At this point, we’ve had the pleasure of hearing solo material from almost all of the members of One Direction. It’s been a journey…
First up was Zayn Malik with his #1 smash “PILLOWTALK” and his underrated debut solo studio album Mind of Mine, then there was Niall Horan with his Ed Sheeran-like guitar-pop ballad “This Town,” followed by Louis Tomlinson‘s foray into EDM with Steve Aoki on “Just Hold On,” which debuted at #2 on the UK Singles Chart, and peaked to #52 on the U.S Billboard Hot 100, making it Aoki’s highest-charting song in both countries.
With Liam Payne‘s solo project expected to be launched in June, there’s only one member left: Harry Styles, who has hinted at taking the more “serious artist” route for some time now, signing with Columbia Records and penning tracks for the likes of Ariana Grande, Gavin DeGraw, Alex & Sierra and most recently Michael Bublé.
Our first taste of solo music Harry comes in the form of lead single “Sign of the Times,” written and produced alongside Tyler Johnson, Alex Salibian (Mikky Ekko, Beck, and The Band Perry) and Jeff Bhasker (Jay-Z, Kanye West, fun., Mark Ronson, etc…).
“Sign of the Times” is the big dramatic, ’70’s-like rock ballad that always has been hinted at in One Direction‘s later work (“Infinity,” “Spaces“), though never fully realized until now – it’s very much Harry‘s style (see what I did there!). “Just stop your crying/ It’s a sign of the times/ We gotta get away from here/ We gotta get away from here,” he croons on the epic-sounding hook. “Just stop your crying/ Baby it will be alright/ They told me that the end is near/ We gotta get away from here.”
“Sign of the Times” is basically the result of Harry‘s appreciation for the arena-rock legends and glam legends of yore (David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Prince, etc.) that avoids imitation and plays like a stadium torch ballad. It may not be in tune with today’s top 40 roaster, but it is the most aurally adventurous (and surely the most personal) we’ve heard from the 1D crew.
Harry is slated to perform “Sign of the Times” for the very first time on Saturday Night Live next week on April 15! What do you guys think?