DISCLAIMER: The following article is strictly the author’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect the consensus of Factory Records, LLC.
Harry Styles, the former One Direction band member, and pop sensation has been lighting up the charts since the release of his most recent studio album, ‘Harry’s House’. The album is Styles’ third studio album overall and has proven to be a smashing success. Four songs would reach the top ten of the US Billboard Hot 100: “As It Was” (At Number One), “Late Night Talking” (at number four), “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” (at number eight) and “Matilda” (at number nine). With four concurrent top-ten hits on the chart, Styles was the first British solo artist to achieve this, and among all British acts, he joined the Beatles, who achieved the feat in 1964.
With all of the recent success that Styles has seen since his venture as a solo artist, it made me reflect upon a more macro trend. Styles is most likely, the closest thing we have to a ‘new’ Mick Jagger in 2023. Think that’s an outlandish ‘hot-take?’ While, I’m certain some might, don’t take my word for it, The Rolling Stones frontman would praise the former boy band singer saying he has a ‘Superficial resemblance’ to Jagger’s ‘younger self’.
It’s also easy to see why, as both are incredible showmen, wear eye-catching outfits whenever performing, are extremely talented dancers, and have a lot of female fans. Anecdotally, I remember reading an article about how the University of Texas was going to offer a course centering around the music of Taylor Swift. Around social media, there was plenty of backlash for it. However, I had no problem with this and welcome courses that mimic this. For example, when I was in school they had courses on the British invasion and now I’m seeing courses on Billy Joel and a lot of popular 80s acts.
This once again brings us back to a much larger and deeper point. Music is such a generational thing. If you think about those teens that were listening to the Rolling Stones in the 60s and the 70s, they were raised by parents that would more likely than not fling a copy of Sticky Fingers like a frisbee because it wasn’t the “real music” they grew up with. This pattern continued decade after decade and happened when bands such as Nirvana came up and the teens that followed The Rolling Stones became older parents. Now, the generation that got into Nirvana is aging and can’t appreciate anything new.
This recently was heightened at this year’s Grammy Awards when English singer-songwriter Sam Smith caused an uproar over their ‘suggestive’ choice of outfit and overall performance theme. Ironically, music has had plenty of ‘shock’ artists over the years from Alice Cooper, to Dee Snyder to KISS. Those who were upset with Smith would have more than likely been bemoaning Elvis Presley for shaking his hips ‘too suggestively’ had they been born in another period in time.
Back to Mr. Styles. Music is just music. Someone like Harry Styles has way more in common with Mick Jagger than people like to ever admit.