Interesting, often, to listen to the songs broadcast in the background, before going on stage. We can decipher small messages, more or less subliminal. Heard thus, Tuesday July 5, a few minutes before Harry Styles capsizes the Accor Arena in Paris, a tube of One Direction – Best Song Ever –, sung loudly by the fans, between two Queen standards – We Are the Champions et Bohemian Rhapsody – also taken up in chorus by a generation having often discovered the group of Freddie Mercury thanks to a recent successful biopic.
Revealed by the prepubescent hymns of the former and dreaming of reaching the timelessness of the latter, the 28-year-old Englishman walks with panache on a thread stretched between songs for shopgirls and a maturity nourished by pop-rock classicism. Harvesting along the way, and in three solo albums, star status, among the most « cool » and popular at the time.
The course is rare enough to be recalled. Born in 1994, the boy grew up in Chapel Holmes, a town in the northwest of England, equidistant from Liverpool and Manchester. A singer with precocious ambition, he auditioned in 2010 for The X Factor, a British telecrochet where, after having failed solo, he found his way into a group formed with other dropouts, on the initiative of one of the show’s producers. Baptized One Direction, the quintet stands out as the boy band of the first half of the 2010s. Five albums in five years and as many number 1s, crumbling under awards and hysterical tours. Until the inevitable implosion, caused by desires for emancipation.
In the end, how many, in the past, have succeeded in freeing themselves from their hit factories to impose their personality over time? Not even a handful. After the English Robbie Williams, brilliant survivor of the group Take That, and the American Justin Timberlake, escaped from the boy band NSYNC, it is Harry Styles’ turn to enter this very closed club.
A concert rich in sweets
First thanks to the seriousness of a first album, Harry Styles (2017), rooted in references « classic rock » and carried by a majestic slow, Sign of the Times. Then by forking towards a fantasy mixing the pop know-how of yesterday, with the grooves and societal trends of today. Reigniting the androgyny that troubled early fans of Mick Jagger or David Bowie, Styles adapts it to the inclusive fluidity of Gen Z in his second album, Fine Lineand the recent Harry’s House.
First man on the cover of Vogue, the singer with multiple tattoos and a cheeky smile posed there in a dress. Dandy cool at the crossroads of virility and femininity, the former boyfriend of Taylor Swift and Kendall Jenner doubles his musical triumphs with cinematic promises, with appearances in Dunkirk by Christopher Nolan, a Marvel production, The Eternalsthen, in 2022, My Policeman by Michael Grandage, and Don’t Worry Darlingdirected by his girlfriend, Olivia Wilde.
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