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 Illustration by Madison Cohen

Although many may think of Harry Styles as just a former member of One Direction, he has become so much more than that as a solo artist. I loved One Direction, but seeing his journey as a solo artist has been incredible.

Styles released his debut self-titled album in May 2017. His first album is not what I expected from him. The first album features mostly soft rock ballads that are reminiscent of the ‘70s. Despite most of his songs being softer, Styles creates a harder rock style with “Only Angel” and “Kiwi.”

After his success on his first album, Styles toured throughout 2017 and 2018. Styles did not release any music until Oct. 11 when he released his single “Lights Up" with a music video to complement it.

“Lights up and they know who you are / Know who you are / Do you know who you are.”

Identity is a main theme of this song. Styles’ identity has been speculated by his fans since his last tour. On his world tour in 2018, Styles performed an unreleased song titled “Medicine” that fans thought was his declaration as a bisexual. Styles has never confirmed his sexuality, but many fans still believe that singing “Medicine” was his way of announcing his sexuality.

Styles revealed his sophomore album, “Fine Line,” on Nov. 4. He began promotion for his second album by hosting and performing on "Saturday Night Live" on Nov. 16. On that night, Styles released his second single “Watermelon Sugar.” This single begins with Styles’ strong vocals with a soft guitar riff playing in the background. Although the song starts off soft and slow, the beat kicks in with brass instruments. The second single feels like a summer day with Styles singing, “Strawberries on a summer evening / Baby, you’re the end of June.”

Styles’ final single, “Adore You,” was released on Dec. 6 and the single also featured a music video. This song describes the feelings of a new love. Styles creates a groovy ‘70s beat in this song with the drums and catchy guitar riff.

Styles’ album begins with another romantic track titled “Golden.” In this opening song, Styles sings about the feelings that come with being in a new relationship. “Golden” describes how people can be afraid of what a relationship has to offer, but also the excitement of being in a relationship with someone.

The album slows down with tracks “Cherry” and “Falling.” In these tracks Styles sings about the insecurities he felt after going through a breakup. In “Cherry,” Styles includes a voicemail from ex-girlfriend Camille Rowe at the end of the song. Styles sings about how he had not moved on from their relationship, but she had.

“Don’t you call him 'baby' / We’re not talking lately / Don't you call him what you used to call me,” Styles sings.

Track 8 is titled “She” and creates a vision of a woman in Styles’ imagination. This song is similar to “Woman” from his previous album. Towards the end of both songs, Mitch Rowland, electric guitarist for Styles' band, dominates with guitar solos. Both tracks are slow, but also create a dreamy feeling for the listener.

As a longtime One Direction fan, I am proud to see where Styles has gone with his career. I love his first album, but Styles showed where he really wants to go as a solo artist in "Fine Line." In the first album, it seemed like he was still trying to figure out his music on his own. Now with the second album, Styles seems like he is opening up more with his music. The album is emotional, but the emotions Styles sings about are ones people can resonate with.