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It has been more than six years since One Direction last performed together, and while all five members have released solo music, Harry Styles has managed to stand out. Following the release of his newest record on May 20, Styles has released three albums: 2017’s Harry Styles, 2019’s Fine Line and 2022’s Harry’s House. In his 35 combined songs, Styles has diversified his sound in a big way from his One Direction days, creating songs that can fit in the folk, pop or rock genres with ease.
In honor of Harry’s House, we went through his three solo efforts and ranked his songs from worst to best. There are no songs from the One Direction era here, no unreleased cuts and no other songs past what has shown up on the albums.
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Styles has been extremely consistent in five years as a solo artist, and that made for a discography extremely difficult to put in order. Trying to rank songs from his newest album released so recently was also a challenge. So, this is a formal apology to whoever’s beloved song ended up being ranked far too low. We are sorry.
“Woman” (Harry Styles)
I would argue that there are no bad songs in Harry Styles’ solo catalog, but “Woman” is at the bottom of the list for being his least interesting and most annoying. The chorus is just the word “woman” six times with some “la-la-la-la-la-la” additions, and there is this weird, duck-like noise throughout the lengthy track that drives me insane. The guitar solo is nice, but it’s not enough to save the song from a last-place finish.
“Boyfriends” (Harry’s House)
The sound of “Boyfriends” is fine enough, with a nice acoustic melody to back it. Why it falls near the bottom of this list for me is the lyrics that come off a bit like he is blaming women for being stuck in bad relationships, despite almost certainly having the opposite intentions.
“Treat People With Kindness” (Fine Line)
“Treat People With Kindness” seems to be the consensus pick for Styles’ worst song, but I can’t help but have a little bit of a soft spot for it with just how upbeat and smile-inducing the whole thing is. Still, I understand its general shortcomings, and he certainly has plenty of songs better than this.
“Canyon Moon” (Fine Line)
Much like the song before it, “Canyon Moon” just sort of falls here on the account of being pretty good, but not a major highlight in the Styles solo albums. The lyrics are simple, the guitar and tambourine are enjoyable in the instrumental, but it doesn’t move the needle on such a loaded tracklist.
“Keep Driving” (Harry’s House)
“Keep Driving” feels to me like a lite version of The 1975’s “Love It If Me Made It.” The lyrics here are mostly word soup, intentionally so, touching on some societal topics with a chorus about continuing to push forward no matter what. It’s a quick 2:21 and I like the instrumental switch on the bridge a lot. However, I do think the song could have used a little more substance to reach its full potential.
“Only Angel” (Harry Styles)
This begins the set of songs where I said: “How could it possibly be this low on the list?” That is the difficulty with ranking Harry Styles songs, and unfortunately “Only Angel” falls here. This is a fun rock song, and Styles brings a great energy to the track. I think the “wa-hoo” background sample gets tiresome in the chorus, and the song loses steam at nearly five minutes in length, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy most of it.
“Love Of My Life” (Harry’s House)
I am a sucker for a good synth instrumental, which “Love Of My Life” delivers on. It’s a perfectly fine closer for Styles’ third album. Styles has said this song alludes to his home country of England, and that’s a nice little twist on the chorus. There’s just something about this song that leaves me wanting more, which leaves it as a less-fulfilling final track.
“Carolina” (Harry Styles)
The lyrics are pretty straightforward for a Styles song, but the build in the guitar, and in Styles’ delivery, by the ending chorus, is what makes “Carolina” so fun. It’s not a standout on the self-titled album, but it’s certainly not a skip for me, either.
“Cinema” (Harry’s Home)
“Cinema” feels like a song that will grow on me over time. Unfortunately, that time has not come, so my first judgments will have to pass for now. That being said, this is still a strong smooth cut off Harry’s House, a good change of pace after the fireworks and heartbreakers that come before it.
“Little Freak” (Harry’s House)
Speaking of heartbreakers, “Little Freak” is Styles talking about a lost relationship that is still on his mind. The title does not quite match the expected sound, but that doesn’t make it bad. It just makes it a solid cut with not a ton to write home about.
“To Be So Lonely” (Fine Line)
It feels wrong to place “To Be So Lonely” here. It’s a track I really enjoy, it has a very different sound and tone to it than most of Styles’ songs and it is an important moment on Fine Line. And yet, here’s where it lands thanks to the amount of great songs Styles has put out over three albums.
“Cherry” (Fine Line)
The message of “Cherry” is clear as day: This is a song about ex-girlfriend Camille Rowe, with Rowe’s voice even being used in the intro and outro to drive the point home. It’s a welcome addition to the song, as are the plucky guitars and some simple, yet heartfelt lyrics from Styles.
“From the Dining Table” (Harry Styles)
Sometimes stripping it all the way back can be used to great effect. That is the case on “From the Dining Table,” the concluding song on Styles’ debut solo album. With just a guitar to go with Styles’ voice for most of the song, every lyric hits that with that much more intensity, and it makes the bridge hit that much harder when some extra strings come into the picture.
