Harry Styles has been pretty vague about the meaning behind the music on his self-titled solo album, which is out Friday. In large part, it’s because he says he doesn’t want to define his music for anyone, but rather let his fans interpret it how they most prefer. But, it seems, it’s also in attempt to stay politically neutral in these very divisive times.
Speaking with the New York Times, Styles was asked about how the world’s political and social climate while he was recording this album affected the material, with reporter Joe Coscarelli specifically mentioning Brexit, Black Lives Matter and Donald Trump in his question.
The One Direction member responded by basically affirming that these matters did have an effect — specifically on lead single “Sign of the Times — but did not really state how.
“We’re in a difficult time, and I think we’ve been in many difficult times before. But we happen to be in a time where things happening around the world are absolutely impossible to ignore. I think it would’ve been strange to not acknowledge what was going on at all,” he said. “For example, ‘Sign of the Times,’ for me, it’s looking at several different things. That’s me commenting on different things.”
When prompted on what kinds of things he’s commenting on, Styles again refused to get specific and said more basically it’s about those things that were mentioned before — Brexit, Black Lives Matter and Trump.
“Everything you were talking about — just the state of the world at the moment,” he said. “It’s very much me looking at that. It’s a time when it’s very easy to feel incredibly sad about a lot of things. It’s also nice sometimes to remember that while there’s a lot of bad stuff, there’s also a lot of amazing people doing amazing things in the world.”
Read the full interview here.