The New RS 500: #491 Harry Styles — Fine Line
Release Date: December 13, 2019
Label: Columbia Records
Have I heard this album before? More or less yes, but not in one sitting.
2003 List Ranking: N/A; 2012 List Ranking: N/A; Does the move feel appropriate?: N/A
Is This Album One of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time? Please do not come for me, Stylers (“Stylists” was right there, c’mon), but no, I think RS is wild for this one.
Review: In another universe, Harry could have turned out in the same vein as the Alex Turner/Miles Turner cache of British Rock Dudes, but given his start being pretty firmly rooted in pop, fairly or unfairly, I don’t think he’ll ever really get there. He tries on “She,” which is the highlight track on the album for me, perhaps predictably. There’s a fucking guitar solo on the track and, lo and behold, it actually rules. However, there are a lot of tracks like “Falling,” “To Be So Lonely” and “Canyon Moon” that appear to fall into the pop-but-elevated kinda thing he’s been trying to go for post-One Direction. Personally, I’d rather him fully lean in on the “She” sound and go for his Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, or go for full-on pop like “Watermelon Sugar,” which is probably the most logical choice. There are certain songs here that, individually, are very strong and maybe could crack my own personal 500 Greatest Songs list, but putting this album as a whole on the Rolling Stone Greatest Albums list seems like a performative play and a bit odd.