AOTY 2021

Fine Line

Harry Styles - Fine Line
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2019 Ratings: #491 / 770
User Score
2019 Ratings: #366
Liked by 91 people
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A.V. Club

Fine Line proves that the musician has absorbed the best lesson passed down by California’s great musicians: Don’t be afraid to take chances within a folk- or pop-rock framework, as that’s how you create iconoclastic music that endures.

The Independent
A dextrous, audacious album a little too in thrall to music’s greats.

Not unlike having watched his earliest moves week-by-week on TV way back when, 'Fine Line' is a compelling document of an artist coming to life.

Rolling Stone
It’s a streamlined, party-ready, primary-colors take on the enduring concept of the rock & roll starman. It’s also as much as fun as anyone short of Bruno Mars is having with a band these days.

For the most part ... Styles’ second album is a total joy. It’s an elegant combination of the ex-boybander’s influences, slick modern pop and his own roguish charm.

‘Fine Line’ is a wonderfully bright, inspirational and ambitious piece of work, brimming with confidence and joy combined with some darker shades in-between.
NOW Magazine
The former One Directioner sounds like he’s finally letting go of the dad-rock cosplay of his debut, leaning instead into ebullient, soulful pop.
The Guardian
Unlike his former One Direction bandmates, who swiftly picked their lanes, Styles is taking his time coming into focus. The results serve him – and his fans – well.

Fine Line is proof that Harry Styles has grown as an artist since his solo debut. He hasn't reached his full potential, but he's certainly well on his way.

Slant Magazine

Fine Line is very much a document of a 25-year-old deep in the process of figuring out not just what kind of musician he wants to be, but what kind of person. The path from cookie-cutter boy-band member to bona fide rock star is one fraught with a lot to prove both personally and publically, and yet it’s one Styles seems to be navigating with an eagerness to learn, to experience and to experiment.

The Young Folks

Fine Line offers a lot to think about if you want to dig into it. If you’re looking for sunny pop hits, it has those too.

The Line of Best Fit

Fine Line is a solid, playful pop album, but that matters less than its status as a source of uncomplicated comfort and affirmation.


Fine Line doesn’t really do much to demystify the ambiguous former One Direction frontman, but the fact that he refuses to adhere to any one identity is what makes this brisk record so wonderful. It’s almost like Styles is trolling us.

FLOOD Magazine

As a work of beguiling retro-modern pop, Fine Line is hard to find glaring fault with—but it’s also hard not to wish he had more aggressively summoned the improper, iconoclastic Harry we all know lurks beneath the surface, waiting for his moment.

Consequence of Sound

Styles is a more confident and precise songwriter on Fine Line than on his debut, even if the progress is incremental rather than exponential.

Harry Styles hides himself inside of a mystic pop-rock record that keeps us away from who he is as a songwriter and fledgling rock star.
The Telegraph

From Father John Misty to Weyes Blood, there are way more interesting singer-songwriters than Styles mining the musical seams of classic Americana, but few of them have the attention of a mass, mainstream, young pop audience. If all that Fine Line achieves is to open up new directions for his One Direction fan base, it will have justified its existence.


He certainly talks like he wants to make music that stands the test of time and really matters to people; if that's ever going to happen, he'll need to make records that go beyond pleasant and enjoyable.

The Observer

Fine Line is a confident step in Styles’s whimsical musical adventure.

The Arts Desk
Varied sophomore album mixes genuine treats with questionable lyrics.
The Needle Drop

Fine Line brings Harry Styles no closer to finding his own musical style and voice.

Spectrum Culture

What Fine Line really is is a pop album with rock-flavored production.

Harry Styles’ follow up to his eponymous debut record is a major improvement on all fronts. The steep yet fulfilling progression of quality and maturity is a staple, and a major trait in this record’s charm.

Firstly, the production fits the mood of the album very well, and the overall sound is uniform and beautiful. The cold, secluded sounds on “Falling” and “Cherry” are a major point of sonic reference, creating a fine blend and balance to the numerous ... read more
On his latest studio effort, Harry Styles walks the Fine Line between intrinsic character/charisma and maturity as one of pop's biggest stars, to commendable results!

I have to emphasize the importance of natural character and personality when picking apart the works of an artist, not just in music, but in general. Music, like all mediums of art, is a form of expression. We convey feelings, thoughts, ideas, and ambitions through it. Being the social, intelligent, smelly animals that we are, we ... read more
I loved this album. Absolutely no skips for me. The lead singles had me very excited and I am happy that I wasn’t let down at all.

While his former One Direction sidekick, Liam Payne, has just unveiled his debut album "LP1" and Louis Tomlinson will also be going to the solo exercise in January, it is now Harry Styles' turn to express himself. After a debut eponymous album in 2017, the British decided to offer us a new and resolutely more confident sound. Led by the impressive rock ballad "Sign Of The Times", "Harry Styles" wanted to be as authentic as possible, bathed in an ... read more
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Added on: November 4, 2019