This is one of the more ambitious opening statements in pop this decade, an ostentatious and essentially verse-less stab at something both immediate and timeless. My colleague Andrew Unterberger already broke down everything that ‘Sign of the Times’ is — defiantly rock, proudly bombastic and impossibly British included. One thing that it isn’t, though, is undercooked, which is perhaps its most important trait of all.
'Sign of the Times’ is: resolute, determined, wholly committed to its messaging and sound, radio trends be damned. Although it wears its influences on its sleeve (RIP, David Bowie), nothing about this single bends toward someone else’s expectations. 'Sign of the Times’ sounds effortless, but to arrive without any incomplete features is an accomplishment in a music industry where pop artists are expected to produce new music at an unsustainable rate and buckle at least in part to what everyone else is doing (while still remaining original, of course). Throw in the fact that Styles was a huge name before releasing a shred of solo music, and the patience and attention to detail of 'Sign of the Times’ is a pretty remarkable feat.
Will 'Sign of the Times’ be a hit? Who knows, but that’s sort of beside the point. Styles has dropped a bonafide piece of art that took months to complete, and did so on his own terms. It’s a subtle win for him, and for his audience. Harry took his time, and got it right.
Harry Styles’ ‘Sign of the Times’ & The Virtue of Patience - Billboard
Well, if Taylor Swift ever wants to make the half-decade-earlier prequel to 1989, she knows who she can call for her backing band. Computer Games’ hard-earned mid-‘80s bonafides are established with the first saxophone hit in the chorus, but like all truly great pop throwbacks, by song’s end you’re not transported back in time, but rather ahead, to a beautiful future where you’re hearing this song blare out of top 40-tuned radios E! V'RY! SIN! GLE! NIGHT! – ANDREW UNTERBERGER
It wasn't even intentional revenge but it still made me feel satisfied and petty.
In my geometry classroom we have a semi-independent ac and heating unit. It gets air from the school but the distribution can be altered. High, low etc. I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt and hoodie so I’m comfortable but the girl sitting next to me , Alya, complains about being cold. Me, feeling like the all knowledgeable fucker I am knew how to reduce the air before the block starts so I lift the panel on the counter beside me, it looks all secret but really you just need to stick a pencil in to lift the panel. I do, and being as dramatic as I am, turn it from high(comfortable for 99%) to completely off.
Now my class is made up mostly of those snobby preps and jocks, and kudos to them cause this is a college prep course, but they complain all the god damn time, about every little thing.
Importantly we had a chapter quiz as soon as class began so now the a.c. is off and the room is silent. The thing about our AC unit is when its off it makes really subtle rattling noises so 5 mins in a girl, we’ll call her Chloe, starts adamantly complaining (during the quiz) about the noise. Our teacher unterberg of course knows why its making the noise but for some reason doesn’t know how to turn it back on so she tells Chloe to ignore it.
After the quiz is over we go in break, 5 minutes in the hall for drinks and bathroom stuff. Me and Alya stay in the room but when they come back Chloe and like 7 other kids start complaining about the temp. Its early march and we’re due for snow but ofc they’re all wearing Tees and shorts but now the room is heating up and these lucky fuckers can be warm in this weather but they still complain. Before we start notes Unterberg fucking calls maintenance because she doesn’t know how to work the AC in the room she’s used for 5+ years but whatever. For the rest of class Alya and I are sitting all smug in our hoodies as everyone starts complaining about it.
As a more alternative chick the only reason this was revenge was because the kids in my class were really grating. They would ask stupid questions about what I was drawing (Ex. “Is that an atomic bomb?” to which they would receive a “no, its pigmented water arranged on a page and then evaporated to look like a NUCLEAR bomb”) It was great to see them all bothered by something so minor. And the whole quiz and class time Alya and I were smirking at each other and trying not to laugh because this was great.
TL;DR I got unintentional revenge on my classmates by turning off the AC and my teacher couldn’t figure out how to turn it back on.
“Fans waited for over a year to get a solo single from the One Direction leader — and the wait was worth it.
It never made sense for Harry Styles’ debut solo single to be released in April 2017.
