Harry Styles’ Lights Up is a soulful commentary by a singer embracing his own identity

Harry Styles in Lights Up music video
Harry Styles releases Lights Up, a new solo single. Pic credit: Harry Styles/YouTube

Former One Direction member Harry Styles has released a new single called Lights Up. The song, the first single from his untitled upcoming second solo album, was released on October 11 through Erskine and Columbia Records.

Styles has also released a delightful music video for the song.

Sign of the Times, released in April 2017, was his first solo single.

Styles worked on Lights Up with writers and producers he had worked with in the past. Kid Harpoon (Tom Hull) and Tyler Johnson co-wrote and co-produced the song with Styles.

Johnson also co-wrote and co-produced Styles’ debut hit single Sign of the Times.

According to Rolling Stone, part of Styles’ new song was recorded at a studio in Shangri-La, Malibu, owned by the producer Rick Rubin.

Lights Up is an introspective song with a mellow, breezy, and soulful rhythm. The song features guitars and a prominent bass line, with piano notes adorning the bridge and chorus. It represents a fresh take following Sign of the Times.

Lights Up has received generally positive critical reviews.

The song includes enigmatic references to conflict between light and dark. He sings in the chorus:

“All the lights couldn’t put out the dark
Runnin’ through my heart
Lights up and they know who you are
Know who you are
Do you know who you are? (Oh)”

Styles acknowledged in a recent interview with Rolling Stone that Lights Up is “all about having sex and feeling sad.”

Styles’ private lifestyle means that not enough is known about the details of his personal life and relationships. We only know that he has dated The Xtra Factor presenter Caroline Flack (2011-2012), Taylor Swift (2012), and French Victoria’s Secret model Camille Rowe (2017).

Some of Harry Styles’ fans, who have interpreted his openly pro-LGBTQ stance and his gender-fluid dress sense as evidence that he is bisexual, see his latest single and the accompanying video as supporting their assumptions about his sexuality.

The music video for Lights Up has “struck a chord” with members of the bisexual community, Entertainment Weekly claims.

Lights Up lyrics include allusions to a search for identity and stepping out into the light and never going back. The video for the song oozes sexuality. Styles appears shirtless, sweaty, steamy, and sexy, with backup dancers of both sexes crowding around him and caressing his bare skin.

Messaging that preceded the official release of the song and video also appeared to hint at a search by the artist for his true identity. Billboards featuring the Columbia Records logo appeared in cities around the world with the question, “Do You Know Who You Are?”

The billboards also had the acronym TPWK, understood to mean “Treat People with Kindness.”

Some fans feel that the fact that Lights Up was released on National Coming Out Day supports the argument that this could be a veiled coming-out song.

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