Harry Styles solo music is off to a great start. The One Direction crooner is taking it slow and steady. Styles is learning, making connections with the icons in the industry and transitioning his image with the Another Man interview and photo shoot. Harry is systematically reinventing himself as he transitions from teen pop to something much more interesting and completely new.
Harry Styles appears to be light years ahead, even though he has yet to release a single song. Styles is giving fans reason to believe his new music will be completely different than 1D music.
One Direction’s Niall Horan has released a song called “This Town,” and while it sounds totally awesome, and it is somewhat a departure from 1D music, the differences are apparently very subtle. Billboard responded by placing it as number five in the top ten Horan Songs from 1D. Setting new solo material, in the middle of a list of 1D songs Horan wrote years ago, hardly says “This Town” is anything new.
Harry Styles and Niall Horan have a completely different approach to solo work. Styles has built up anticipation for something groundbreaking to reinvent music as we know it, Horan is playing it safe with a timeless ballad that most people feel fits within the One Direction genre according to Forbes.
“The track, which debuted on Vevo as an acoustic, black and white video, sounds like more of the same from the heartthrob musician, who doesn’t stray too far from the kind of music he was creating with One Direction for years.”
Niall Horan’s “This Town” is a beautiful folk ballad. There is no denying that. “This Town” does sound a bit more authentic somehow than the usual One Direction song, but his changes are subtle so far. The folk sound is more distinct, and there’s nothing especially pop about the song. Perhaps Billboard and Forbes should give it another listen, but it’s still not revolutionary, just simple and beautiful.
While One Direction’s Harry Styles hasn’t released anything yet, he’s alluding to the idea he’s the next Mick Jagger, or perhaps Paul McCartney, so he has his work cut out for him, living up to that. Can he do it?
Apparently, Harry Styles is both a workaholic and a perfectionist. He knocked his acting debut out of the park, in the film Dunkirk. Normally Styles can do anything he sets his mind to, but he’s set the bar really high this time. It is yet to be seen if he can pull off his dream album, but the odds are in his favor.
One Direction’s Liam Payne is working on an R&B album. No one has heard a single track, but he’s collaborating with some big-name rhythm and blues artists.
Zayn Malik’s solo album is also R&B, but it is pretty hard to imagine settled and mature Liam Payne creating anything remotely like Mind of Mine. Malik’s first album is crazy good. It is creative, sexy and wild. Payne’s album will probably share little in common with Malik’s work, other than the R&B genre. It is yet to be seen what Payne will find to emulate within the vast genre of R&B.
Harry Styles was a young rocker before One Direction. While in high school, he was in a band called White Eskimo. Though Harry is no longer with them, that band has gone on to create some very cool music.
One Direction’s members are representative of various styles. Harry Styles’ classic rock, Niall Horan’s authentic folk ballads, and Liam Payne’s take on R&B will be quite diverse. So what is Lewis Tomlinson working on? No one knows. There has been no indication that Lewis is working on music at all, but of course, everyone though Horan was just playing golf when “This Town” came out, so fans will have to wait and see.
One Direction members are again going in all different directions again, right? Well actually no. These genres are the strongest influences of contemporary music. At least they were the strongest influences before twenty-first-century vanilla flavored pop swept the market.
Harry Styles favorite music, classic rock and it’s descendant genre’s of metal, goth metal, thrash metal, and so forth, defined music in the latter half of the twentieth-century. Though its influence seems to be fading, nothing as powerful has come along to replace it.
One Direction’s Niall Horan is sticking with folk ballads; he’s like Bob Dylan with a sweeter voice, and no political overtones. Folk has been a powerful influence on music for many centuries. It was very popular as a subgroup of rock in the late sixties and early seventies. Mastering the folk ballad was always part of rock music.
One Direction’s Liam Payne’s explorations represent the great influence of R&B. Rhythm and Blues could be said to be the stronger parent of rock music, though many other influences were also felt. R&B was also the primary childhood musical influence on Mick Jagger. Of course, R&B has evolved far from its roots as well. Maybe Liam is going back to the classics of R&B?
Zayn Malik is full on R&B with all the sexy attributes that led to the condemnation of both R&B and rock in the early sixties, Victorian style mentality. This kind of music was labeled “vulgar” by the establishment, parents and all authority figures in the sixties.
Zayn’s R&B ingredient was vital to the evolution of music as well, and hopefully he will return to One Direction, to share his influences. They need him and his darker, deeper reflections. As painful as his anxiety is, it has a necessary place in music. Sadly, good music requires the element of discomfort and even pain. It requires brooding depths as well as frenzied highs. Yes, good music tends to be a bit bipolar.
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One Direction’s best future, based on their individual interests, personalities and talents would include both Harry Styles and Zayn Malik in a somewhat volatile collaboration. They have it in them to be the McCartney and Lennon, or the nitro and the glycerin that is needed for the absolute best of the new 1D. Styles and Malik could stretch and challenge each other in a powerful way.
If One Direction is trying to invent a parallel in music derived fresh from the wells that yielded rock and roll, then they are certainly going about it with a typical Harry Styles systematic approach. While Harry Styles has been a driving force in perpetuating his own career and winning credibility for 1D as a group, all the band members have an important role to play in the reunion.
One Direction’s reunion with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and hopefully Zayn Malik will be awesome.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]