Music Moment: Harry Styles (Pt. II)

Music Moment: Harry Styles (Pt. II)

In June 2017, I reviewed Harry Styles’ self-titled debut album. And while anyone who knows me knows that I am slightly obsessed with him, I tried to write as unbiased as possible (but hey, this is my personal blog. Let me live a little).

And yesterday, Friday the 13th, Styles released his sophomore album. Fine Line. So, here we go again. Let me preface this review by saying: I am a tried and true Harry Styles fan. So obviously I’m not going to hate the album.


What year is it? Style’s latest album reflects Bowie, Elton John, Pink Floyd and more.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Styles admits that much of his inspiration came from “the greats” throughout music history. Music writer Rob Sheffield recounts his interview with Styles. “In the studio, while making the album, Harry kept watching a vintage Bowie clip on his phone… For Harry, this was an inspiring pep talk — a reminder not to play it safe. As Bowie says, “If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you are capable of being in.”

The album cover speaks for the musical style of the album. Styles kept the pink color scheme of his debut album while opting for a more bizarre photo affect.

I really didn’t think Fine Line would be as good. I just assumed he couldn’t make an album as good as his debut. Or that he would be a sellout to mainstream music. I was right and I was wrong. But overall, I was pleasantly surprised. I immediately noticed that compared to Styles’ first album, Fine Line has a more cohesive style. If I had to describe this album, I would pin it as a groovy 1970s psychedelic rock inspired one.

Harry Styles: Rock star, pop star or neither? There’s an argument to be made.

Rolling Stone was very quick to name Styles as an up and coming rock star, but I’m not sure that’s the case. Harry is not making rock music (at least, not modern rock). He is most certainly, however, paying hommage to the classic rock styles of Led Zeppelin and Jefferson Airplane. But that does not make him a rock star. Sorry.

The Overview

From the feel-good opening track of “Golden” to the existential ballad “Falling,” Harry Styles bares his soul to the world in Fine Line. The lyrics were surprisingly succinct and direct, sometimes seemingly without any creativity involved. “Cherry” even includes a voice memo of his ex-girlfriend, Camille Rowe and “Treat People With Kindness” reminds me of the The 5th Dimension. “Fine Line,” however, does a wonderful job of closing out the album with a synth-filled, moody tune.

Favorite song: She

Least favorite song: Canyon Moon

It’s been five years since One Direction broke up, and Styles is still soaring. His musical style and public image is continuously being shaped, but people can’t get enough. As Sheffield said, “[Harry Styles is] a curious kid who can’t decide whether to be the world’s most ardently adored pop star, or a freaky artiste. So he decides to be both.”

It will be interesting to see how this career continues, being that is still in the beginning stages. Styles has a lot of potential but even more pressure on this road ahead of him. Good luck, Harry.

P.S. If you’re interested in checking out more reviews, read this Pitchfork album review. And maybe comment below your thoughts on the album. Happy listening!

Music Moment: Lana Del Rey

Music Moment: Lana Del Rey

*Disclaimer: I’m using the abbreviation of the album’s title in this blog post. Just for clarification.*


I’ve never been one to obsess over the West Coast or dream of living on the beaches of Malibu. In fact, I typically wish I was in a cozy NYC loft or strolling through Central Park.

But Lana Del Rey’s latest release has me wishing I spent all summer laying on the beach in Cali with the warm sunlight peeking through pollution. 

Or spending summer nights indulging in the luxe life at the Chateau Marmont.

Or maybe towering over the city of Los Angeles, as Lana does in her vintage film-inspired music video for Doin’ Time. Nevertheless, my cat eye sunglasses only magnify the vibes this album exudes, as I listen and daydream of a fantasy summer filled with heartbreak and lost romance. 


In 2013-2014, I was obsessed with Lana. I bought flower crowns from Forever 21 to match her Born To Die aesthetic, and I thought I was the coolest kid in school (I can assure you, I was most definitely not).

As time passed, either I “outgrew” her or her albums got progressively worse. So, I just kind of stopped listening to her. But now she’s back with another album.

And I can’t stop listening to it.

Album cover for NFR!

NFR!–Lana Del Rey’s newest release–is a dreamy, hazy mix of songs about her former summer lover(s) and her new life in L.A.

Behind the Album

NFR! is Del Rey’s sixth studio album, produced with the help of Jack Antonoff, frontman of Bleachers.

It’s no secret that Del Rey tends to include American cultural references into all her albums, and this album is no different. Instead of paying homage to the cherry pie and retro red lipstick (or being the “classic” Americana diva), she chooses to use this album as a sort of mourning of American culture.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Lana explores the meaning behind her latest aesthetic. “The chaos of the [current] culture is interesting, and I’m hopeful that there’s room for there to be some movement and excitement within it.”

NPR music critic Ann Powers claimed that “On NFR! Del Rey is at her most instantly compelling, a pro asserting her future spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” 

As Time magazine points out, Del Rey’s voice is extremely unique. “She laments, stretching out the final word ominously, amid verses that enumerate the things she misses: Long Beach, New York, idleness and, somehow most chillingly, rock ‘n’ roll.”

My Thoughts? Lana is the epitome of the next internet sensation: Sad Girl Fall.

