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Dear One Direction fans aka Directioners,
I was one of those people who didn’t get it: the hoards of screaming, crying girls. The insatiable need to consume anything that contained the words “One” and “Direction.” The incessant tweets, Instagram posts, and Tumblr pages dedicated to song lyrics, band members’ tattoos, or Larry Stylinson. The visceral and unrelenting mourning of Zayn’s departure.
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But, just like the song says, “Does it ever drive you crazy just how fast the night changes?” Actually, that doesn’t really fit with what I wanted to convey, but I just needed a 1D lyric with the word “change.”
Because I get it now. I get why you loved this band made up of boys who looked like they were H&M sales associates. So, what brought me to the light?
Harry Styles and his solo venture.
He’s not the first to break free: first there was Zayn and his declaration to the world that he likes to go in different directions under the sheets, and then came Niall with a song that will most likely play during a slideshow at a wedding reception. And the other two guys? They’re still making music and making babies.
But last week, Harry threw his black velvet fedora into the ring with the release of “Sign of the Times” from his upcoming album.
Goodbye over manufactured pop songs about what makes a girl beautiful or dancing all night to the best song ever. Hello lyrics that you almost expect to hear, “Ground control to Major Tom” if you played it backwards.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I really, really like this song. Of course, ask me in a month after XM radio plays it every ten minutes on six different stations, and I may change my answer. But for right now, I’m declaring myself a Stylist.
Is that what his fans call themselves?
Truth be told, when I first heard this song on the radio, I didn’t know it was Harry Styles. By the second verse, I was hooked and ready to scour the internet for this unknown singer’s obscure EPs and independent bootlegs. So, I was a little more than shocked to hear the DJ say his name.
But let me take a moment to give Harry a teen movie slow clap. He could have continue on the boy band path of auto-tuned pop songs, singing about either falling in love, being in love, or losing love. But he took a risk and it paid off. Just check out some of the comments from the most harsh critics – YouTube viewers:
“As a music fan raised on classic rock, I must confess: this is genuinely good.”
“Harry, dude. You have some serious soul.”
“Oh fuck me. I’ve underestimated him.”
You know who never underestimated him? These people:
After downloading the song and deep diving into the lyrics like the nerd I am, I was convinced that this was his “Dear John” letter to One Direction or telling Taylor Swift to get over their three month relationship:
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
And then Rolling Stone blew the whistle on those theories.
In an interview with director and RS contributor Cameron Crowe, the singer revealed the real meaning behind the song. Get ready to cry like a teenage girl with 1D front row concert seats:
“’Sign of the Times’ came from ‘This isn’t the first time we’ve been in a hard time, and it’s not going to be the last time.’ The song is written from a point of view as if a mother was giving birth to a child and there’s a complication. The mother is told, ‘The child is fine, but you’re not going to make it.’ The mother has five minutes to tell the child, ‘Go forth and conquer.’”
All. The. Feels.
But he doesn’t stop there. Although his music is a departure from the usual sound one expects from a One Direction member, his appreciation and respect for those fans – especially young women – who made him a success still stands firm:
“Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans – they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.“
You know who’s also there, Harry? We are.
A few weeks ago, SNL announced that Jimmy Fallon would once again be the host where it all began for him at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Of course, some expected that the musical guest would be his hetero life mate, Justin Timberlake.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) March 28, 2017
If you’ve seen One Direction on SNL you know that along with their two song performances, the band made a “surprise” appearance in at least one skit, usually about a girl (or Paul Rudd) flipping her prepubescent shit over them:
Last week’s SNL was no exception. Whether it was in the opening monologue -an epic choreographed karaoke performance of the late and great David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” – or as a captured confederate soldier who could drop a fat beat, it was clear that Harry Styles was performing double duty.
But in the Family Feud skit, he proved that he could hold his own with his impersonation of 1977’s Mick Jagger, complete with literal “Moves Like Jagger” and refusal to pronounce the “h” at the beginning of words.
This skit is life for me. First, there’s Jimmy Fallon impersonating not one but two John Travoltas – the goofy and dimwitted Welcome Back, Kotter Travolta and the robot that only David Miscavige could mastermind. Then Kate McKinnon proved she practically owns SNL with her reenactment of a fidgeting and awkward AF Kristen Stewart. So while Harry’s Mick Jagger didn’t steal the skit, he definitely was not a wee little wallflower.
Plus we’ve been blessed with this GIF. #MankyPanky
Along with “Sign of the Times,” he performed “Ever Since New York,” a song some believe is about his relationship with Taylor Swift. If that’s true, Ed Sheeran is somewhere in London, kicking his own ass for not writing it about whoever dumped him.
Kuddos, Harry Styles. Make that ginger sweat.