Not because there’s anything wrong with this particular month — it’s just been a surprisingly long time coming. It’s been over two years since Zayn Malik pursued a solo career and made One Direction no longer whole. It’s been nearly 17 months since 1D released its final album, Made In The A.M., before parting ways for an indefinite hiatus. And it’s been much longer than either of those time periods since Styles established himself as a potential superstar residing within the boy band structure, ready to pounce upon pop culture once he deigned that it was time to go solo.
How long have we known that Harry Edward Styles had the voice, stage presence and charisma to become a star? Haven’t we waited a half-decade — since first seeing that mop of hair and the smile underneath — for this moment to arrive?
With “Sign of the Times,” Styles more or less explains the reason for the wait. This is one of the more ambitious opening statements in pop this decade, an ostentatious and essentially verse-less stab at something both immediate and timeless. My colleague Andrew Unterberger already broke down everything that “Sign of the Times” is — defiantly rock, proudly bombastic and impossibly British included. One thing that it isn’t, though, is undercooked, which is perhaps its most important trait of all.
Continue reading this story at Billboard.