Lights up, do you know who you are?
Harry Styles proclaims on his new single off his second album, dropped with no fanfare or warning late Thursday night. Unequivocally, he seems to know the answer to that question, delivering a single, “Lights Up,” that further defines who he is a solo artist.
The music video for “Lights Up” finds Styles playing up his sexually fluid image, partying mostly shirtless with a crowd of writhing men and women, as well as dancing in a sparkling sequined blazer on the beach. There’s a definite vibe of sex and drugs (the rock’n’roll is implied) throughout the video, with Styles and those he dances with appearing unfettered and unfocused. Styles also rides backwards without holding to anything on the back of a motorcycle.
Styles has already spoken openly about the influence of psychedelics on the still un-titled album, relaying a story of how he bit off the tip of his tongue while on mushrooms to Rolling Stone. “It’s all about having sex and feeling sad,” he told Rolling Stone of the album. The video for his first single bears clear evidence of that statement with its bacchanalian orgiastic scenes of a mysterious party.
Late Thursday night, Styles posted an image of himself from the “Lights Up” video on Instagram with the caption, “Lights Up. Out now.” The single also seems to be an embrace of his fame from the often enigmatic Styles, as he uses the song to repeatedly refuse to step out of the light. Styles rose to fame at a young age after being made a part of the boy band One Direction while competing on Britain’s The X Factor.
He teased the single drop with a series of images on his Twitter and Instagram pages, including one of him in a sparkling silver unbuttoned shirt and matching suspenders.
Finally, he pinned a tweet to his Twitter page including a link to the single.
No release date has been named for Styles sophomore album yet, but he recorded it at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La and reunited with numerous producers and musicians from his 2017 debut. This single marks a slight departure from the more ’70s rock and folk vibes of his freshman effort with its pulsing dance beat.
Watch the video above for more.