that any One Direction reunion was not currently on the cards. The Sun suggested that Harry Styles may not be part of any reunion, leaving One Direction as a trio. Horan explained that he and the other One Direction band members would be likely to tour their own albums before any reunion could happen.
When One Direction announced their hiatus, just over 18-months ago, it was to allow Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson to pursue solo projects. They have all done so, but Styles has become the first current One Direction member to release a full-length album. Liam Payne and Niall Horan are both believed to be close to full-length releases, but we must wait a little longer for those. Given that Styles has been busy filming for Christopher Nolan’s remake of the war movie Dunkirk, one would have expected him to be the last of the One Direction boys to release an album, but yesterday Harry beat his mates to the punch.
Not only did Harry drop his new album yesterday, he has announced a world tour that will kick off in the U.S. this fall.
Can Harry Styles Tour And Album Challenge Ed Sheeran?
As reported by the Telegraph, Styles has announced a 30-date world tour which begins at San Francisco’s Masonic Center on September 19. Harry’s tour runs through November 8 and only takes in four U.K. shows. It’s interesting to see that Styles tour is almost exclusively in small venues. The Masonic Center capacity is just over 3,000, the venues in Glasgow, Manchester, and London are of a similar size, though the London venue can be expanded to 5,000 for standing only shows.
Harry recently told his pal Nick Grimshaw in an interview that he had shared his music with Ed Sheeran. According to MTV, Sheeran was impressed. Of course, Sheeran is arguably the world’s biggest pop star, and his album Divide has dominated the charts since it was released 10 weeks ago. Sheeran has been pushed off the top of the U.K. album chart by rock band Kasabian, but you have to expect that Styles will grab the No. 1 spot next week. Does that mean that Harry Styles could assume Ed Sheeran’s crown as the king of the pop music world?
Given that Sheeran played to over 250,000 at his sell-out Wembley shows and headlines this year’s Glastonbury festival, it is fair to say that Styles is nowhere near that level at present. It is a long way from 3,000-capacity theaters to Glastonbury’s pyramid stage. The problem that Styles is facing, is that everyone wants to compare him to someone else. Harry has been lauded as the new David Bowie, the new Mick Jagger, and the new Ed Sheeran. The reality is that Harry just wants to be the new Harry Styles.
The BBC says that Styles’ album “is a mixed bag – good, odd, awkward, clever and heavily indebted to 1970s soft rock,” and they question whether the songs are good enough to stick around for more than a few weeks. They say that Harry’s album “strains to establish Harry Styles as a credible musician, [but] taken as a whole, it just about works, often in spite of itself.”
The critics are clear that Styles is not ready to challenge Ed Sheeran, at least not yet. However, no one should question Harry’s commitment to making “music for grown-ups,” and the commitment of One Direction fans should never be underestimated. With his debut release, Harry Styles has taken the first steps in his solo career, and whilst Ed Sheeran has nothing to fear right now, don’t bet against Styles making a genuine challenge in the longer term.
[Featured Image by Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx/AP]