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Harry Styles (album)

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Harry Styles
Harry Styles is half submerged in a pastel pink bath, both his hands cover his face while his back faces the viewer. Around his neck are two silver necklaces, with one of them flipped to his back to show a tiny lotus flower pendant.
Studio album by
Released12 May 2017 (2017-05-12)
Recorded2016
Studio
Genre
Length40:18
Label
Producer
Singles from Harry Styles
  1. "Sign of the Times"
    Released: 7 April 2017 (2017-04-07)
  2. "Two Ghosts"
    Released: 7 August 2017 (2017-08-07)
  3. "Kiwi"
    Released: 31 October 2017 (2017-10-31)

Harry Styles is the eponymous debut studio album by English singer and songwriter Harry Styles. The album was released on 12 May 2017, through Columbia Records and Styles' own label, Erskine Records.[1][2] For the album, Styles worked with producers Jeff Bhasker, Alex Salibian, Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon.

The record has been described by various music publications as a collection of soft rock, rock, Britpop and pop. It was preceded by the release of its lead single, "Sign of the Times", while "Two Ghosts" and "Kiwi" served as the second and third singles, respectively. It received generally positive reviews from music critics and debuted atop the charts in several countries, including Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. It has been certified platinum in Australia, Canada, Poland, and Mexico, and gold in ten countries, including the UK and US. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Harry Styles was the ninth global best-selling album of 2017 with sales of 1 million copies. In support of the album, Styles embarked on his first headlining concert tour, Harry Styles: Live on Tour.

Background

In August 2015, One Direction announced that an extended hiatus would take place following the release of their fifth studio album.[3] In January 2016, Us Weekly published a report claiming that the group's hiatus would, in fact, become a permanent split, noting that each of the four remaining group members did not renew their contracts following the completion of the On the Road Again Tour in October 2015.[4] Representatives for the group denied the report in a statement to Billboard, stating, "nothing has changed regarding hiatus plans for the group, and all will be revealed in due time from the band members' own mouths."[5][6]

In February 2016, it was confirmed that Styles had left the group's management,[7] becoming the second member of the band to do so after Zayn Malik's departure almost a year prior.[8] In June, it was confirmed that Styles had signed a recording contract with Columbia Records.[9] Recording sessions for the album took place in a number of locations, including in Los Angeles, London, and the Gee Jam Hotel Recording Studio in Port Antonio, Jamaica, where Styles and his production team had a two-month writing retreat in the autumn of 2016.[10]

Promotion

On 31 March 2017, Styles announced the album's lead single to be "Sign of the Times", which was released on 7 April.[11] The album name, artwork, and track list were revealed on 13 April.[1] The album track "Sweet Creature" was released as a promotional single on 2 May.[12] Styles performed the songs "Sign of the Times" and "Ever Since New York" on the 15 April episode of Saturday Night Live.[13] On 21 April, Styles appeared on The Graham Norton Show for his first televised solo performance in his native country,[14] and guested on the French talk show, Quotidien, five days later; he performed "Sign of the Times" on both shows.[15]

On 9 May, Styles performed the tracks "Carolina", "Sign of the Times", "Ever Since New York", and a cover of One Direction's "Stockholm Syndrome" on The Today Show.[16] On 13 May, a day after the album's release, he held a surprise concert at The Garage in London.[17][18] Styles held a similar show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on 19 May, and invited Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks to perform as a special guest. Proceeds from both shows were donated to charity.[19] On 15 May, Harry Styles: Behind the Album was released exclusively on Apple Music, a 49-minute documentary film showing footage from his writing and recording sessions in Jamaica and Los Angeles; The Performances version features a full-length live performance of the album filmed at London's Abbey Road Studios.[20] Styles was the musical guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden every night in the week spanning from 15 to 18 May, and performed in various sketches alongside Corden.[21][22] In support of the album, Styles embarked on his first solo tour, Harry Styles: Live on Tour, which ran from September 2017 through to July 2018 and visited North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and South America.[23] On tour, Styles debuted two unreleased songs, "Oh Anna" and "Medicine", which were originally written for the album.[24]

Music and themes

"A lot of my influences, and the stuff that I love, is older... 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."

