A Breakdown Of The Tracklist On Harry Styles’ New Album, Fine Line
Oh, he spoils us, doesn’t he? Good ol’ Harry Styles, his dimples all, well, dimpled, as he no doubt watches the furore of his fans reacting to his every move with glee. His latest move, however, is his biggest in a while and that is the announcement of his second solo album, Fine Line. Yes, we have a title and a cover and a release date. Make a note in the diary: 13 December is now Harry Styles Day, the perfect antidote to the general election hangover we’ll no doubt be suffering as we stream Fine Line on our commutes.
Alongside two tracks from the album already being out in the open, we’ve also been blessed with the tracklisting for Styles’ sophomore album. We only have names, but here’s what we can divine from the names so far:
It’s hard not to think of Kacey Musgraves’ grammy-winning album Golden Hour with this title, especially as the two have performed together (and were arguably the two standouts from his year’s Met Gala). Might we be getting some melodic country melancholia for track one? A gentle intro to an album of vibier rock?
We’ve already heard this summery bop: three minutes of brass, guitars and fleshy lust. When it’s as balls-to-the-wall as this track is, you have to imagine “Golden” will be a lead-up and that whatever follows will have to be a little gentler.
Coming between Styles’ two lead singles, “Adore You” is the kind of vague, romantic song title that could mean a sensual ballad (think Ray Davies meets Miguel) or a big upbeat number. Bets are on the former, considering what it’s sandwiched between.
Harry Styles’ baptism of flesh, with a video that looks like a Tottenham warehouse rave at 5am on a Sunday, is mellower than “Watermelon Sugar” but still balances its sexuality with summery acoustic guitar and enough pace to mean it’ll probably soundtrack a break-up on the winter Love Island. If this isn’t the apex of the first act of the album, you have to wonder why it was the lead single.
The second fruity song on the album (and the latest in a long line for Styles), “Cherry” isn’t exactly an underexplored fruit analogy for music. This could be something very vibe-y and sexy, or it could be a more subtle denouement as it begins the post-singles section of the album.
Hard to imagine a song called “Falling” being anything but ballad-esque. It might be a heavy one, or a light one, but all bets are on this being a slower number. Or an Alicia Keys cover. It’s all to play for.
To Be So Lonely
Not a very up-tempo song name either, but with more potential to be a sad banger than a song entitled “Falling”. Who’s to say?
At this stage, it’s a 50/50 gamble as to whether this is a brand-new song about an ambiguous lady lover (frequent and fertile territory for Styles) or an Elvis Costello cover. Neither leaves us mad.
Sunflower, Vol. 6
If you thought “Watermelon Sugar” – a song name that draws from a psychedelic Sixties novel about math-adept Tigers and the apocalypse – was a weird song name, then Styles has some fun facts for you. Enter “Sunflower, Vol. 6”: how is it possible to have a volume of flora? Is this a reference to tomes of oshibana, the Japanese art of drying and pressing flowers onto paper? What happened in Volumes 1-5? Will we receive a precis? Is “Sunflower” a person or is it literally just... a sunflower?
Very Joni Mitchell. I’m hoping for something ambient and gothic and beautiful and melancholic. All words that don’t seem outside the Styles wheelhouse. Give us Hejira or give us death.
Treat People With Kindness
Either a SpongeBob SquarePants-style anthem for empathy, aimed at children, or a title that will not appear for a single second within the lyrics of the song. Cannot imagine how that many syllables will fit into an ambient rock song’s chorus. But if anybody should try, it’s probably Harry Styles.
Title track at the end! We love to see it. Like an actor finishing a play with the name of the piece. Isn’t it satisfying? “Fine Line” feels like it’s either going to be the kind of sexy admonishment we associate with Prince or the kind of deep feels you might expect from Savage Garden or The Smashing Pumpkins. This is purely conjecture, we can prove absolutely nothing, but wouldn’t it be fun if we were somehow right?
More about Fine Line
Announced on his Instagram account, the album reveal comes less than a month after Styles released his first single from the project, "Lights Up". A psychedelic, laid-back track that was accompanied by a particularly stylish music video, it was the first new music we've heard from him since he released his debut album two years ago and it's safe to say that we're impressed. If the rest of Fine Line sounds anything at all like "Lights Up", then we're all in for a treat come December.
Details about the album are currently quite sparse, but we do know that Styles wrote a lot of the album while high on magic mushrooms and that the cover has been shot by Tim Walker, whose V&A exhibition Styles was spotted at in October. A surreal, pastel, fish-eye photograph of Styles wearing a psychedelic Gucci dandy look (we're into it, by the way), the shot has all the hallmarks of Walker's work and ties in perfectly with the aesthetic of the "Lights Up" music video. Pairing ivory wide-leg trousers with a fuchsia shirt, once again Styles has added matching braces to his outfit, which is finished off by the addition of black patent boots.
Now that we've decoded his look, all that's left to do now is wait for the big drop. If you're particularly eager, you can head to Harry Styles' official store now to preorder the CD, vinyl or a special-edition album, which comes with a 32-page book documenting the recording process. And, believe it or not, that's not all: Styles is also going to be doing a one-off gig in LA to mark the release of the album on 13 December, so if you know you're going to be in town, then we suggest you preorder the album to get access to special pre-sale tickets immediately. We've got the day marked in our diaries – have you?