Harry Styles, Saturday Night Live, New Music, Music

Harry Styles, Saturday Night Live

Harry Styles releases new song 'Watermelon Sugar' after SNL gig

Harry Styles releases new song 'Watermelon Sugar' after SNL gig


Harry Styles releases new song 'Watermelon Sugar' after SNL gig

Styles had the rare honour of hosting and performing on the latest episode of Saturday Night Live

A new wave of British guitar bands was already being pioneered by the likes of The Libertines, Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand when the Sheffield-formed Arctic Monkeys arrived on the scene. But their 2006 debut – the defiantly titled

has a rhythm to it like little else released by The Beatles. Songs like “Twist and Shout” and “I Saw Her Standing There” have an energy that reflects the youthful vim of the band themselves, who were raring to go following the number one single from which the album takes its name. Their harmonies are thrilling to hear, and this is arguably the best album for capturing the band’s raw power.

In 2003, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs stuck a middle finger up to the naysayers who scoffed that they were little more than a bunch of posers. Their debut album

brought maximalist pop back to the forefront of the late-Noughties music scene, in an industry that was desperately lacking in pop divas. Lady Gaga already sounded famous and she acted famous – but that doesn’t mean her music couldn’t stand on its own. Songs like “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” and “Just Dance” seemed to convey Gaga’s love of fame and hedonism while remaining supremely self-aware of its superficiality. To top it off, it was masterfully produced and resplendent with slick, catchy dancepop and Eurodisco influences.

Kendrick Lamar subtitled his debut record “A Short Film by Kendrick Lamar”, and indeed it feels as though you’re watching the movie of his early life – such is the autobiographical nature of this record. He raps in low, furtive tones, interrupted by voicemails from his family (his mother asks him pleadingly to return her car) that reinforce the familial themes. It is family, and faith, that keep Lamar on the outskirts of a world of violence and sin. Even this early on his career you hear the virtuosity and acute understanding of rhythm –

. “Because it was like, ‘Why is everything we hear so f***ing awful?’ That was the main driving force: how bad things were.” Psychocandy was certainly like nothing anyone else released at that time. Inspired by the Velvet Underground and The Stooges, the Reid brothers loaded their debut with buzzy guitars and hair-raising levels of feedback on singles like “You Trip Me Up” and “Never Understand”. It paved the way for countless shoegaze and alt-rock bands in the decades that followed.

is the sheer technical skill and lyrical ability that few have been able to match since.

Not only did it lay the groundwork for so many punk, rock and heavy metal bands that came after them – but the manic rhythms and raw intensity of their power-chord ballads featured on The Who's

(the character Riff Raff even seemed to take his cues from a balding Brian Eno).

Still regarded by many as his greatest album to date,

's Lester Bangs described the Black Sabbath as “just like Cream! But worse”, and their debut album as “a shuck – despite the murky song titles and some inane lyrics that sound like Vanilla Fudge paying doggerel tribute to Aleister Crowley, the album has nothing to do with spiritualism, the occult, or anything much except stiff recitations of Cream clichés”. The Village Voice weren’t keen either, with critic Robert Christgau condemning it as “bulls**t necromancy.” Yet this is the album that invented heavy metal. Black Sabbath arrived ready to lure fans over to the dark side with Ozzy Osbourne’s piercing, operatic cry: “My name is Lucifer, please take my hand.” Critics be damned.

“The album will last. The sleeve may not,” said the adverts for the Sex Pistols’ first and only studio album in 1977. The Sex Pistols were already controversial before the release of

as well as by producing hits for Janet Jackson and Ludacris, Kanye West spent four years recording

11) Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)

. Flipping between two tones – sharp and cold, and sensual and smoky – the former Fugees member stepped out from rap’s misogynist status quo and drew an audience outside of hip hop thanks to her melding of soul, reggae and R&B, and the recruitment of the likes of Mary J Blige and D’Angelo. Its sonic appeal has a lot to do with the lo-fi production and warm instrumentation, often comprised of a low thrumming bass, tight snares and doo-wop harmonies. But Hill’s reggae influences are what drive the album’s spirit: preaching love and peace but also speaking out against unrighteous oppression. Even today, it’s one of the most uplifting and inspiring records around.

back in 1995. The things he witnessed and experienced were poured into

5) The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

to assert himself as a guitar genius who could combine pop, blues, rock, R&B, funk and psychedelia in a way no other artist had before. That’s even without the essential contributions of drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding, who handed Are You Experienced the rhythmic bridge between jazz and rock. Few album openers are as exquisite as “Purple Haze”. Few tracks are as gratifying, as sexy, as the strut on “Foxy Lady”. And few songs come close to the existential bliss caused by “The Wind Cries Mary”. Hendrix’s attack on the guitar contrasted against the more polished virtuosos in rock at the time – yet it is his raw ferocity that we find ourselves coming back to. Few debuts have changed the course of rock music as Hendrix did with his.

“Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine,” go the immortal opening words of Patti Smith’s debut album

was exciting, aggressive and loaded with attitude: a 22-year-old Liam Gallagher spits and snarls over the reverb-soaked guitars of “Cigarettes & Alcohol”, and soars on that falsetto for “Live Forever”. Among the “too cool for school” alt-rockers who spurned the glitz and glamour of fame, Oasis asserted themselves as the definitive rock and roll stars.

for the 30th anniversary of the Scottish alt-rocker’s debut album

is a masterpiece, and the only album the perfectionist Jeff Buckley was satisfied with before he drowned, aged 30, in a freak accident in Memphis in 1997. Yet had Grace been the only material ever released under his name (live recordings, covers and demos were released posthumously), it would have been enough to prove he was a rare and exceptional talent. His exquisite rendering of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, his melismatic singing on “Grace” and the church-like hush of “Lover, You Should Come Over” – all of this and more carved out a rich legacy that ensures Buckley’s music will never fade.