—Styles in Rolling Stone [25]

Music publications have described the album as soft rock,[26] rock,[27] Britpop,[28] and pop.[29] Critics noted influences by British classic rock[30] and singer-songwriter folk.[31] Variety's Eve Barlow described the album as a "cocktail of psychedelia, Britpop, and balladry",[32] while for Jon Caramanica of The New York Times it "is steeped in the singer-songwriter music of the late 1960s and 1970s, and in moments, in the flamboyant harder rock of the late 1970s and 1980s."[33] Lyrically, the album's themes mostly focus on women and relationships.[25][34] In a Rolling Stone interview with Cameron Crowe, Styles said "The one subject that hits the hardest is love, whether it’s platonic, romantic, loving it, gaining it, losing it...it always hits you hardest."[25]

The album opens with a soft music number,[33] "Meet Me in the Hallway", a psychedelic pop ballad performed with twanging guitars.[25][34] "Sign of the Times" is pop rock, soft rock, "apocalyptic" ballad which musically encapsulates Styles' aspirations.[32][35] The vaguely Caribbean groover track "Carolina" recalls Blur's Britpop style;[35][36] described by Styles as "the little bit of fun we had been wanting but didn't have" while making the album.[37] "Two Ghosts" is a country influenced soft rock ballad about former lovers.[26] Lullaby-like folk acoustic ballad "Sweet Creature" discusses the strength of a bond that endures despite bad times.[34][38][39] The uptempo song "Only Angel" veers towards glam rock.[26][39] In rock song "Kiwi" he sings about a classic femme fatale.[40] A slower track, the rock troubadour "Ever Since New York", features lyrics about meditation on loss and longing.[32][25] "Woman" has elements of funk rock, in which Styles compares his jealousy to a howling beast.[41][35] The acoustic closer track, "From The Dining Table", features lush, multi-part harmonies, and recalls the confessional style of the album's opener.[32]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.5/10[43]
Metacritic68/100[42]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[39]
The Daily Telegraph3/5 stars[44]
Entertainment WeeklyB[38]
Evening Standard3/5 stars[45]
The Guardian3/5 stars[46]
The Independent3/5 stars[47]
Los Angeles Times4/5 stars[34]
NME3/5 stars[27]
Pitchfork6.8/10[48]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[49]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album has an average score of 68 based on 24 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[42] AllMusic critic Tim Sendra opined that the album works "exceedingly well" as a modern pop record and an extension of the sound and brand of One Direction, but "as the kind of personal statement Styles wants to make, it comes very close, but ultimately falls just short."[39] For Jason Lipshutz of Billboard, Styles "has opted to forego radio play and make a big, brash guitar album", arguing, "his commitment to conjuring the spirit of '70s rock never comes across as overreaching."[50] Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield states that Styles "claims his turf as a true rock & roll prince" on his "superb solo debut".[49] Mikael Wood of Los Angeles Times wrote Styles "never overplays his hand on this winningly relaxed collection", but found the "dad-baiting" album to be "full of echoes of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones."[34] MusicOMH's John Murphy commented that even though it occasionally "dips into bland pastiche", the album is a "fine solo effort", which "as the latest step in rebranding Styles for a brand new audience, it will do just fine".[51] Annie Zaleski of The A.V. Club felt Styles took a "bold step forward by leaning on the past", adding, "hopefully the songs will someday catch up to his ambition".[36] Rick Pearson of Evening Standard called it "a self-consciously serious and grown-up effort".[45]

