Harry Styles
Harry Styles
Columbia

Harry Styles is only 23 years old. That’s right, 23. With the massive success of plastic pop monkeys One Direction (Styles was one of the fresh-faced, all-dancing, all-singing puppets, in case you weren’t aware), it feels as if the boy from Cheshire must have been thrust into the limelight as a well-coiffeured embryo. This self-titled solo debut is the next step in the freshly shorn singer’s evolution, his first stab at artistic maturity. And just like every single member of every single mega-successful boy band who has gone it alone, the album screams: “As much as you loved me before, this is who I really am.” But does Styles really know who he is at such a tender age? On the evidence of Harry Styles he’s, unsurprisingly, a lad who is still finding his feet. It starts off strong, the acoustic dreaminess of Meet Me in the Hallway and the tender six-minute Sign of the Times showcasing the singer’s strong voice without falling into cliché. After that, it becomes just a pick ’n’ mix karaoke selection of love songs influenced by the Rolling Stones and Elton John.