Harry Styles: Keeping Rock Alive

How Harry has Iconic Rock Stars Falling in Love With Him and Keeping the Genre Alive 

By: Angelina Salvador

Harry Styles photographed for his second album. Credit: Tim Walker / Fine Line Album Photoshoot

Watermelon Sugar… High! It’s no secret what that song is about, but it’s also no secret that Harry Styles has been taking over this year with his second album “Fine Line” that was released back in December. Since then, Styles has released songs including Watermelon Sugar, Adore You, and Golden as singles.

These songs have been taking over the charts and winning over the hearts of fans, radio listeners, and even rock star legends! Icons like Stevie Nicks and Bon Jovi have constantly been praising and showing support for the singer, in interviews, and all over social media. 

Styles has proven that he’s keeping the genre of rock alive, the evidence being his second album and the different sub genres of rock in every song on it. Stevie Nicks, from the band Fleetwood Mac, had praised Styles in an open letter she had written and posted on social media telling him, “It is your Rumors,” comparing his second album to Fleetwood Mac’s album, “Rumors.” 

Fleetwood Mac’s album voices sorrow with members’ real life experiences with love, as does Styles’ “Fine Line.” This is a massive compliment, considering “Rumors” is one of the best and emotional records ever made, so that should tell you everything you need to know and give “Fine Line” a listen!

But diving deeper into his second album, we find that there is more to him than just what people see on the surface. His voice,  lyrics, structures, and melodies are what’s keeping the genre alive in modern times. 

Through tracks and lyrics on being yourself and heartbreak, his talent for songwriting and strong vocals shine especially through his knowledge of music. Although the rock genre has a wide range of subgenres, it is clear that Styles can pull it all off. 

Rock ballads, pop rock, alternative, folk, and psychedelic are all prominent in his album. Nothing sounds forced in any of his songs; he’s that talented! 

This is exactly how Styles is keeping rock alive with his own modern style and unique sound in a substantial way. Just like his fashion, which flashes everyone back to the 70’s, his music really immerses you into one of the greatest decades of music to this day. 

While having moments and undertones from classic rock groups from the late 60’s and early 70’s, Styles really does make it his own. Styles’ vulnerability with the words he sings, the unchained melodies, and multiple genres that are presented throughout each song show that he is capable of anything.

Tracks like “She” from Styles, gives a taste of The Beatles psychedelic sounds from songs like “Come Together,” “Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” Songs like “Canyon Moon” by Styles gives a splash of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi.”

His album also has some undertones of Simon and Garfunkel’s sound from their album “Bookends.” The soft voices, the happy melody with words of the opposite melody — in psychology this would be considered cognitive dissonance, but since we’re talking about music it could be lyrical dissonance- is extremely prevalent.

However, Styles isn’t doing it alone; we have his band to thank as well. Throughout the album, they effortlessly support the beautiful, heartbreaking, passionate, and uplifting lyrics in songs from “Golden” to “Lights Up”, “Falling”, and the end track “Fine Line.” 

Guitar solos from his guitarist, Mitch Rowland, and the use of live instruments show how much Styles enjoys and loves music. The amount of effort he puts in without overflowing a need to prove he’s done with a boy band, is there. 

With the 2020 Grammy’s coming up, his album is up for categories such as “Fine Line” for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, “Watermelon Sugar” for Best Pop Solo Performance, and even “Adore You” for Record of the Year and Best Music Video.

Years ago in 2017, when his self titled debut album dropped, he didn’t receive any nominations — he was snubbed. Hopefully, he wins for Album of the Year, because all 12 tracks deserve praise. 

Harry Styles doesn’t need to try, this album, “Fine Line”, proves that he is beyond talented. If you haven’t heard of it, maybe Stevie Nicks and Bon Jovi can persuade you.

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