The whipsmart, cynical, outrageous young man on Eminem’s major label debut was a breath of fresh air – or perhaps more of a slap in the face – after a spate of soulful, conscious hip hop records. Of course, the rampant misogyny and homophobia his so-called “character” Slim Shady spat out caused uproar, regardless of how surreal the scenarios to which they were applied were. Arguably what stands out the most on

had on rock music – critics have argued that the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand wouldn’t have existed if not for this band. They eschewed pre-programmed beats and autotuned vocals in favour of a gritty post-punk approach, and the result was an album that reinvigorated a floundering music industry, and inspired an entire generation of bands.

The idea of a rap album was virtually inconceivable until Run-DMC released their full-length, self-titled debut in 1984. When he inducted them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Eminem called them “the first movie stars of rap… they are The Beatles”. Busta Rhymes proclaimed: “Run-DMC didn’t change music, they changed everything.” The trio’s aggressive yet stark tracks – like “Sucker MCS” and “Hard Times” – were a dramatic contrast against the R&B-driven rap of the time, an approach emulated by the rappers themselves, who spurned outlandish costumes in favour of tracksuits and sneakers. As an anniversary piece in Billboard noted, “they were authentic before authenticity in hip hop was even a thing”.

Brian Eno’s experimental synths met Bryan Ferry’s romantic, old-school charm on the debut album from Roxy Music's bizarre art-glam-rock outfit. There were odes to Humphrey Bogart (“2HB”) and cyber-rock jams (“Ladytron”), and songs decorated with spooky-sounding hooks that wouldn’t sound out of place in

was originally intended as “just a load of singles”, until Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo realised they had enough quality tracks for a full-length release. Each one opens with a kind of motif upon which multiple textures build and sprawl outwards – sleazy guitar hooks, G-funk whines and glittering synths. It’s the album that alerted the rest of the world to the French house music scene.

Sex and poetry go hand in hand, especially if you’re a Jim Morrison fan. While few bands manage to divide critical opinion as much as The Doors, their debut album’s organ-driven rock was as tight as their frontman’s famous leather trousers. They brought theatricality to the Sixties music scene and went onto inspire as broad a range of artists as The Stranglers to Skrillex. The baroque pop stylings and lustful lyrics on “Light My Fire” proved to be a breakthrough, and helped propel them to number two on the US Billboard 200.

12) Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

stands as a classic of psychedelic rock. Helmed by an unravelling Syd Barrett – ousted a year after the album’s release – it shows the band at their most playful, with several tracks going onto become staples of their live shows. Songs such as “Bike”, meanwhile, proved the band were not averse to a good pop hook along with the acid guitars and hazy production.

Lauryn Hill raised the game for an entire genre with the immense and groundbreaking record,

, but it is that record that delivered rap against a backdrop of Led Zeppelin and James Brown-inspired guitar licks.

The rapper Notorious BIG, born Christopher Wallace, had been taking part in rap battles around Fulton Street, Brooklyn since he was 13 years old, but it was only at the urging of his friends that he quit a lucrative drugs operation and devoted himself to music. Living on a knife’s edge was all Biggie Smalls knew as a kid, when he was “waking up every morning, hustling, cutting school, looking out for my moms, the police, stickup kids; just risking my life every day on the street selling drugs”, as he told

that heralded the beginning of gangsta rap and also launched the careers of Dr Dre, Eazy-E and Ice Cube. The latter made it clear they weren’t positioning themselves as people to look up to: “Do I look like a mother***ing role mode?” he demands on “Gangsta Gangsta”. Their track “F*** tha Police” – a protest track against racism and police brutality – led to them receiving a threatening letter from the FBI, which only contributed to their growing fame.

Dubbed the Banana Album for its famous Andy Warhol cover art, The Velvet Underground & Nico is proof of what a band can do when they are completely fearless. With Nico – the beautiful German vocalist added to the band at Warhol’s request – you have this exquisite balance of cool femininity and fiery machismo. Sex and hedonism are everywhere on this record, from “Venus in Furs” to “Run Run Run”, but it’s not so much glamour as glam rock – gritty tales of drug addiction and raw desire. Speaking of its initially low sales figures, Brian Eno observed that, nonetheless, “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band”. David Bowie called it “the future of music”, and 52 years later, it still feels like it.

A virtual unknown to rock fans just a year before – Jimi Hendrix used

, where Nas vaulted himself into the ranks of the greatest MCs in 1994, with an album that countless artists since have tried – and failed – to emulate. Enlisting the hottest producers around – Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Q-Tip, L.E.S and Large Professor – was a move that Complex blamed for “ruining hip hop”, while still praising Nas’s record, because it had a lasting impact on the use of multiple producers on rap albums. Nas used the sounds of the densley-populated New York streets he grew up on. You hear the rattle of the steel train that opens the record, along with the cassette tape hissing the verse from a teenage Nasty Nas on Main Source’s 1991 track “Live at the BBQ”: ‘When I was 12, I went to Hell for snuffing Jesus.”

Named “Love on Tour”, the shows will launch in the UK in April 2020, with support from King Princess, followed by dates in North America and Mexico.

Read more: The Independent

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