As the second solo album of his music career, it was nominated for awards like Album of the Year at the 2020 Brit Awards and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards.
This new collection bears the title “Fine Line,” a testament to Styles’s mission to continually bend the rules of what is feminine and what is masculine.
The 12-song album hints at this message with the single “Lights Up,” which was dropped in early October, two months before the full album. This song highlights the question of identity, with a prominent recurring lyric being, “Do you know who you are?”
In conjunction with the song, Harry Styles created a website solely entitled DYKWYA, which asks the visitor for their name and provides a rather cryptic answer.
The generated responses on the website are promotion for the upcoming album, which links the message of identity to the overall purpose of “Fine Line.” Since the release of his first solo album after years in global boyband One Direction, Styles has been establishing his own identity.
As 2019 came to a close, Styles explained to The Guardian that although he is questioned about being bisexual, there is no need to ask. Instead, he has decided to have fun and be what makes himself happy.
“I want things to look a certain way. Not because it makes me look gay, or it makes me look straight, or it makes me look bisexual, but because I think it looks cool,” Styles told The Guardian December 2019.
Back in 2018, Styles set the precedent for his defiance against gender roles in a Vice-iD interview alongside actor Timothée Chalamet.
Both the stars agreed that they do not adhere to traditional dimensions of masculinity, and that those notions are changing in the new generation.
“I think there’s so much masculinity in being vulnerable and allowing yourself to be feminine,” said Styles, “and I’m very comfortable with that.”
Even further down the timeline, Styles stated that he had “never felt the need” to label his own sexuality.
Harry Styles’ music and public image is a new kind of campaign for diversity regarding gender and sexuality.
The difference between blurring and erasing the “fine line” between femininity and masculinity is acknowledging the existence of a spectrum with two ends.
Rather than asserting that gender identity is either a dichotomy or nonexistent, Styles expresses a whole range of gender expression through his performance, his clothing, and his words.
Intentional or not, Harry Styles’s music has contributed a great deal to defining this generation. His persona is looked up to by young people all over the world, of every shape, size, color, gender, orientation, or identification.
Styles has a monumental platform at his disposal, and “Fine Line” is just another step in using that platform to cut down the divide between femininity and masculinity, what is gay and straight, who we are and what we think we’re supposed to be.
Speculation as to the message of “Fine Line” already floods the internet. Fans wonder if Styles is admitting to long-suspected love affairs, challenging the perception of his sexuality, addressing the rumors surrounding his gender identity, or all of the above.
Once the entire album was released, the huge splash created in the music industry spoke for itself.
But already a stone has been cast at the entire notion of masculinity, and all we have is a title.