Harry Styles lights up the charts with new single

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Last Thursday, Harry Styles sparked the Internet with the release of a new single and music video. “Lights Up” was released on Oct. 10, and the singer only began posting about the song’s release 24 hours before premiering it on YouTube. As of last weekend, the music video had over 12 million views and was the second most trending video. 

Promotional posters with the lyrics “Do you know who you are?” written in all capital letters were seen in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and London in the past week leading up to the video’s release.

The music video alludes to the cover of his  self-titled debut album, showing the singer floating in pink water and emerging as if still wet from it. Yet, now when shown in the water on his latest cover, he is completely submerged in a dark red pool, no longer fighting as he sinks deeper. 

The video’s transitions between shots of a bright orange background and streaking light effects give it a vintage effect.

The impressions that Styles’ music videos give the viewer contrast each other.  Specifically, the video for “Light’s Up” and the video for “Sign of the Times.” In the latter video, Styles is seen in a bright setting, floating through the air while singing about the end of life, whereas  “Light’s Up” is a celebration of accepting his place in the light and living his life how he wants to.  

The two main scenes of the music videos contrast each other.  Both begin with the camera focused on Styles, yet in dramatically different settings. The first scene in “Lights Up” shows Styles being welcomed into a sea of half-naked party goers leaning on him and embracing him.  In “Sign of the Times,” Styles stands alone on a grassy beach overlooking the horizon.  

Style’s fashion is interesting throughout the music video as he’s shown in what can only be described as concert attire. The singer was decked out in loud and shiny costumes that catch the viewer’s eye immediately.  

In his recent cover story with Rolling Stone Magazine, Styles claimed his new album will be “all about having sex and feeling sad.” As promised, Styles’ new song has a more mature feel to it. 

“Lights Up” is only two minutes and fifty-two seconds, but it feels longer due to its repetitive lyrics. The song and the video ends with the line “Do you know who you are?” before the last chord of the piano plays. After Styles gives a nervous smile to someone behind the camera and laughs to himself, the already intimate video feels even more genuine.  

A captivating part of the music video is when Styles appears to be talking to himself in the mirror. His hair and clothes are wet as he sports the same outfit he wore on his debut album’s cover, and it seems as though he has left the pink water he was soaked in. During this part the musician sings the lyrics “never going back now” as if making himself promise not to return to what he has left behind. The camera movement is shaky, focusing on Styles’ and then his reflection.  

Styles’ choice to release “Lights Up” on National Coming Out Day left fans and critics speculating on if this was on purpose. According to Gaytimes Magazine and Cosmopolitan Magazine, the song is being called a “bisexual anthem” on Twitter due to the music video showing the singer dancing shirtless sensually with both men and women.

The song’s recurring line “Do you know who you are?” also suggests a deeper meaning as the lyrics create a scene of stepping into the light and Styles promising to never go back to the darkness.  

Styles’ previous song “Medicine” also has bisexual tones as he discusses “messing around” with boys and girls. In an interview with The Sun in 2017, Styles said his sexuality is something he doesn’t have to label.  

I don’t feel like it’s something I’ve ever felt like I have to explain about myself,” he said in a previous interview.

Styles made a new sound for himself with his debut album as his 70’s inspired music filled with melancholic emotion, leaves listeners with a feeling of eternalness. In this new era, Styles keeps his same sound but adds a layer of sensuality and more in depth emotion.

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