Though Harry Styles, in the grand scheme of things, hasn’t been around that long, he has certainly racked up quite the run of incredible tracks. From ballads to arena anthems to groovy floor-fillers, Styles is proving his prowess with every new release.
This list could go on and on, but we’ve decided to narrow it down to just ten songs from Styles’ discography that you should venture to revisit. Let’s get into it below.
Styles’ debut record saw a lot of retro rock bangers, with “Carolina” being one of the best. The song paints a portrait of Styles’ dream girl whom he met once and still thinks about often. It’s got a shuffling groove that embeds itself into the mind after listening— an unabashed ear-worm—and is a standout on his lauded self-titled album.
2. “Meet Me in the Hallway”
Opening Styles’ debut album is this slow, sultry ballad. Though the world was already introduced to “Sign of the Times” (more on that later) and knew that his first solo work was going to be worlds away from his One Direction days, “Meet Me in the Hallway” fully cemented that nothing would be the same as it was (more on that later, too).
In the track, Styles sings painfully about needing to see his lover. Like it’s an itch to scratch. Like it’s an addiction. “Meet Me in the Hallway” seems like a song you’d sooner hear coming out over indie, coffee-shop radio rather than on the album of a certified pop icon.
3. “Medicine” (unreleased)
Styles’ fanbase is loyal if nothing else. They know his discography front and back and have even begun to hold unreleased material near and dear. One such song is “Medicine.” Though the song has never appeared on any of his albums, it is a staple in his live shows and a crowd-pleaser to boot.
A large part of its appeal is the allusions to Styles’ ever-so-shadowy sexuality. With lyrics that swap he/she pronouns out every few lines, fans listened with a close ear the first time he brought this one out. The anthemic chorus has allowed it to stick around for the 5 or so years since it first debuted. We hope it finds a more formal release soon.
Opening his second effort, Fine Line, is this glittering summer staple. “Golden” truly feels like sunshine. You can feel the influence the Mediterranean has on Styles (a long-confirmed Italophile) in this song. He bolsters it with the accompanying video, which sees Styles running around the streets of the Amalfi Coast throwing his cares to the wind. Styles knows how to pen an album opener that keeps the listener enticed for what’s to come.
While most of Harry’s House concerns itself with Styles’ romantic attachments, “Grapejuice” sees him wax poetically about another love—alcohol. The topic is not one that Styles has dared to delve into before but it is a welcomed addition to this stellar album. The verses are somewhat muffled, which works well by the time the chorus comes around and breaks free from heavy distortion. With every new album, Styles seems to be getting more and more comfortable saying what’s on his mind.
6. “Girl Crush” (Spotify Singles Cover of Little Big Town)
For Spotify’s Singles series, which sees artists cover some of their favorite songs, Styles chose Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” Though we wouldn’t have pegged Styles as a country fan, he does LBT’s version justice with the addition of airy harmonies, courtesy of his backing band. The lyrics of the song once again play to his penchant for sexual ambiguity as he kept the gender-bending pronouns intact, singing about being jealous of a man’s girlfriend.
“Matilda” is perhaps Styles’ most moving track. The lyrics see Styles give a friend the freedom to leave their past behind and build a new future. You can let it go / You can throw a party full of everyone you know / And not invite your family, ’cause they never showed you love / You don’t have to be sorry for leaving and growing up, he sings in the chorus.
Though the title comes from the Roald Dahl book of the same name, Styles purposely leaves out a label as to who he’s singing about. Up for interpretation, the song could be applied to anyone who needs reassurance that family is more than blood.
8. “Fine Line”
Styles closed out his sophomore LP with the title track, “Fine Line.” The track is a slow burn that eventually erupts into a swell of horns and orchestral arrangements. It is arguably his most sophisticated production and is altogether underrated. Like a bittersweet end to a movie, “Fine Line” closes things out with a mix of somber notes and optimism for the future. It is a truly unique offering from Styles.
9. “Sign of the Times”
We couldn’t leave out “Sign of the Times.” Though he has released a wealth of material since, this track is what broke Styles out of the boyband mold and started him on his path to global superstardom. The ’70s rock flavors harkened back to his influences that he couldn’t always embed into the material he was working on with One Direction. As far as debuts go, “Sign of the Times” couldn’t have been a stronger introduction for Styles.
10. “As It Was”
Styles became a record breaker with “As It Was.” Surpassing the likes of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Elton John, “As It Was” is the longest-running No. 1 single from a solo artist—and for good reason. The track acted as a precursor to Styles’ third album, Harry’s House. He turned to more contemporary flavors, fully leaning into his indie-pop ambitions. The gamble has well paid off with “As It Was” becoming one of Styles’ signature songs. We will no doubt look back in 20-some years and remember this track as the mark of an icon.
Photo by Lillie Eiger / Courtesy of Sony Music