With Harry Styles’s debut solo album Harry Styles dropping on Friday (May 12), the British singer is ready to drop his One Direction boy-band image. Just don’t ask him to be too specific about it. In an interview with the New York Times, the pop star revealed that the first single off the album, the David Bowie–inspired “Sign of the Times,” was influenced by the world’s “difficult time,” and in the song he was “commenting on different things.” What things? Unclear, but definitely “sad” things and “bad stuff,” but also “amazing people doing amazing things in the world.” The interviewer also asked Styles about the lyrics of another song, “From the Dining Table,” which begins, “Woke up alone in this hotel room/Played with myself/Where were you?” In response, Styles seemed to balk at the reporter’s mention of his raw “line about masturbation,” and gave the most diplomatic reading of his intent:
With that one, I think it’s up to everyone’s interpretation, which is obviously an incredibly diplomatic answer. The line in particular, in context of the verse, paints the picture of the feeling that I was going at. It’s much more powerful when not taken simply as what it is.
Styles then asked his interviewer, “Was that an all right answer for that question? I think it was all right! I think we danced around that O.K.”
Talk about a smooth recovery.