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Fine Line Marks a Triumphant Return for Harry Styles

He’s back! It’s been way too long since we’ve heard from Harry Styles (his debut solo album was released in May of 2017) and boy are we ready to fall in love again. The Brit’s sophomore album is a heartfelt experience of soft rock and pop sounds, in which every song has its own identity. Each of the twelve tracks brings its own traits to the table, so here’s a song by song review to help you navigate Fine Line.

Track 1 – Golden
This opening track starts you off light. “Golden” is a decidedly fluffy jam, boasting some sweet drums and a cool bridge. While it is very lyrically repetitive, the song isn’t supposed to be poetry; it’s supposed to make you feel good. And “Golden” does its job with enthusiasm, evidenced by its fun, danceable melody and colorful chorus.

Track 2 – Watermelon Sugar *
“Watermelon Sugar” is the second single off of Fine Line, and in my opinion, it’s a certified bop. My opinion actually changed since Watermelon Sugar first came out; I was lukewarm at first, still reeling from “Lights Up” (more on that later). Maybe it’s because there’s several inches of snow outside, and “Watermelon Sugar” is a true summer song. A catchy chorus is accompanied by some energetic electric guitar and yes, fruit (it seems to be a theme). Like “Golden” before it, “Watermelon Sugar” runs the risk of repetitiveness. In my opinion, the first few tracks on this album are lyrically… shallow. Yes, the verses are fun and easy, but they aren’t anything I’d want tattooed. However, that is not always the mark of a good song. “Watermelon Sugar” makes me want to jump around, so that’s a win for me.

Track 3 – Adore You *
“Adore You” is the third and last single of the album. It splashed into the scene with two things Harry Styles does best: pitch-perfect vocals and fruit references. There’s no denying it’s a well produced song, it just doesn’t make my personal favorites list. The chorus doesn’t really evolve throughout the song, and as I’m writing this now, I realize that I honestly don’t have that much to say. It’s not the best of the album but it’s certainly not the worst. Overall, a good song.

Track 4 – Lights Up *
This relatively short lead single plowed its way onto the top of the charts on sheer hype, most of which it deserved. It definitely feels like the lead single, too, because it has a more self-assured theme of its own that doesn’t necessarily align with the rest of the album. But sonically it belongs on the album just as much as the next song. My favorite part is the “la di da da” riffs, which I have to sing along to every time. There’s not much actual song to review, but it would get 3 out of 5 stars if I did that type of rating.

Track 5 – Cherry
And so we have arrived at “Cherry”. This song is a beautiful glimpse into Style’s emotional state post break-up, which could not have landed as hard as it did without the absolutely sweet and soft vocals. I honestly am most excited to see this song in concert because it is a lighter-waver for sure. The guitar is pretty, the lyrics are pretty, this song is just so… pretty. It opens and closes with the haunting voice of Styles’s ex-girlfriend, which encloses the track in its own feelings; “Cherry” is an experience. My favorite line is “I just miss / I just miss your accent and your friends / but you know I still talk to them” which somehow has the ability to put me instantly in my feels. Yes, please.

Track 6 – Falling
Volume up folks, “Falling” is here. I have to say, if this is your favorite song on the album you have taste. And yes, I am complimenting myself. One of my notes for this song reads “piano piano piano”, which I think pretty much sums that up. In my opinion, Styles is at his most vulnerable here, and I love it; I can physically feel his emotion, the pleading and sadness of inevitable heartbreak. Styles’s cry of “What if I’m someone I don’t want around” is a gut punch for many listeners, including me. Remember when I talked about tattooable lyrics? Yeah. All in all, “Falling” is a song I would definitely make permanent.

Track 7 – To Be So Lonely
The seventh track instantly reels you in with cool, groovy guitar picking, most likely courtesy of guitarist Mitch Rowland. The reason this song quickly became one of my favorites off of the album was it had definite Hozier vibes. Musically, it reminded me of Hozier’s album, Wasteland, Baby!, which is a compliment. “To Be So Lonely” goes hard, with its self-deprecating, post-breakup lyrics, and the added touch of some sweet, sweet strings.

Track 8 – She
Who is “She”? An ex-girlfriend? Styles’ femininity? Some abstract concept of ideal love? We don’t know and neither does Harry, I guess. “She” is a smooth and groovy ode to indie rock; with the storytelling lyrics and Epic Guitar Solo™, the song gives new life to a classic sound. Just imagine this being sung in a crowded smoky lounge during the deep winter. It might be on the longer side, but “She” is worth the listen.

Track 9 – Sunflower, Vol. 6
If this is volume 6, I’m 100% sure I don’t want to hear volumes 1-5. Honestly, this song makes whatever the opposite of a lasting impression is for me. I don’t have a lot to say, to be frank. Sorry if this is your favorite, but I’m moving on.

Track 10 – Canyon Moon
“Canyon Moon” is a quintessential bonfire singalong song, summer in a bottle, etc. You know that meme of Marge Simpson where she’s like “I just think it’s neat”. That’s how I feel about “Canyon Moon”. It makes me happy and nostalgic, but this song does get boring after the first chorus. The harmony on “I’m going home” is very nice, though. Ooh, I hear a little whistle!

Track 11 – Treat People With Kindness
“Treat People With Kindness” is a born in the wrong generation kinda girl. It doesn’t match the theme of the album at all, but it does have a very straightforward and sweet message. The chorus is nice, but the song is my personal least favorite, an opinion I don’t think I’m alone in. However, this song has danceability, and that should not be overlooked. While it’s not for me, feel free to jam to this upbeat track on your own!

Track 12 – Fine Line
Okay, straight up, I adore this song. Every lyric? Tattoo. The echo effect? Sob. Beautiful, showstopping, breathtaking, spectacular, amazing vocals. This song makes me cry, but, like, in a good way. You know? If I had to pick one word to describe this song, it would be “lovely”. I particularly love the swell of brass and percussion and strings at the end at the transition from “We’ll be a fine line” to “We’ll be alright”. In conclusion, “Fine Line” is truly a masterpiece of a closing track and the rightful titular character.