Just stop your crying / It’s a sign of the times
We gotta get away from here / We gotta get away from here
Just stop your crying / It’ll be alright
It’s been compared to David Bowie. It’s climbing charts rapidly around the world. It was played at least three times on the radio during my 30-minute commute this morning.
Sign of the Times from Harry Styles is powerful and soulful and thumps you right in the gut.
More than this, it’s surprising. It’s the debut solo single from the former One Direction star – a piano ballad so far removed in tone and style from any of the group’s hits, no one saw it coming.
The surprises haven’t stopped.
Now, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Styles has explained the meaning behind the track. Once again, it’s not what we were expecting.
“The song is written from a point of view as if a mother was giving birth to a child and there’s a complication,” the 23-year-old said.
"The mother is told, 'The child is fine, but you're not going to make it.' The mother has five minutes to tell the child, 'Go forth and conquer'."
"Most of the stuff that hurts me about what's going on at the moment is not politics, it's fundamentals," Styles continued.
"Equal rights. For everyone, all races, sexes, everything... Sign of the Times came from 'This isn't the first time we've been in a hard time, and it's not going to be the last time'."
Styles also spoke of his purpose as an artist. More than anything, he told the magazine, he wants to be honest.
Listen: The Golden Globe speech that got the world talking. (Post continues after audio.)
"I didn't want to write 'stories'. I wanted to write my stories, things that happened to me," he said.
"The number-one thing was I wanted to be honest. I hadn't done that before."
Despite his success as a solo artist, Styles has not ruled out a reunion with his fellow One Direction band members.
In August 2015, following the surprise departure of Zayn Malik, the once-five-member-group announced a hiatus.
"I love the band, and would never rule out anything in the future. The band changed my life, gave me everything," he said.