fine line

Stars 5/5

It’s been a little over a year since  Harry Styles blessed us with his second album “Fine Line.” Styles celebrated the album’s one year anniversary in December, and if I’m being honest, I’m still not over this record. “Fine Line” is an emotional rollercoaster full of fun bops, radio hits and emo breakup songs that will satisfy any emotion. 

I highly anticipated this album’s release in December of 2019. After Styles debuted with a 10-track, self-titled album in 2017, I was ready for him to finally release some new music. Enter “Fine Line.” This new album consisted of 12 tracks instead of 10 and started a whole new era for Styles. 

The first single to be released from the album was the fourth track titled “Lights Up.” This song has a very distinct sound that doesn’t sound like anything from Styles’ self-titled debut. “Lights Up” includes a gospel choir that accompanies Styles on the chorus along with deep, recurring lyrics that pose the question “do you know who you are?” Styles released a music video shortly after the single dropped which included him dancing in a rather sweaty crowd, pre-covid of course. 

It’s hard to pick songs that stand out to me on this album because I really do love them all. Admittedly, I am a huge fan of Styles, but I do have some favorites that I do like better than the rest.

“Sunflower, Vol. 6” is one of my all-time favorites to come from this album. I know a lot of people would pick “Watermelon Sugar” as the best summer song from this album, but I really think it’s “Sunflower, Vol. 6.” This song evokes the feeling of gazing onto a sandy, sunny shore and watching the waves break as the track plays softly in the background. Perhaps the most surprising thing on this track is the ending ad-libs by Styles. He ends the song with playful and albeit senseless “boop” sounds which make a lot more sense once you find out that he experimented with psychedelics during the making of “Fine Line.”

In the middle of this album are three breakup-themed songs: “Cherry,” “Falling” and “To Be So Lonely.” “Cherry” starts this melancholy trifecta, with Styles repeatedly singing “don’t you call him baby.” Styles sings that he and this person aren’t talking, though he acknowledges that he hates how well they’re doing without him. The song ends with an actual voicemail from one of Styles’ exes, but you might need a translator for it since she’s speaking French. In “Falling,” Styles sings about being in that part after the breakup where you begin to lose yourself without that other person. This song is a beautiful sad piano ballad that might make you shed a tear. The final breakup-esque song is “To Be So Lonely” where Styles seems to be rejecting his past lover. In contrast to the lyrics in “Cherry,” we see Styles begin to move on with the lyrics “don’t call me baby again.”

The two songs I think are the most underrated from this album are “Canyon Moon” and “Treat People With Kindness.” If you need a pick-me-up after the last three songs I talked about, listen to these two. “Canyon Moon” makes you feel like you’re on a road trip or singing around a campfire. “Treat People With Kindness” has been Styles’ mantra, and I’m so glad he turned it into a song. Though it may seem a little silly, I really don’t know how you can be in a bad mood while listening to “Treat People With Kindness.”

The final song it the title track of the album. The song “Fine Line” is perfect for any coming-of-age movie climax. One thing I recommend is looking at the lyrics of this song. I think this song is so well-orchestrated that the lyrics can be lost when listening, but it’s so much better when you really listen to what Styles is singing. Some lyrics from “Fine Line” might be sadder than all of the lyrics of the breakup trifecta combined. It’s really reassuring to hear Harry Styles sing to you that “we’ll be alright” and I think there’s no better song Styles could have ended this album with.

If you haven’t heard this album yet, go listen to it right now. I know I can appear to be a little biased because I am a bit of a Harry Styles die-hard but trust me when I say this album is worth a listen. “Fine Line” contains variety and really shows Styles’ artistic versatility. If you’re feeling sad or feeling like you need a mood booster, “Fine Line” has a song for that. It’s been a whole year and then some since its release, and I’m still listening to it as if it came out yesterday.

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