The title track opens with an instrumental swell that is soft and sweet, setting up the scene for the rest of the album. The lyrics, however, are harsh and crude against the instrumentals, giving the entire album an interesting contrast.

While I love the sound of the album, my one complaint is that most of the songs sound the same (as it goes with indie pop I suppose). Nonetheless, listening to her album was a serendipitous moment. I wasn’t expecting much, and she really outdid her previous albums. 

Fave song: Mariner’s Apartment Complex or Doin’ Time 

Least Fave: Bartender 

Overall, I give this album an 8.5/10. The last half of the album was less impressive than the first half, but Lana still manages to top all her previous work with NFR!


What did you think of the album? Leave a comment below!

Music Moment: Paper Kites

Music Moment: Paper Kites

It’s after midnight, and you’re driving down the highway. The windows are down and your hair is almost (but not quite) blocking your view. The wind is warm and sticky, and you know summer is coming. You could drive for hours and let your mind wander because these are the days you’ll miss the most when they’re gone.

Can you tell I’m ready for summer? Not to mention I’ve already found the perfect album to accompany it. Today’s music moment is about On The Corner Where You Live by The Paper Kites.

On The Corner Where You Live album cover. Photo courtesy of The Paper Kites.

I found this album by accident one day, and I was shocked to find out it was by the Paper Kites. I had only ever heard their single “Bloom,” which was very very indie folk. But unbeknownst to me, they had released two entire albums in 2018. The first album is titled On The Train Ride Home and was released on April 18, 2018. Just five months later, the band released On The Corner Where You Live.

On The Train Ride Home is a good album, but On The Corner Where You Live really got me. It is infused with lo-fi and synth sounds, pays homage to the Blue Nile (where are my ’80s indie pop fans?!), and epitomizes heartbreak in the 21st century.

The album opens with “A Gathering on 57th,” an instrumental track that combines city sounds and a saxophone. It smoothly follows up with tracks that detail two lovers hopelessly striving for the perfect relationship in a postmodern society. Sam Bentley and Christina Lacy switch out lead vocals throughout the album to make it feel like a sort of dialogue.

Though it is stylistically different than their other albums, The Paper Kites made sure to keep a folk track in there with “Midtown Waitress.” They also included “Does It Ever Cross Your Mind” as a nice, introspective piano ballad. The album ends with the soothing yet emotionally charged “Don’t Keep Driving,” leaving the listener unsettled and longing for more as Bentley’s and Lacy’s voices trail off singing

Don’t push me, push me away (Don’t leave me).

Music journalist Thomas Hocknell describes it as “the sort of album you’d marry were it a person, although it would probably break your heart just to improve its context. It’s a delicate, yet muscular beauty of an album.”

The entire album just ebbs and flows in a way that is perfectly intricate. A cascade of emotions hits me every time I listen to it. The main critique I have is that it doesn’t seem to have a climactic song. However, the album flows so well that you get lost in the songs and don’t even realize when it’s over.

Favorite track: Deep Burn Blue or Does It Ever Cross Your Mind

Least favorite track: Red Light or On The Corner Where You Live

Overall, I give this album a 9/10. I simply adore the nostalgic sound mixed with the modern dilemmas. It feels so raw and real and true to life. And I love it.

Music Moment: Mumford & Sons

Music Moment: Mumford & Sons

Happysad. One word. A weird conglomeration of liberating joy and nostalgic gloom. The feeling that inspires you to travel the world but also isolates you to the cold depths of your heart. That’s the only way I know how to describe Delta, Mumford & Sons’ newest release.

After a three year hiatus, Mumford & Sons returned with Delta on Nov. 16, 2018. It’s no secret that this album is quite different than their previous ones. The folk aspect of Mumford & Sons is now embedded in heavy drums and electronic beats as though it’s begging to get on the Top 40 charts. 

While many critics said that the album was their worst one yet, I truly think it may be one of their most progressive. After switching producers, the band incorporated more indie sounds into the album to give it a modern vibe.

I love how Pitchfork’s Larry Fitzmaurice described it: “Delta is also the strongest collection of songs Mumford & Sons have released to date; the cool-handed atmospherics and dreamy melodies here simply suit them better than any other sonic guise they’ve worn.”

The album begins with “42”–a tribute to their 42nd single–and continues with a journey through the mind of Marcus Mumford. The climax of the album is revealed in the transition from “Picture You” to “Darkness Visible.” With an extremely smooth ride from bittersweet love to a contorted poetic reading from Milton’s Paradise Lost, the instruments crescendo until your heart feels as though it’s going to burst. 

While there are some amazing songs on this album, there are definitely a few weak points. Parts of the album lull, putting you off to the next song. I found myself skipping quite a few songs after listening to it a few times.

Favorite song: 42 or Forever

Least favorite song: Slip Away

Overall I give this album a 9/10. This is a super high rating, I know, but something about this album really spoke to me. Ultimately, I don’t think this album is a sell-out. Sure, the band has continued to blend into the mainstream. But it’s clear that Marcus Mumford is using this album to reflect on some very deep and troubling issues in his life, simultaneously causing me to do the same. (Thanks for the existential crisis, y’all.)

Check out Delta by Mumford & Sons on Spotify.