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check out harry styles's falsetto on debut solo single 'sign of the times'

The ex-One Directioner has found a musical direction that treads the boards of British rock and roll ballads.

by Charlotte Gush
|
Apr 7 2017, 2:48pm

We've been waiting for almost two years to hear the solo musical stylings of Harry Styles (One Direction announced its split in August 2015, but solo careers were in the cards even before then). Finally, today is the day.

Clocking in at a very serious, not radio edit length of five minutes 41 seconds, "Sign of the Times" is a serious song about serious issues: the break-up of 1D, and possibly the upcoming apocalypse. In the towering shadow of David Bowie, Harry's lyrics have a vague preoccupation with the end of days ("Just stop your crying, it's a sign of the times / Welcome to the final show"), but also with the fickle nature of fashion ("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").

In the pre-chorus refrain, Harry flexes his angelic falsetto and world-weary poetry, singing "If we never learn, we been here before / Why are we always stuck and running from / The bullets? The bullets," before the dials are turned up through layers of distortion, breaking into the epic chorus. The second verse delivers this delightfully Major Tom-like line: "Breaking through the atmosphere / And things are pretty good from here."

The audio arrives without a video, just a shot of Harry walking into the sea. The skies turn red around him, and — if you look really closely — the waves softly ripple by his side. There are handprints on the surface of the water, and what look like motorcycle wing mirrors poking out next to his arms. What could it mean? It's like Paul McCartney's bare feet all over again.

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Text Charlotte Gush

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