Not because there’s anything wrong with this particular month — it’s just been a surprisingly long time coming. It’s been over two years since Zayn Malik pursued a solo career and made One Direction no longer whole. It’s been nearly 17 months since 1D released its final album, Made In The A.M., before parting ways for an indefinite hiatus. And it’s been much longer than either of those time periods since Styles established himself as a potential superstar residing within the boy band structure, ready to pounce upon pop culture once he deigned that it was time to go solo.
How long have we known that Harry Edward Styles had the voice, stage presence and charisma to become a star? Haven’t we waited a half-decade – since first seeing that mop of hair and the smile underneath– for this moment to arrive?
With “Sign of the Times,” Styles more or less explains the reason for the wait. This is one of the more ambitious opening statements in pop this decade, an ostentatious and essentially verse-less stab at something both immediate and timeless. My colleague Andrew Unterberger already broke down everything that “Sign of the Times” is — defiantly rock, proudly bombastic and impossibly British included. One thing that it isn’t, though, is undercooked, which is perhaps its most important trait of all.
Imagine for a second that you are Harry Styles, and that it is the end of 2015. One Direction has just released its fifth album (and first since becoming a quartet), and will not tour behind it. Your former group-mate Zayn has teased an insanely anticipated solo debut after leaving One Direction that March. Your fellow members have each expressed interest in striking out with solo projects, yet you know that the focus is squarely on your next move, as the 1D member with (arguably, but sorta obviously) the highest profile and most name recognition. You have just spent five years in the biggest pop group of the 2010s, and the world is starving for your next step.
Imagine how many offers Styles must have turned down to perform, collaborate and hurry his solo career into existence. Imagine the discipline it must have taken to wait this long to drop a finished first single, without teasing any new music to the several million Directioners anxiously awaiting your arrival and constantly messaging you about it on social media. At the time of One Direction’s final album release, Styles was 21 years old, and could have jumped the gun on becoming a rock star with the support of most labels or managers. To wait until this moment to get this right, Styles had to be uncompromising.
Harry Styles Will Perform a Second New Song on ‘Saturday Night Live’ And that’s what “Sign of the Times” is: resolute, determined, wholly committed to its messaging and sound, radio trends be damned. Although it wears its influences on its sleeve (RIP, David Bowie), nothing about this single bends toward someone else’s expectations. “Sign of the Times” sounds effortless, but to arrive without any incomplete features is an accomplishment in a music industry where pop artists are expected to produce new music at an unsustainable rate and buckle at least in part to what everyone else is doing (while still remaining original, of course). Throw in the fact that Styles was a huge name before releasing a shred of solo music, and the patience and attention to detail of “Sign of the Times” is a pretty remarkable feat.
Will “Sign of the Times” be a hit? Who knows, but that’s sort of beside the point. Styles has dropped a bonafide piece of art that took months to complete, and did so on his own terms. It’s a subtle win for him, and for his audience. Harry took his time, and got it right.”
In the months leading up to the 59th Grammy Awards this January, Billboard will be featuring Grammy Watch, a weekly column looking at the artists, music and trends likely to be featured heavily at this year’s ceremonies. This week: Andrew Unterberger looks at which country artists might feature in the general categories this year, and whether one particularly popular song will tower over the rest of the genre on music’s biggest night. […]
Little Big Town. The last country song to make it to the Song of the Year category was Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” in 2016 – not a “Body”-sized crossover hit, but one big enough to make the top 20 on the Hot 100, and one whose doo-wop-throwback melodies made it familiar-sounding even to country-wary voters. LBT have an eligible single that could contend on similar terms in 2018, with the Taylor Swift-penned “Better Man”; it’s also a top 40 hit and country No. 1 with at least a toe or two in the pop world. “It was written by Taylor, so that’s a familiar name in the Grammy space,” Foster points out. “It could be a contender, absolutely.” […]
“Pillowtalk” bowed with such a thunderous debut – the much-hyped first solo single released by the first solo-1Der, it topped the Hot 100 in its first frame – and the momentum from that proved so unsustainable for Zayn’s first LP cycle, that the song may have actually become somewhat underrated in retrospect. The thing was as exultant as anything we’ve heard on pop radio this decade, a visceral bedroom ballad whose brilliant, wait-for-it chorus was far more paradise than war zone, life-affirming in ways that precious few carnal anthems since Marvin Gaye’s heyday have even attempted to be.