“Meet Me in the Hallway” (Harry Styles)
The closer of the self-titled album is just edged out by the opener, “Meet Me in the Hallway,” which packs a nice punch. It’s pretty straightforward, but it’s the delivery from Styles, particularly on the chorus, that makes it work so well. The energy on the repetition of “I gotta get better” continues to stand out for me every time I hear this song.
“Music For a Sushi Restaurant” (Harry’s House)
I understand that about half of the lyrics on “Music For a Sushi Restaurant” are “ba-ba-ba.” But sometimes, lyrical shortcomings can be overcome with a sound that is this good. Styles has a fun delivery here, but it’s the jazzy, retro pop sound in the production that is absolutely exceptional. Styles can “ba-ba-ba” for 10 minutes straight if it’s behind production like this, fine by me.
“Watermelon Sugar” (Fine Line)
“Watermelon Sugar” is one of the most successful singles Styles has put out, and it’s easy to see why. The vocal delivery is infectious, the guitar equally so, the way the instrumental erupts after the opening section is terrific and the chorus is just begging to be sung along with. This is an extremely fun Harry Styles song, but its simplicity also keeps it toward the middle of this list.
“Daydreaming” (Harry’s House)
“Daydreaming” is a song that just kept rising on repeat listens, and it may very well be one of my favorites within a month. There is something so deeply catchy about everything Styles is doing here. The progression throughout this three-minute track is terrific, with a truly electric final minute that’s a standout moment on his newest record.
“Two Ghosts” (Harry Styles)
Originally written for One Direction’s Made in the A.M. album, “Two Ghosts” is a slower cut that works all the same. The lyrics here are some of Styles’ best work, both in the verses and with some great symbolism in the chorus. It was a great single at the time, and continues to be a terrific moment on Harry Styles five years later.
“Satellite” (Harry’s House)
The first song in the top half of the list is “Satellite,” a very cute, well-executed song about a relationship that is distant, while Styles compares himself to a satellite orbiting the Earth. The synths work brilliantly here, making for a delightful chorus that, as the lyrics echo, pulls you in.
“Sunflower, Vol. 6” (Fine Line)
“Sunflower, Vol. 6” feels like I’m frolicking in a meadow with how upbeat the production and vocals are, despite having lyrics that don’t necessarily match that tone. The use of guitars here, in a few brief solos and otherwise, is spectacular. The vibes on this one are truly immaculate from start to finish.
“Ever Since New York” (Harry Styles)
Styles has said that “Ever Since New York” is about bad news he received while in a hotel in Brooklyn, which is theorized to be about his late stepfather’s cancer diagnosis. True or not, the emotion is felt on every word here. This is mostly just Styles, drums and guitars, and it’s all the more poignant for it. The chorus may just be one line—“Oh, tell me something I don’t already know”—repeated four times, but it’s less about what is being said, but how Styles is saying it, that makes it so meaningful.
“Grapejuice” (Harry’s House)
“Grapejuice” appears to be an early favorite off Harry’s House for Harry Styles fans, and it’s easy to see why. There’s a real groove to this track, and the vocal effects on Styles’ voice makes for a very unique experience with the melodies and verses. There’s a lot going on instrumentally, it feels almost like something Tame Impala would make. The guy loves a good fruit metaphor, and he pulls it off once again here.
“Lights Up” (Fine Line)
“Lights Up” was the first single on Styles’ second album, and he sure did start off with a bang. This song has so much to appreciate, with, again, some wild vocal effects during the chorus, along with very busy, but worthwhile production on the back end. The star of the show, however, is clear. It’s the bridge, which ramps everything up to 11 in the best of ways. It might be the best bridge Styles has ever made.
“Daylight” (Harry’s House)
No, “Daylight” may not have any connection to the Taylor Swift song of the same name, but that’s OK. As is the theme for much of Harry’s House, everything about this song screams happiness, from its sugary sweet beat and Styles’ vocals. Everything, of course, but the lyrics, which are about a love interest that didn’t feel the same way. It’s a duality that works brilliantly, and it’s a song that is deeply catchy.
“As It Was” (Harry’s House)
Much of what I said about “Daylight” can be said about “As It Was,” the lead single for the most recent album. The sounds here are all very upbeat, while the lyrics are about a crumbling relationship. And again, it works, even more so than the song prior. Styles simply kills a synth pop sound when he decides to go for it, and this is a track that I’ve been singing along with for months because of its contagious energy. Bonus points for the little bell samples during the final chorus, it’s an excellent touch.
“Sweet Creature” (Harry Styles)
Simplicity can stand out when done well, and that’s exactly why “Sweet Creature” cracks the top 10. Styles writes about struggles in relationships a lot, but this is that at its most effective. The acoustic guitar is nice, but the vocals here are stunning. As the song continues to add just a touch of intensity by the end, it’s enough to realize what type of talent Styles is as an artist, even in his first solo record.
