Harry Styles' first single, "Sign of the Times," dropped on Friday (Apr. 7) and it's a mind-bender that rakes in influences from Pink Floyd and David Bowie to Spacehog, Coldplay, the Beatles, Eric Carmen and Prince. It was hard to know what to expect from "the cute one," whose vocals in One Direction were sometimes overlooked because of his long, luxurious hair and celebrity dating profile.
But Styles swings for the fences on the nearly six-minute track, which serves as a kind of rock history lesson, folding in psychedelic soul, indie rock and spacey pop. Every artists is an accumulation of their influences, and in "Sign of the Times" they come fast and furious, as Styles appears to be both showing his range and making a clear effort to step boldly away from the manufactured, plastic pop of his past.
We thought we'd break all those touchstones down for you: