I didn’t think I was underrating Harry before — I always looked sideways at the critics who didn’t get his old band — but I have to admit I never expected this. The persona he gives us here feels so complete and distinct, developing hints dropped on 1D album cuts into a fully realized character you want to meet in the hallway and ask for a hit of whatever he’s on. He’s strung out on the 20th-century rock canon, mainly, as you’ve all noted — madly in love with The Beatles and The Stones, ready to make some noise in a hotel room but even more stoked to get bittersweet and acoustic afterward. And while he clearly wants his solo debut to be a major statement, he’s also smart enough not to get lost in the ego traps that snare some other male pop stars on their way there. It’s the little details that make these songs work: I like how he ends the refrain of “From the Dining Table” with a half-sighed “by the way,” trying to sound casual but only making it clearer how hurt he is. And I love it when he lists “she’s got a book for every situation!” as one of his crush’s top three most alluring qualities on “Carolina.” There’s something so charming to me about how giddy he is to be hanging out with someone more well-read than he is (that’s how I hear that line, at least), and it speaks to the album’s underlying generosity.
T'challa and Bucky doting over Tony pls,,, with cheek kisses and surprise hugs and cuddling together on the couch,,,they both want Tony to sit on their lap so Tony always ends up sitting sideways so he's on both of them