Harry Styles new song, “Sign of the Times,” was released today on the 30th anniversary of the Prince classic “Sign o’ the Times,” according to Spin. Prince’s song was very different both lyrically and musically than Harry’s song. In fact Styles’ new song is rather unique.
“Sign of the Times” is somewhat reminiscent of early classic rock, but this first song has more in common with the hair bands of the late 1980’s, though it isn’t exactly that either. It seems to be a new twist on an old style, both in mood and especially mixing, but music lovers will know more when the whole album comes out.
Harry Styles voice is the centerpiece of “Sign of the Times,” more than the instrumentals, and especially the guitar solos that dominated classic rock, however, those instrumentals are there, just dialed down, so Harry is not screaming over them, like the original rockers. Harry Styles’ vocals are, of course, flawless.
“Sign of the Times” features a piano at first. Then there are guitar riffs reminiscent of 1970’s southern rock. It is a somewhat mournful Lynyrd Skynyrd style guitar played very softly, starting at around the three-minute mark, but those riffs are greatly subdued, as if far away, again the guitars and drums are kept in the background.
Harry Styles new song “Sign of the Times” is not exactly like anything else out there, old or new, though it has some strong parallels in music history. It isn’t commercial at all. It relies totally on Harry Styles own taste, and according to Billboard, it isn’t what most would expect. It’s a bit risky.
“And that’s what ‘Sign of the Times’ is: resolute, determined, wholly committed to its messaging and sound, radio trends be damned. Although it wears its influences on its sleeve (RIP, David Bowie), nothing about this single bends toward someone else’s expectations.”
Harry Styles’ new song “Sign of the Times” is in many ways a dark harbinger, at least lyrically. Isn’t it an omen or sign of something at least when sweet, gentle, cheerful Harry writes apocalyptic lyrics about the end of the world? Perhaps it’s just Harry Styles’ interpretation of the genre or his way of dealing with the rock genre in these times.
“Sign of the Times” is getting some interesting reviews. Music experts seem excited about Harry Styles’ new song, while journalists are more cautiously optimistic. The Atlantic said some fascinating things about the lyrics.
“[The lyrics] are also about global heartbreak—feeling bad is just a sign of the times. It’s a song of comfort, imagining escape from this bullet-strewn world by heading to the heavens, with one nice mixed metaphor: ‘You can’t bribe the door on your way to the sky.'”
Harry Styles’ song title “Sign of the Times” really speaks volumes about not only the song but the nature of music. Music is always a sign of the times, and that is why music changes. Music is a reflection of society on one hand and counterculture on the other. Rock, R&B, soul, blues, rap and etc. are all examples of subcultures and countercultures in music, while pop is mainstream, frequently less creative, and not nearly as enduring.
Harry Styles’ new song “Sign of the Times” could be addressing the young citizens of a broken world. These times are difficult especially for young people who have limited opportunities, increasing violence, and poverty compared to previous generations. In the past, rock stirred a message of revolution, frustration, and anger, but Styles isn’t going there.
Harry Styles as an international heartthrob is singing “Sign of the Times” to the entire world. Many countries are war torn, and so perhaps the bullets referenced in the new song, literally refer to bullets. Harry Styles doesn’t get too specific in describing the situation in “Sign of the Times.” That leaves it up to the individual to interpret.
Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times” lyrics are not about resistance or fighting back, something that generally typifies some genres of rock including metal, and punk. The feeling is instead a sort of hopeless acquiescence to annihilation with a possible attempt to flee.
“Sign of The Times” begins with some pretty bleak concepts lyrically, but musically it starts off soft and sweet, hardly the bold rock anthem some were expecting, at least not at first.
Harry Styles’ new song “Sign of the Times” runs over five minutes and builds to more intensity. AZ Lyrics quotes Harry’s first verse.
“Just stop your crying, It’s a sign of the times
Welcome to the final show, Hope you’re wearing your best clothes
You can’t bribe the door on your way to the sky
You look pretty good down here, But you ain’t really good”
Harry Styles’ new song, “Sign of the Times” continues, with Styles sweet reassuring voice explaining that that he’d been told “the end is near. We gotta get away from here.”
“Just stop your crying, It’ll be alright
They told me that the end is near
We gotta get away from here”
“Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles speaks volumes about the energy of the times. While Harry Styles loves classic rock from the 1970s those were different times, and the mood has changed. The whole world has changed quite a bit even since the 1990s. Each generation has its own sound, and Harry Styles is proposing something that could potentially work.
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Is Harry Styles’ new song “Sign of The Times” the sound the world needs for this era?
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]