The British boy band One Direction has been a teenage heartthrob for nearly decade. With hits like “That’s What Makes You Beautiful” and “One Thing” making their debut a success, the group has travelled all over the world and made billboards everywhere. They’ve grown up with their fans, who have followed them since day one, and accrued new fans, such as myself, as their musical maturity developed. With calmer songs like “Story of My Life” and “Steal my Girl,” their fan base was at an all time high. That is, until one of their critical singers, Zayn Malik, made the sudden decision to leave the group and go in a new direction of his own. This was a tragedy for fans everywhere, considering their long time history of how they started.

One Direction singers Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik were all individual contestants of the British version of the X-Factor, until judge Simon Cowell suggested they sing together as a group. Since then, the boy band blew up and became an international sensation. Rumor has it that Malik was never really 100 percent with the music genre that the group was producing, which would make sense as to why he left the crew and started a success of his own, debuting “PILLOWTALK” which captured more of a sensual R&B feel.

The group tried to continue on, releasing an album without him, titled “Four,” where they tribute Malik in a farewell song titled “History,” and another song representing perseverance titled “Drag Me Down.” Both were instant hits that lasted on the charts for months, and their fans remained strong. It seemed like One Direction would continue to thrive, but the group announced that they would be going on a one year hiatus, taking a break from the industry. Since then, each artist started to release their own single, and everyone patiently waited for Harry Styles’, as he remained the last person to do so.

On April 7, Styles released his highly anticipated single, “Sign of the Times.” It’s a slow, sad song, which I wasn’t expecting at all. We’ve all been waiting for a badass song, but in return we get a depressing one. And on top of it all, it sucks. Clearly Styles, who was known as the lead singer for the One Direction group, hasn’t gotten over the break up yet. The song’s first words, after a ridiculously long intro, goes “just stop your crying, it’s a sign of the times.”

Could this be a message to himself? The song carries a familiar Aerosmith feel, almost like a slow rock and roll. The melancholy vibes make you feel like you’re looking out the window while it’s cloudy and rainy.

It’s a shame that the head singer of a hyped-up pop band came out with something of the completely opposite genre. This song is not only boring, it’s depressing. It’s one of those songs that make you wanna change it after a minute in.

However, I will say that it does do a good job at showcasing his talents, and perhaps that was the idea that he was going for. After having so many people accustomed to his happy and enthusiastic music, he did what the rest of the One Direction band did and matured himself. He sang a song in a genre that no one would ever guess, while reminding us all that he’s still got talent left in him and that he can use his voice in a different way.

But, because of the hype, and ultimately, the let down, I would give this song a 2/5 stars.

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