With today’s release of his debut solo single, the beloved singer is a testament to the fact that rushing greatness rarely works in one’s favor and that sometimes taking a break to restore one’s creative energy is a more fitting decision before diving in headfirst again.
As his new single proves to be well worth the wait for his fans, many are weighing in that when the singer is left to his own devices musically, he skews in a direction that is all too reminiscent of David Bowie - and in the best way possible. A stark contrast to the work he collaborated on with the pop sensation that helped him begin carving his legacy, Styles’ solo material is as majestic as it as captivating.
The song opens with the singer’s impassioned voice softly joined by an effortlessly sound piano melody and as the song unfolds, the moment captured is not rushed whatsoever but rather is developed gradually; a nod to Styles’ beginning to hone his songwriting skills in a new way. With the track almost reaching the six-minute mark, Styles depicts a somber scene, full of cryptically vague lyrics and an urgency to take action, as he sings a compelling argument that the end is near.
While the song’s design allows listeners to interpret the meaning as they wish, Styles revealed during an appearance on BBC Radio 1 that this is the song he’s the most proud of writing thus far. Considering the weight of it all, it’s clear “Sign of the Times” was pulled out of the very depths of Styles’ brilliant mind, expertly crafting a song that sets the bar extremely high for his forthcoming debut masterpiece.
Spotify Editors’ Picks for New Music Friday - Billboard
Not a request, but just something that had been floating around in my head for a few days.
PETE DUNNE X READER + FRIENDSHIP WITH TRENT SEVEN AND TYLER BATE.
You’re best friends with British Strong Style (Trent Seven, Tyler Bates, and Pete Dunne). You met on the UK independent scene years ago, you all had similar in-ring styles, you were even known as the Bitch of Strong Style (which you secretly loved) and now the four of you are now signed to NXT. The only downside? You now have to work for your father, William Regal. Things get a little difficult between you and your father and you’re surprised by which of your friends sticks up for you… and why.
Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol at the Factory in New York City, 1965
Bob Dylan was brought to Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory by Barbara Rubin, a filmmaker and a mutual acquaintance of Dylan and Warhol’s, to be the subject of one of Warhol’s screen tests, which were two-minute silent movie portraits starring Factory regulars and celebrities.
Andy Warhol: “I liked Dylan, the way he created a brilliant new style… I even gave him one of my silver Elvis paintings in the days when he was first around. Later on, though, I got paranoid when I heard rumors that he had used the Elvis as a dart board up in the country. When I’d ask, ‘Why did he do that?’ I’d invariably get hearsay answers like ‘I hear he feels you destroyed Edie [Sedgwick],’ or ‘Listen to Like a Rolling Stone — I think you’re the ‘diplomat on the chrome horse, man.’ I didn’t know exactly what they meant by that — I never listened much to the words of songs — but I got the tenor of what people were saying — that Dylan didn’t like me, that he blamed me for Edie’s drugs.”
loves it when they do this, when they find comfort in each other like
this, so close, soft and sweet. They have never really talked about it
beyond “Oh so that’s a thing we do now” all those years ago, but it’s
also something they have silently agreed not to share with their
friends. This is just for them, just like the way they sometimes fall
asleep in each other’s beds, pressed closed under the covers, or how
they love to cook each other dinner and light candles all over the flat.
They have lived together since they were teenagers and over the years
they have settled into each other in ways that the other boys just
The romantic platonic friends to lovers AU where they are forced to speak about everything that has always been unspoken.
“It’s the oldest story in the universe, this one or any other. Girl and girl fall in love, get separated by events. War, politics, accidents in time. She’s thrown out of the hex, or she’s thrown into it. Since then, they’ve been yearning for each other across time and space, across dimensions.
This isn’t a ghost story, it’s a love story!”
The fundamental misunderstanding of the state in which Heather exists in after she becomes ‘the pilot’ is what drives the conflict in this episode, but it’s made abundantly clear that she is not dead.
When they meet in the park outside the Doctor’s study, Bill, seeing her in this new form, mutters “you’re dead!”, which is repeated back to her by Heather’s mimicry - the clear intention here (supported by Lawrence Gough’s brilliant directing style) being to establish the misunderstanding of her being ‘the monster’ while playing it off as a ‘horror’ moment. But, in classic Moffat fashion, the entire point of this episode is to subvert that idea.
I really have to praise Stephanie Hyam’s performance here because it’s key to understanding that Heather’s pursuit of Bill across time and space was something that she was directing. Notice how much emotion appears on Heather’s face whenever she catches up to Bill - she looks extremely sad when she appears in the Doctor’s study (see the fourth image above) and Bill gets in the TARDIS because that’s exactly why she’s here… to fulfill her promise to Bill that she won’t leave without her.
She appears positively elated to see Bill when they travel several million years into the future and cross to the other side of the universe, as her face emerges out of the water. There’s multiple occasions where Bill has a flashback to their time together earlier in the episode and we’re meant to think that it’s her remembering the girl that was before she became this creature, playing to a rather typical trope in how horror films are directed. But it’s actually establishing the opposite, as Bill slowly pieces together the reason why this is happening and realises that this has been Heather all along.
Perhaps the most obvious clue is given to us in how Heather assumes the form of a Dalek that’s trying to kill the Doctor. A Dalek! The Doctor wonders why she didn’t fire on them. She had a gun, after all - “the deadliest fire in the universe”, a Dalek’s weapon.
But she doesn’t use it…
Face-to-face, at last, she affirms her feelings towards Bill when she’s told “I really liked you”. Hyam’s performance here is just brilliant because she’s obviously having to mimic what Bill says, but you can distinctly hear the tone of sadness in her voice as she says the line back to her because this is where they part ways.
And she extends another offer to Bill, showing her what she’s become - how she sees the universe differently now, and all of time and space. And Bill is enraptured with it, but releases Heather from her promise because she’s (naturally) scared. Things still aren’t totally clear: she doesn’t know or understand what she’ll become if she accepts this offer because Heather isn’t totally human any more, but, as we’ve seen time and time again throughout the episode, right up to this moment, she’s still Heather.
The end of The Pilot has two rather important moments regarding the episode’s narrative arc with Heather. Back in the Doctor’s study, Bill asks if she’ll ever see Heather again, to which the Doctor rather cynically responds “I don’t see how”.
But, after Bill calls him out on the mind wipe situation and he’s reminded of Clara - who he’s very clearly still yearning to find - he shows up outside the university in the TARDIS and tells Bill:
“It’s a big universe. Perhaps, one day, we’ll find her…”
I can’t for the life of me find the quote, but, some months ago, Moffat said that there’s a very particular story they have in-mind to tell with Bill. I definitely don’t want Pearl to leave after one series, but it seems like a distinct possibility with the handover to Chibnall ushering in the next era of the show…
As such, I can sort of see how Bill’s story could potentially end if she’s only going to be in Series 10 and won’t carry over into the Chibnall era.
Similar to how Clara and Ashildr ended up with their own TARDIS and went off together to travel in time and space, Heather has her own time travel capabilities and Bill is clearly hoping that, in travelling with the Doctor, they will find each other again.
Naturally, that sets the stage nicely for Bill to continue travelling after her time as the companion is done with her new cosmic girlfriend.