One Direction crooner Harry Styles opened up to Rolling Stone while promoting “Sign of the Times” and his new solo album, and Styles revealed things never before revealed. Many of them might be an easy guess for fans, but Styles stressed that he wanted to be honest. He wants to tell fans the truth, and above all, Harry wants his music to be “honest.”
Harry Styles’ album, which he wanted to call Sign of the Times after his debut single, has been called authentic by more than one musician. While the whole album has not been released yet — only two singles are currently available — a lucky few among Harry’s friends have heard the evolution of Harry Styles musically since One Direction.
Columbia Records CEO Rob Stringer is quoted in NME as follows.
“We have a record we’re incredibly excited about and it’s not far away from being ready. We obviously want everything to be beautifully done because we think he’s here to stay. Harry has stepped up with the vision of someone who’s authentic.”
Harry Styles recently confided to Rolling Stone that the One Direction hiatus was his idea. Styles says he presented the idea to bandmates due to the overall exhausted state of the band members.
“I didn’t want to exhaust our fan base. If you’re shortsighted, you can think, ‘Let’s just keep touring,’ but we all thought too much of the group than to let that happen. You realize you’re exhausted and you don’t want to drain people’s belief in you.”
Zayn Malik departed One Direction a few months later, and finally, in August, plans for the hiatus were announced. Zayn Malik’s autobiography, Zayn, confirms that Malik at least was far passed exhausted. Zayn Malik couldn’t eat for days on end, and it was out of pure survival instinct that he unexpectedly took a flight home from the tour. For more information about Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, and the One Direction hiatus, see this Inquisitr article.
Harry Styles was surprisingly honest about One Direction being exhausted. It is a hard thing for a young man to own up to. Still, it is not surprising that they were worn out. One Direction’s schedule was insane. The band put out an album every year while being on tour about nine months out of each year.
One Direction’s Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson kept up a highly demanding pace for five years. The price was not only exhaustion but creative limitations. There was little time for musical experimentation and the creative kind of atmosphere that comes when more established bands make albums.
Harry Styles and Zayn Malik each took a full year to produce their debut albums after touring with One Direction, and that is not unusual. The majority of bands take a year or more to make the album, and another year to tour. They don’t embark on a world tour and expect to make an album in their spare time as One Direction did each year.
As Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Louis Tomlinson continue to work on their own debut albums, it needs to be understood that songwriting and recording were intended to take far longer than One Direction was allowed to work on the albums, and that was frustrating to Harry Styles and Zayn Malik.
One Direction’s Harry Styles, having escaped the constant touring, was eager to explore making a real statement with his songs. The “Sign of the Times” singer wanted to write the music from his own perspective.
“I didn’t want to write ‘stories. I wanted to write my stories, things that happened to me. The number-one thing was I wanted, to be honest. I hadn’t done that before.”
One Direction’s Harry Styles makes it clear that while his classic rock influences are part of his album, he wasn’t creating a time machine with this album. As seen with “Sign of the Times,” Harry Styles music is original and really isn’t just new classic rock. It is something new altogether.
Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times” doesn’t take the listener back to the 60s or the 70s. While many of those describing the album inferred that Harry Styles sounded like Queen or David Bowie, “Sign of the Times” showed no signs of being a retro album.
One Direction’s Harry Styles told Rolling Stone he didn’t want to go back in time. He’s going to “keep pushing forward.” The new Harry Styles album is about now. It is a “Sign of the Times.” That means a sign of these times, not what was happening decades ago.
“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.”
One Direction’s Harry Styles will be pushing the music forward creating a new sound, not something left over from past decades. Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times” could be seen as an invitation to other musicians to explore new sounds and break away from cookie cutter songwriting methods.
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