Online editor Stephen Ong reviews Harry Styles’ comeback single
‘Do you know who you are?’ is the slogan for the promotional campaign of ‘Lights Up’, Harry Styles’ first song in over two years. Coming a long way from the vague symbolism of ‘Sign of the Times’, ‘Lights Up’ is a song with a burning message. Released alongside World Mental Health Day and National Coming Out Day puts the lyrics into perspective; Styles’ urging to ‘step into the light’ is universally empowering, and an anthem for those struggling with their identity or mental health.
Despite the initially disorientating structure of the song, ‘Lights Up’ only utilises three verses, which become earworms by the time the song is over. The choir midway through the song is unexpected, but a moment of brilliance that elevates the song, in contrast to Styles’ heavily muffled vocals.
[Lights Up is] an anthem for those struggling with their identity or mental health
The psychedelic pop of ‘Lights Up’ is the glue of the song; the piano and guitar twinkle over a pounding bass and drums, lending the song a timelessness. Unlike Styles’ previous songs, which borrowed heavily from icons such as The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones, ‘Lights Up’ is Styles stepping into the light musically, showing off a sound that is uniquely Styles.
In a month where all five One Direction boys have blessed us with new music, Styles’ is undoubtedly the most impressive, combining quality music with the intent to make an artistic statement.