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian stated that while "Styles is remarkably good as a confessional singer-songwriter [...] not all the album's musical homages work".[46] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times felt the "sometimes great, sometimes foggy" album is "almost bold in its resistance to contemporary pop music aesthetics."[33] David Sakllah of Consequence of Sound wrote "the missteps don't detract too much from this ambitious, if slightly unfocused, debut", as "he's certainly on the right track".[52] Mesfin Fekadu of Associated Press noted the performance aspect of the album is where Styles "truly shines", but "not so much" in the creative process.[53] Anjali Raguraman of The Straits Times called "Sign of the Times" the "strongest" track on the album and felt Styles sounds "most self-assured on the slower numbers", while noting that "his inexperience shows when he falls into tired tropes".[26] Regarding the use of tropes, Roisin O'Connor of The Independent was disappointed that Styles did not "break away from some of the more fatigued gender archetypes that dominate the rock music he clearly loves."[47] Shahzaib Hussain of Clash contended that Styles "[created] an immersive, reference-fuelled tribute to classic rock for the millennial generation", albeit "[offering] little in the way of innovation". However, Hussain singles out "Only Angel" and "Kiwi" for being "misfires", calling the tracks "a one-two punch of masochistic, rock swaggering, admirable in its legerdemain, [that] ultimately comes undone by haphazard lyricism."[54] In a negative review, Dave Hanratty of Drowned in Sound felt that Styles "failed to make a defining statement", writing that the album "from start to finish [...] is a series of impressions" of Elton John, Beck, Mick Jagger, and The Beatles.[55]

Year-end lists

Publication List Rank Ref.
Billboard 50 Best Albums of 2017: Critics' Picks
10
Complex The Best Albums of 2017
33
Esquire UK The 50 Best Albums of 2017 N/A
Fuse The 20 Best Albums of 2017
13
Mashable The 10 Best Albums of 2017
9
Rolling Stone 50 Best Albums of 2017
17
Time The Top 10 Albums of 2017
6
TRL Top 20 Albums Of The Year
20
V The 10 Best Albums of 2017 N/A
Variety The Best Albums of 2017 N/A
The Village Voice Pazz & Jop Music Critics Poll
52
Melty Best Pop Albums of the Year
9

Commercial performance

The album debuted atop the UK Albums Chart with first-week sales of 57,000 units, with Styles becoming the second One Direction member to achieve a number one solo album, following Zayn's Mind of Mine in April 2016.[68] It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 230,000 album-equivalent units, of which 193,000 were pure album sales.[69] It is the highest first sales week for a British male artist's debut full-length album since Nielsen SoundScan began in 1991, beating Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour (2014) which moved 166,000 copies in its first week.[69] Selling 67,000 units in its second week, it fell down to number three.[70]

The album was ranked number 22 on the list of the top 40 biggest albums of 2017 on the UK Album Chart.[71] It was the fourth best selling album by a British artist worldwide in 2017.[72] According to IFPI, it was the ninth best selling album of 2017, with 1 million copies shipped globally.[73] The album was Sony Music's biggest global seller in the second quarter of 2017.[74] It was the sixth best selling album of 2017 in Mexico.[75]

"Sign of the Times" reached number one on the UK Singles Chart.[76] In the US, the song debuted at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 [77] The second single, "Two Ghosts", peaked at number 58 on the UK Singles Chart and number 34 on the US Mainstream Top 40 charts.[78][79]

Track listing

Credits adapted from liner notes.[80]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Meet Me in the Hallway"
  • Bhasker
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
3:47
2."Sign of the Times"
  • Styles
  • Bhasker
  • Rowland
  • Nasci
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
5:40
3."Carolina"
3:09
4."Two Ghosts"
  • Bhasker
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
3:49
5."Sweet Creature"
  • Styles
  • Hull
3:44
6."Only Angel"
  • Styles
  • Rowland
  • Nasci
  • Bhasker
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
  • Bhasker
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
4:51
7."Kiwi"
  • Styles
  • Bhasker
  • Rowland
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
  • Nasci
  • Bhasker
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
2:56
8."Ever Since New York"
  • Styles
  • Rowland
  • Bhasker
  • Nasci
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
  • Bhasker
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
4:13
9."Woman"
  • Styles
  • Salibian
  • Rowland
  • Bhasker
  • Nasci
  • Johnson
  • Bhasker
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
4:38
10."From the Dining Table"
  • Styles
  • Rowland
  • Johnson
  • Salibian
  • Bhasker
  • Nasci
  • Bhasker
  • Salibian
  • Johnson
3:31
Total length:40:18

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer

Sample credits

  • "Only Angel" contains a sample of dialogue from the film, Barfly.[80]

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Harry Styles.[80]