“She” (Fine Line)
“She” stands out as a lyrical highlight in Styles’ résumé. There is no confirmed meaning, but my (along with many others’) interpretation is that “She” is about a man struggling with his gender identity, living a man’s life with a family while dreaming at night about his true femininity. Whether it’s about that or about a man dreaming of an affair, the results are still immensely powerful throughout all six minutes of its runtime. Styles is excellent in ramping up the intensity in the chorus, and the guitar solo by Mitch Rowland is good enough to make you transcend. This is a song like no other that Styles has released, and it’s a clear “wow” moment on the sophomore record.
“Golden” (Fine Line)
What an opener. “Golden” starts like a musical punch to the face, but in a good way, and it keeps that same level of charm from start to finish. There’s nothing particularly special to talk about here: Styles sounds great, and the beat fits the mood of the lyrics well. Instead, “Golden” works so well because it’s a combination of everything that makes for a great pop song. It’s a breath of fresh air, a beaming ray of sunshine and it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be to kick off the album.
“Matilda” (Harry’s House)
It’s one thing to have a song meant to display an important message, but it’s another thing entirely to pull it off as well as Harry Styles does on “Matilda.” The song is about someone who did not have a good relationship with their family, and how it is OK to let go of your past if that past is doing more harm than good. There’s genuine emotion in how Styles delivers these lines, and it leads to a song perfectly capable of earning tears. It’s a powerful moment on Harry’s House, and a reminder of how much Styles is capable of as a musician.
“Kiwi” (Harry Styles)
“Kiwi” is a complete banger, a full-on rock song that is immensely fun and completely unexpected from the former One Direction member. It’s not that I thought Styles was incapable of a song like this before hearing it, I just didn’t anticipate that he would go for it with the level that he did, and it certainly paid off. Styles lets it loose here, both with his vocals and with the lyrics. The result is one of the most exciting tracks he has ever released.
“Fine Line” (Fine Line)
The title track on Styles’ second album is without a doubt his best closer thus far. Across six minutes, Styles displays his emotions around the theme of trying to stay balanced, walking that fine line between the peaks and valleys. He’s higher pitched here, and it comes across very sincere and heartfelt. He repeats the line “We’ll be a fine line” 20 times across the entirety of the song, each time ramping up the intensity more and more. It’s a slow build, a pressure cooker boiling over until the instrumental erupts in the closing minutes to brilliant effect.
“Late Night Talking” (Harry’s House)
“Late Night Talking” is the early favorite for best song on Harry’s House. This has the synths, it has the retro pop feel and it is, without a doubt, an absolute bop. Those pre-chorus sound effects leading into the equally intricate production on the chorus is a show-stealer in its own right. Add to it a terrific Styles performance, who brings a more laid-back demeanor to give the instrumental its proper time in the spotlight.
“Falling” (Fine Line)
“Falling” is Harry Styles at his lowest and most emotionally vulnerable. After opening Fine Line with mostly upbeat songs, we get here, with Styles alone, hurt and wondering if he’s even good enough to be in a relationship again. The lyrics hit hard enough, but paired with this harrowing vocal performance, it leads to something unforgettable. “Falling” sends chills down my spine every time I hear it, and all it takes is the artist and a piano.
“Adore You” (Fine Line)
Styles has had plenty of pop hits in his time as a solo artist, but “Adore You” is his very best. It’s a perfect song through and through. Styles has the intensity and the beat has a groove to it that gets your head bumping immediately. It all leads into a tremendous chorus, with some background “ahh” vocals that are gorgeously paired with Styles’ fiery delivery of “I’d walk through fire for you, just let me adore you.” The guitar riffs are great, Styles’ lyrics are great and the bridge by Amy Allen is great. Take any individual piece of “Adore You” on its own and you will see something brilliant going on. Put it all together, and it creates a pop symphony, a true masterpiece single off of Fine Line.
“Sign of the Times” (Harry Styles)
The best doesn’t always have to be saved for last, and Harry Styles decided to show the world the best of what he has to offer right out the gates. When “Sign of the Times” released on April 7, 2017, this was the first official single that Styles released as a solo artist post-One Direction. He could have taken his solo debut in so many different directions, and it would have been understood if he stayed in a similar lane to what fans had known and released a catchy pop song out of the gates. Instead, Styles drops this: A five-minute, 41-second ballad as large in scale as a Lord of the Rings movie, and as brilliantly executed as anybody could have imagined.
“Sign of the Times” is not Styles’ best song simply because of how grandiose it attempts to be. Instead, it is because of how well it is performed. The song immediately grabs your attention with deep piano keys, followed by Styles’ emotional delivery of the first lines: “Just stop your crying, it’s a sign of the times.” What follows is some of the best vocal work of his career. Styles sounds like he is letting it all out there, getting more and more intense as the instrumental backs up what he is trying to say. By the bridge, it is clear this song is something special. Then the outro hits, with Styles screaming “We got to get away” over and over again before more piano finishes the song out. So, so much happens in this song, and it’s all perfectly executed by a guy who, at the time, had not released a single song as a solo artist.
Does the song feel similar to something an all-time great like David Bowie would have made? Absolutely. But it also feels like Harry Styles proving to everyone what he can do and would do from here as an artist. To go this big and to nail it this spectacularly is remarkable, and that’s exactly what Styles did here, on what is still the best song he has ever made.
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