Follow TV Tropes


Music / Harry Styles

Go To

"Pink is the only true rock & roll colour."
— Styles, quoting Paul Simonon

Harry Edward Styles (born 1 February 1994) is an English singer-songwriter and actor, known for being a founding member of the British boy band One Direction and for the massive success of his subsequent solo career.

Styles joined One Direction at their inception on The X Factor in 2010. Upon the group going on an official hiatus in 2016, Styles began working on solo material, and became the second member of the group to release an album (after former bandmate Zayn Malik) with his 2017 self-titled debut, which charted at #1 in his native United Kingdom as well as the United States.

Styles' second album, Fine Line, was said to be more psychedelically flavored than his debut (he admitted to being under the influence of psychedelic mushrooms during its recording). The album debuted atop the US Billboard 200, achieving the highest-ever first-week sales by an English male artist. It was also the most recent album included in the 2020 update of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (having only been out for around nine months), taking the #491 spot. His third album, Harry's House, was another success, spawning the hit lead single "As It Was", which Billboard reported was the #1 song of the year globally, and winning three Grammys, including the 2023 Grammy for Album of the Year.

He is known for his flamboyant fashion sense, particularly his adoption of women's clothing. His music and image have drawn comparisons to that of Mick Jagger, whom he would end up impersonating on an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2017.

Styles made his acting debut in Christopher Nolan's 2017 WWII epic Dunkirk, where he plays an English soldier fighting at the titular locale's infamous battle. He reportedly beat out hundreds of actors who auditioned for the role, and Nolan has claimed he had no idea who Styles was, and that he got the role purely on the strength of his audition. Further film roles from him have included Eros/Starfox in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a co-leading role in Olivia Wilde's Don't Worry Darling.

Solo Discography:

Selected filmography:

As himself:

  • The X Factor (2010)
  • iCarly (2012)
  • One Direction: This Is Us (2013)
  • Where We Are The Concert Film (2014)

As actor:

Walk through fire for you, just let me trope you:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: The first verse of "Falling" implies the narrator sees other people when separated from his love interest.
    I'm in my bed and you're not here
    And there's no one to blame but the drink in my wandering hands
  • Descent into Addiction: "Grapejuice" alludes to alcohol dependency. The narrator goes to buy flowers for his partner, but buys a bottle of wine for himself instead and muses on how the consequences of drinking become more severe as he ages.
    I pay for it more than I did back then
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: "Keep Driving" contains the infamous line "choke her with a sea view", which could be literal or figurative.
  • Genre Shift: His first album is by far his rockiest with strong 70s influences. He shifted away from that on his subsequent two albums towards a poppier sound with more mainstream singles like "Watermelon Sugar".
  • Large Ham: In the song "Kiwi": "I'M HAVING YOUR BABY IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS".
  • Location Song: Based on what he has said, "Love of my Life" is about and a personification of England, dressed up as a Love Nostalgia Song.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Ocassionally in his One Direction days but really turned up to eleven in his solo career with numerous shirtless appearances in his music videos ("Lights Up" has him shirtless oiled up and being fondled by both men and women, "Golden" has him running around with an open shirt and "As It Was" features him stripping down to just his underwear for some parts of the video), many photoshoots, concert performances and he even went nude in My Policeman.
  • Music Is Politics: In the "Music for a Sushi Restaurant" music video, Harry is depicted as a bearded merman brought to a sushi restaurant where he bargains for his life by performing. It works, and he is pampered and made a spectacle... until he is killed for making a mistake. This appears to be a surrealist metaphor for the music industry, how people only care about you as long as they can objectify and commodify you, and how quickly they can change their mind and discard you for the next product.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Neither "From the Dining Table" nor "Kiwi" feature the title in their lyrics.
  • Oop North: He grew up in Cheshire, although he was dubbed the posh one in 1D (the accuracy of this descriptor is debated, but it was probably just meant in comparison to the others). Moreover, his accent has become Americanised over the years, to the point where newer fans get surprised when they stumble across older videos of him speaking.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Many of his lyrics express how a tendency to avoid communication, especially difficult conversations on his part can cause problems.
    Sign of the Times: We don't talk enough
    We should open up before it's all too much
  • Self-Titled Album: His debut release is one of these.
  • Shout-Out: According to Styles, Harry's House was titled after Haruomi Hosono's debut album, Hosono House, which he frequently listened to during a trip to Japan. Of note is that Hosono's international releases occasionally credited him as Harry Hosono.
  • Singer Namedrop: In "As it was".
    Answer the phone: "Harry, you're no good alone. Why are you sitting at home on the floor? What kind of pills are you on?"
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: After the teeny bop 1D days, nobody expected solo debut "Sign of the Times" to be a somber, Bowie-esque ballad sung from a dying person's view. Also an Establishing Series Moment.
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: The video to "Falling," where his parlor slowly fills up with water, contains several shots of Styles floating, singing under the water. He's wearing a frilly white blouse with a long train, clearly chosen to look good suspended around him. The song's lyrics describe slowly but inexorably becoming someone he doesn't want to be—a process, like the water flowing from his piano, which he fears but is powerless against.
    What am I now?
    What if I'm someone I don't want around?
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Woman"
    Woman, la la la la la la la la
  • "When I'm Gone" Song: Apparently, "Sign of the Times", since it's supposedly from the perspective of a mother talking to her newborn with only five minutes left to live.
  • The Unapologetic: "To Be So Lonely" is quite a self-deprecating song in which the narrator describes himself as an "arrogant son of a bitch who can't admit when he's sorry".

♫ In this world, it's just us
You know it's not the same as it was
In this world, it's just us
You know it's not the same as it was
As it was, as it was
You know it's not the same... ♫