Performers and musicians

  • Harry Styles – vocals, background vocals, claps (track 6), guitar (track 4), omnichord (track 1, 4)
  • Steve Aho – orchestrator / conductor / musician contractor (tracks 3, 6, 10)
  • Erik Arvinder – violin (tracks 3, 6, 10)
  • Jeffrey Azoff – background vocals (track 6), claps (track 6)
  • Kala Balch – alto vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Laurhan Beato – alto vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Jeff Bhasker – background vocals (track 6), claps (track 6), keys (tracks 2, 6, 8), lap steel (track 2), moog (track 9), piano (tracks 1, 2, 5)
  • Edie Lehmann Boddicker – gospel choirmaster (tracks 2, 6), alto (tracks 2, 6)
  • Johnny Britt – tenor vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Reid Bruton – bass-baritone vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Caroline Buckman – viola (tracks 3, 6, 10)
  • Charlean Carmon – soprano vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Carmen Carter – soprano vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Alvin Chea – bass-baritone vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Monique Donnelly – soprano vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Allie Feder – soprano vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Vanessa Freebairn-Smith – cello (tracks 3, 6, 10)
  • Jim Gilstrap – bass-baritone vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Ira Glansbeek – cello (tracks 3, 6, 10)
  • Taylor Graves – tenor vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Kid Harpoon – background vocals (tracks 3, 5), bass (track 5), claps (track 3), guitar (track 5)
  • Clydene Jackson – alto vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Tyler Johnson – background vocals (tracks 6 and 7), claps (track 6), keys (track 4), piano (track 3)
  • Keri Larson – soprano vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Songa Lee – violin (tracks 3, 6 and 10)
  • David Loucks – tenor vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Jamie McCrary – tenor vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Ryan Nasci – bass (tracks 1–4, 6–9), lap steel (track 3)
  • Diane Reynolds – soprano vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Mitch Rowland – acoustic guitar (track 10), background vocals (tracks 3, 6 and 7), claps (track 6), cowbell (track 6), electric guitar (track 3), guitar (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6–9), drums (tracks 1–4, 6–9)
  • Alex Salibian – acoustic guitar (track 3), background vocals (tracks 6 and 7), claps (tracks 3, 6), keys (tracks 3, 8 and 9), piano (tracks 3, 8 and 9)
  • Aretha Scruggs – alto vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Fletcher Sheridan – tenor vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Katie Sloan – violin (tracks 3, 6 and 10)
  • Carmen Twillie – tenor vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Ina Veli – violin (tracks 3, 6 and 10)
  • Julia Waters – soprano vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Oren Waters – tenor vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Will Wheaton – bass-baritone vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Michael Whitson – viola (tracks 3, 6 and 10)
  • Baraka Williams – alto vocals (tracks 2, 6)
  • Eyvonne Williams – alto vocals (tracks 2, 6)

Production

  • Jeff Bhasker – executive production, production (tracks 1–4, 6–10), additional production (track 5)
  • Matt Dyson – assistant engineering
  • Chris Gehringer – mastering
  • Kid Harpoon – production (tracks 3, 5), engineering (track 5)
  • Tyler Johnson – production (tracks 1, 3, 4, 6–10), co-production (track 2), additional production (track 5), programming (track 3)
  • Ryan Nasci – engineering, mixing (tracks 1, 4, 10)
  • Alex Salibian – production (tracks 1, 3, 4, 6–10), co-production (track 2), additional production (track 5)
  • Mark "Spike" Stent – mixing (tracks 2, 3, 5–9)

Design

  • Calvin Aurand – specialty packaging photography
  • Jacob Hassett – graphic design
  • Molly Hawkins – creative director
  • Harley Weir – photography

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[131] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[132] Platinum 80,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[133] Gold 10,000^
France (SNEP)[134] Gold 50,000*
Italy (FIMI)[135] Gold 25,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[136] Platinum 60,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[137] Gold 25,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[138] Gold 7,500^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[139] Gold 10,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[140] Platinum 20,000*
Sweden (GLF)[141] Gold 20,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[142] Gold 10,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[143] Gold 193,000[144]
United States (RIAA)[145] Gold 500,000double-dagger
Summaries
Worldwide (2017) N/A 1,000,000[73]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

See also

References

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