April 18, 2017


Harry Styles Reveals 'Sign of the Times' Is About...Childbirth?

Theo Wenner for Rolling Stone
Theo Wenner for Rolling Stone

Despite the media cloud that continuously drowns Harry Styles since his One Direction days, the former boy band member has remained pretty private. But he's opening up in a candid interview with Rolling Stone, which comes before his solo debut album releases next month.

The chat is conducted by famed director Cameron Crowe, who manages to tap into Styles' thoughts about the upcoming record, the group's breakup and (gasp!) the hushed relationship with Taylor Swift. First up, the wackiest part of the interview is the singer revealing the true meaning of new single "Sign of the Times." Would you ever have imagined that it's about childbirth?

Styles explains to Crowe:

"Most of the stuff that hurts me about what's going on at the moment is not politics, it's fundamentals. 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.' 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 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.'"

He also breaks his infamous silence on his short but impactful relationship with Swift. While the pair allegedly only dated for a month, their sightings together had fans and the media in a frenzy. After teasing Crowe ("Actually, you can say, 'He went for a pee and never came back.' "), Styles hesitates but eventually opens up about the pop star.

"Certain things don't work out. There's a lot of things that can be right, and it's still wrong. In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together," he states. "You're celebrating the fact it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than 'this didn't work out, and that's bad.' And if you run into that person, maybe it's awkward, maybe you have to get drunk ... but you shared something. Meeting someone new, sharing those experiences, it's the best shit ever. So thank you." And if you were wondering, Styles does think 1989's "Style" and "Out of the Woods"—the songs reportedly written about him—are great.

Harry Styles' self-titled debut album (which he mostly recorded in Port Antonio, Jamaica) drops on May 12. While you wait, click here to read the Rolling Stone article in full and then throw it back with this classic One Direction interview with all the former members from 2013: