Harry Styles has had quite the musical journey, from being a contestant on The X Factor to his time in One Direction and venturing out as a solo artist. He became a part of a group that wound up one of the best boy bands of all time, but his work after One Direction disbanded has been nearly as successful and wide-ranging in style.
In this article, we’ll go over 25 of the best songs Harry Styles has released as a solo artist, at least, so far in his blossoming solo career.
1. Sign of the Times
Sign of the Times was Harry Styles’ debut solo single on his debut solo album back in 2017. It was one of the songs that were written when Sony pushed for him to do a solo album during One Direction’s hiatus.
It falls somewhere between a soft rock ballad and a pop rock song. It would reached the number-one spot on the UK Singles chart and peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100. Sign of the Times also earned Styles several awards, including a BMI Pop Award and a Brit Award for British Artist Video of the Year. Rolling Stone even placed it on their list of the 500 greatest Songs of All Time, ranking it at number 428.
2. As It Was
As It Was was the lead single from his third studio album Harry’s House in 2022 and was met with absolutely massive critical praise. It debuted at the top spot on the UK Singles chart, giving Styles his second ever number-one single. In total, it spent ten weeks in that position, making it his longest running number-one and the best-selling single of 2022 in the UK. It was also Styles’ second number-one single in the US, spending 15 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 and setting the record for the longest streak in that spot for an act from the UK.
Golden falls into the indie pop and soft rock genres, mixing in 70s California sound elements. It was released on his second studio album Fine Line in 2019, serving as the album’s fifth single. It did fairly well on the charts, peaking at number 26 on the UK Singles chart and 57 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Golden would also win Global Hit of the Year at the MTV Millennial Awards and the BMI Pop Award for Most Performed Songs of the Year.
4. Late Night Talking
Another great track from Harry’s House, Late Night Talking made its way to the radio waves in 2022 as the second single from the album. It was a respectable chart hit, topping the US Adult Top 40 and Mainstream Top 40, making it to number three on the Hot 100 while topping at number 2 on the UK Singles chart. The MTV Video Music Awards nominated the song for the Song of Summer Award, but it did not win.
5. Fine Line
The title track of Harry Styles’ second album is the place we truly see him move away from his roots as part of a boy band, and produce something that stands out in his catalog. Instead of working from typical pop schematics, it draws on something much more emotional and sad. It creates a dreamy atmosphere despite Styles’ lamenting vocals reminding us of the situation we’ve found ourselves in and it’s a song you’d enjoy listening to as you cry into your pillow after being done wrong.
6. Adore You
The second single to come from Harry Styles’ Fine Line album, Adore You was one of the best love songs of the year, delving into a blooming relationship and the feelings that come along with starting something new. It eventually peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number seven on the UK Singles Chart, attaining several platinum certifications internationally. It has a weird music video though, seeing Styles play the role of a societal outcast that befriends a goldfish.
The major theme of Matilda was that a house or a place is not home, but home is really a state of mind. It draws inspiration from the book and film adaptation of the Matilda story by Roald Dahl, in which a telekinetic little girl is mistreated by almost everyone in the story. Styles’ version doesn’t assign a gender to the titular Matilda, making it a universal song for everyone to relate to. It is one of his deeper singles.
If you want to hear Harry Styles at his most vulnerable, then Cherry is the song for you. Cut from the same cloth as John Lennon’s Julia, it’s more likely than not that the song is about his ex-girlfriend who features on the track at the end of the song. It’s raw, emotional, and full of longing for the long-gone lover, creating what is likely the most heart-wrenching song in Harry Styles’ catalog of music.
Another entry to the list named after a fruit and one that is as far from a soul-searching ballad as you can get. Kiwi is a harder-rock song from his debut album that is with guns blazing and full-on sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It’s a jacked-up tune that usually gets reserved for the finale of his concerts to help bring the house down.
She brought back Styles’ trademark falsetto vocals in an absolutely stunning funk song. While many of his fans will hotly debate the meaning of songs or who they were about, She is one that hasn’t been nailed down by fans or confirmed by Styles. It’s his heaviest composition, leaning on the electric guitar and containing one of the best guitar solos you’ll likely hear anytime soon outside of rock and metal genres.
