“Sign Of The Times”
April 7, 2017
Harry Styles, Jeff Bhasker, Mitch Rowland, Ryan Nasci, Alex Salibian & Tyler Johnson
Sign Of The Times is a song recorded by Harry Styles, released as his debut single on April 7, 2017 from his self titled debut album. It's Harry's first solo single, and the third solo single from the remaining members of One Direction, following Niall Horan's This Town and Louis Tomlinson's Just Hold On.
Styles described Sign Of The Times as his favorite song on his upcoming album, stating: "We worked out [the first single] when the whole album was finished. We had a couple of different ideas about what the first single would be and then we thought about this, we were like maybe we should hold it till a little later and then we all kind of ended up looking at each other and being like, why would we just not put this out first. It’s just absolutely what i want to say the most and it’s my favorite song in the album". When asked about the meaning, Styles initially said he was leaving it ambiguous, stating: "I don't think I'd ever say exactly what it's about. For each person to take away what they get from something is important. It is the most literal song on the album. It's a view of a lot of things that go on". However, in his April 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Styles further elaborated on a more specific meaning: "Most of the stuff that hurts me about what's going on at the moment is not politics, it's fundamentals. Equal rights. For everyone, all races, sexes, everything. ... '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'. Styles also revealed his mother cried upon hearing the song for the first time.
Styles announced the single virally, airing a short advert on UK television on March 28, 2017. The advert showed a soaking wet Styles opening the door of a dark room, with a bright light illuminating the outside. The single title and cover art were simultaneously revealed on March 31st via Styles' Instagram account. On April 7, 2017 Styles premiered Sign Of The Times at 8am on BBC Radio 1 with Nick Grimshaw. He also hosted a 2 hour special where he chatted to Grimshaw and played a selection of his favorite songs. The audio was also simultaneously uploaded to Styles' official Vevo account. Styles was interviewed by several radio show hosts from April 7 to 10, including Dermot O'Leary, Elvis Duran and Ryan Seacrest.
Sign Of The Times received mixed reviews, The Independent rated it three stars, praising Styles' ability to shift his vocals from "a tender, slightly husky croon to an impressive falsetto" and David Bowie influence, but criticised the track for not venturing far enough from One Direction's sound. The Telegraph also rated the song three stars, stating it was "swooning piano ballad with somewhat overdone production (there is the occasional grand, almost intergalactic synth and a chorus of electric guitars) It recalls Robbie Williams's blockbuster stadium anthem Angels and Queen's sentimental pomp". The Guardian praised the single stating "as a credible piece of indie-pop balladry that moves Styles into a new arena, I’d say he just about pulls it off".
Within 8 hours of release, Sign Of The Times reached #1 on iTunes in 82 countries. The single broke Adele's record for fastest song to reach #1 on US iTunes (50 minutes), hitting the top spot in 19 minutes. Styles' debut performance of Sign Of The Times on Saturday Night Live became the most Shazamed live performance ever on April 17, 2017.
Sign Of The Times debuted at #1 on the United Kingdom Official Charts, the Australian ARIA Singles Chart and the Scottish Official Charts. It debuted at #4 on the United States Billboard Hot 100.
- ↑ Harry Styles New Direction
- ↑ Harry Styles new song 'Sign of the Times' review: Bowie nods aren't enough to move him out of One Direction territory
- ↑ Harry Styles debuts Sign of the Times. Is he really the new Bowie?
- ↑ BBCR1 Tweet
- ↑ HARRY STYLES SCORES DEBUT SOLO #1
- ↑ Ed Sheeran Tops Hot 100 for 12th Week, as Harry Styles Starts at No. 4