Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

Harry Styles – Late Night Talking

Feelings > talking…


Leah Isobel: “Late Night Talking” is luxe, lightly funky, gently wonky, and utterly sexless. It finds and demonstrates the precise amount of personality needed to make it feel present and identifiable as “Harry Styles Music” and stops right there. When people online talk about himbos, this is what they mean — not unintelligent, but blank and frictionless. Perfect, in a sense.

Thomas Inskeep: I found “As It Was” a not-at-all-original ’80s pastiche, but this takes influences from ’80s pop and makes them its own. (And the chorus sounds naggingly like it’s cribbed from a track on Dua Lipa’s debut, which is a plus.) The lyrical conceit works from Styles, too.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Increasingly clear that this guy’s touchpoint for 80s funk rock is not Prince but Phil Collins doing Prince. At least when Dua Lipa did a “Blame it on the Boogie” riff she sounded like she was having fun. Here, Styles continues to perform his cosplay pop with characteristic ambivalence, trying too hard to seem cool and laid-back but not committing hard enough to seem like a good hang.

Harlan Talib Ockey: Unearthed a priceless historical artifact yesterday: the first known article to compare Harry Styles to Robert Palmer. Stereogum argues their shared poise reads merely as bland — and perhaps it did, at the time — but by now, Styles has assumed all the elements of Robert Palmer that detractors hated most. “Late Night Talking” is varnished with the same brand of soulless, impenetrable slickness, sung over the ceaseless bounce of a broken pinball machine. The lyrics, too, are polished air, consisting only of the dullest and most simplistic way to express each sentiment. Lines like “I just wanna make you happier” and “I can’t get you off my mind” may be smooth and objectively correct, but the result is so empty as to be gravely, impossibly boring.

Al Varela: Harry Styles is so good at making excellent pop music. He’s not a stand-out incredible pop star or anything, but that doesn’t matter much when “Late Night Talking” has so much infectious momentum behind it. It’s catchy in the feel-good way where you can find yourself dancing to it as you head down the sidewalk, living in Harry’s awkward charm and indulging in the little moments that make the song so good. My favorite part is that little “wooOOO” right before the second pre-chorus.

Scott Mildenhall: There is an appeal to the contrast between the unshakeably languid performance of Styles and the chirpy synths jittering around him, but at the same time he would do well to sound just a little bit more invested. It gives the sense that he isn’t truly feeling this, which would be a shame — regardless, the song succeeds in spite of him more than because of him.

Alfred Soto: As his confidence has grown (without yet earning the mush offered on his behalf a few years ago), Harry Styles has perfected a mean-what-I-say forthrightness. Innuendo suits him as well as a mustache. “Watermelon Sugar”? I mean, really. Crisp and meaningless, “Late Night Talking” almost prompts an ugh, but its staccato chorus and expert programming won me over. Go on, Harry — keep chattering.

Reader average: [7] (3 votes)

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