11. Ever Since New York
While Harry Styles is no stranger to songs that are full of lyrics, hooks, and lines, Ever Since New York is a surprisingly contemplative entry on his debut album. It’s mostly a slept-on single from the artist, which is a shame since it’s so universally relatable. It dives into loss and feeling like you’ve lost someone, discussing the emptiness that comes along with those events and how it can change your mindset going forward.
12. Only Angel
Only Angel tricks you into thinking Harry Styles is about to launch into a soft ballad before exploding into a 70s-rock-style track that’s the perfect foot-stomper. It has the distinction of being one of the few songs he’s recorded that was done in a single take and is a standout of his debut album.
13. Lights Up
Lights Up was the lead single of Fine Line, and layers guitars and beats with gospel choirs and pianos. It’s all about embracing your own identity and discovering who you really are, all broken down in an unconventional structure that earned it quite a lot of critical praise. The song reached number three on the UK Singles Chart, four on the Rolling Stone Top 100, and 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
14. Keep Driving
Sometimes bad things just happen and the world seems pretty bad, but the one thing you can do to get over it is to just blow right past it and not care. That’s the central theme of Keep Driving. It also has some fairly nonsensical lines that if you read them off a page instead of hearing him sing them are pretty funny.
Falling was the third single to be released from Fine Line and is one of the best piano ballads to come out in recent years. While it has some lyrical depth emotionally, it remains universal in its theme so it’s an easy song to apply to your own down bad, post-breakup situation. It eventually peaked at number 15 on the UK Singles chart, giving Styles his fourth song from Fine Line to break the top 20.
Medicine is easily one of Harry Styles’ best songs, and it would make the list on pure fan votes alone, but it doesn’t have to. It’s a banger song that’s never been officially released as a single and got held back from concert setlists for years. Why? Who knows? but seeing him emulate The Rolling Stones and go further into his rock roots is good with me.
Cinema may be Harry Styles at his most blatantly sexual, and that isn’t a bad thing at all. A few explicit lines help spice up this song about dancing under the sheets, but the departure from his more restrained style is what makes it stand out. It’s honestly sort of refreshing to see him take this route and a nice change of pace from his typical fare.
The ninth track of his debut album, Woman, sees Harry Styles run his voice through a filter to sound like some sort of sexed-up duck. That’s not a joke at his expense here, that’s literally what they were going for. It’s a slow jam that’s become one of the artists’ best concert songs and a major fan favorite since it came out on his debut.
19. Sweet Creature
Home is something Harry Styles has thought about a lot, its meaning for him, what it truly is, and how important it can be to someone. Sweet Creature is another reflection on the concept of home, full of emotion and some of the best vocal performances he’s ever delivered.
20. Sunflower, Vol. 6
The electric sitar makes an appearance for the dance floor tune, Sunflower, Vol. 6. A step away from pop-centrism, Styles takes on reggae and South African styles to create a romantic song for fans to dance along to.
21. Watermelon Sugar
I won’t be discussing the metaphorical implications of Watermelon Sugar in this article, you can check those out on your own later. The song was one of the biggest hits on Fine Line, released as the fourth single from his 2020 album and breaking into the top 10 in over 20 different countries. It became Styles’ first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the 2021 Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year at the Brit Awards.
Anyone who has ever been in a long-distance relationship is going to be able to relate to Daylight. It details the highs and lows of that kind of romanticism and a meditation on the contradictions in life, and the daily routine of checking in with your significant other, all on top of a grinding bass guitar.
23. Music for a Sushi Restaurant
There’s bookstore music, shopping mall store music, and then there’s Music For A Sushi Restaurant. Far from background noise, the single marked a turning point for Styles’ music, churning out a great dance song that’s full of sexual tension and perfect for date night. It’s not one of his deeper songs lyrically, but it’s such a good groove that it’s totally forgivable.
24. Two Ghosts
Styles’ songwriting abilities tend to hinge on his personal experiences. That’s not to say that it’s bad, he’s quite good, but you can tell when he’s written a song straight from his heart. Two Ghosts is another heartbreaking ballad about remembering the good times in a bygone relationship.
25. Love of My Life
The final song of Harry’s House might be the most sobering, heart-wrenching, and depressing ballad Styles has ever produced. It’s the kind of sad song that has weight to it that you can physically feel, pushing his vocals to the limit while still containing some of the melancholy chorus elements you come to expect from him.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.