It’s been a week since our Lord and saviour Harry Styles released his eponymous LP, giving us plenty of time to digest, appreciate and reassess since our initial review. Having hit the number one spot on the UK charts, Harry Styles is already a certified smash and has garnered plenty of favourable reviews from all corners of the music press. But on an eclectic and fairly hit and miss album, not not every track is as excellent as Styles’ taste in shirts. With nowt better to do, and having listened to it on repeat all week, I decided to rank the tracks that make up one of the most interesting releases of the year so far.
10. Two Ghosts
It’s not that ‘Two Ghosts’ is a bad song, it really isn’t, it’s just that it’s a bit wet. Obviously Styles had to include a song about professional snake emoji Taylor Swift somewhere on here, but he could have made it a bit more interesting than this flaccid bit of acoustic fluff.
9. Sweet Creature
It’s on the tracks that sound most like One Direction singles that Styles is at his most boring. And that’s a shame, because Harry Styles is anything but boring. But with this saccharine track, not entirely dissimilar to 1D’s ‘Little Things’, Styles shows none of the flamboyant flare that made him the group’s de facto frontman.
A solid track that serves as a stepping stone between the safer, by-the-numbers songs and the rockier, harder-edged tracks that make up the album. That said, there’s something a bit jarring about Styles’ backing vocals while the chorus, beginning with the uninspired line “She’s a good girl,” feels a little lazy.
The track where Harry really lets his imagination run wild, Styles is in full Jagger mode here, sexing his way through the most out-there track on the album. It strays a little too far into pastiche territory with its guitar licks and Styles’ pelvis-thrusting posturing, but it’s good fun nonetheless, full of personality and a charming addition to an album that occasionally takes itself a little too seriously.
6. Sign Of The Times
Styles’ first release was an epic slice of dad rock, grandiose and self-assured. By far the longest track on the album, it was a bold choice for a lead single, but has proved itself to be the right one. A little overblown, sure, but a bit of pomposity never hurt anyone.
5. Only Angel
Not the most memorable track on the album but one of the most dramatic. With its soft, choral opening that bursts into drums and guitar, this would make a great set opener when Styles takes his album on the road.
4. Ever Since New York
When Styles debuted this track on SNL, I was initially underwhelmed. It felt lacklustre and stale, but upon hearing the studio version, it suddenly made a lot of sense. Styles sounds sublime here, as does the layered guitar arrangement. It’s a bit of a slow burner, but one that really pays off.
3. Meet Me In The Hallway
The first of three exceptionally good tracks on the album, ‘Meet Me In The Hallway’ shows a wistful, injured Styles sigh his way through dreamy acoustic pop. If the entire album sounded like this, I certainly wouldn’t be complaining.
2. From The Dining Table
A subdued album closer that sees Styles at his most fragile and his most candid, making reference to sleeping with strangers, drinking in the morning and wanking. Yes, actual wanking. A glimpse into the less glamorous side of Styles’ life, it’s the most affecting and rewarding track on the album, a real spine-tingler and a slap in the face to anyone who thought Styles wasn’t going to knock this going solo business right out of the park.
Now this is the Harry Styles song we were waiting for. Bombastic, raucous and definitely more than just a bit tongue-in-cheek, Styles shines on the sizzling ‘Kiwi’. A track that allows him to be playful and charismatic, Styles’ personality bleeds through the guitar stabs and scuzzy drums on this utterly endearing rock track that harks back to the glory days of the Rolling Stones. Now this is what Harry Styles was born to do.