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Sign of the Times: Harry Styles’ return to music

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Sign of the Times: Harry Styles’ return to music

Lia Mavraganis, Copy Editor

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The lyrics, title, and cover art in “Sign of the Times” indicate that we live in a world of sadness.

“Sign of the Times” is Harry Styles’ first single as a solo artist following the mournful split of One Direction in January 2016. In this piece, Styles seems to use the end of the world as the metaphor for the end of a relationship.

This is a completely different style of music for the former One Direction heartthrob, whose songs were typically about having fun and chasing the girl of his dreams.

This song aligns much more with Seventies-inspired pop-rock. It is long and pompous, and his fans are going to love all five minutes and 42 seconds of it.

Fans were stunned when they noticed a mysterious human figure laying face down in the water in this cover art.

“Just stop your crying

It’s a sign of the times

Welcome to the final show

Hope you’re wearing your best clothes

You can’t bribe the door on your way to the sky

You look pretty good down here

But you ain’t really good”

It’s quite ironic how Harry Styles uses the words “Just stop your crying” when in reality, he is well aware that majority of his fans are already in tears by now.

The saying, “Sign of the Times,” is only four words, but it captures way deeper meaning. The lyrics are talking about how subduing feelings in public, only to break down when alone, is a sign of the times we live in—a time when people feel more comfortable with happy appearances of those around them than with the real, at times damaged, versions inside.

With the references to “final show” and “door on your way to the sky,” one could argue that this song is about death. Perhaps the door on the way to the sky is the gateway to heaven, and even though the subject looks good on earth, she can’t bribe her way to heaven when she dies.

Harry Styles knew for 17 months that his first single was highly anticipated by his adoring fans. With this knowledge, he decided that instead of releasing an annoyingly catchy song, he would make his first ever single sentimental and full of meaning.

“Just stop crying

Have the time of your life

Breaking through the atmosphere

And things are pretty good from here

Remember everything will be alright

We can meet again somewhere

Somewhere far away from here”

Listeners get the impression that based on this verse, Harry Styles is looking down on someone he loves from heaven. His lyrics, although sad, are very reassuring in the way of promising that even though the end is near, we will all be reunited once again. The end of the song includes a choir in the background, which is a graceful addition to his heavenly theme.

Harry Styles’ rarely updated Instagram has established him as a fan of people like Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie, not exactly touchstones for One Direction’s sound. His solo career has finally allowed him to create his own poetic masterpiece.

One of Styles’ influences is the musical legend David Bowie.

Being a fan of One Direction since the beginning of their stardom, it is a cool experience to watch how Harry Styles has matured in his voice and his interests. Because Styles incorporated many small, yet very significant elements to this masterpiece, I give his new hit single five stars.

“Sign of the Times” isn’t the most exciting song, but it’s truly beautiful, and his raspy voice is perfect for this passionate, plaintive melody.

Very recently posted, this is Harry Styles’ track-list for his new anticipated album.

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Sign of the Times: Harry Styles’ return to music