Cameron Crowe — Cameron fucking Crowe — returned to his Rolling Stone roots this week to chronicle a year in the life of Harry Styles, the former lead singer of boy band One Direction. I know very little about Styles or One Direction beyond “Perfect,” the inescapable One Direction pop song that dominated airwaves in 2015. Styles, however, appeared as musical guest on Saturday Night Live over the weekend and racked up nearly as much screentime as host Jimmy Fallon, but to a generation his senior, he didn’t leave much of an impression.
But the fact that Crowe would spend a year chronicling Styles’ life, from his split with One Direction to the release of his first solo effort, gives Styles some cachet. And then Styles goes and says the most Cameron Crowe thing ever, and elicits a swoon from me for a 23-year-old, poofy-headed ex-boyfriend of Taylor Swift.
Styles is aware that his largest audience so far has been young - often teenage - women. Asked if he spends pressure-filled evenings worried about proving credibility to an older crowd, Styles grows animated. “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music - short for popular, right? - have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans - they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.”
That is the exact right response, Styles, and the most terrifically uncool thing to say in that situation. He doesn’t need to act tough, or pee in a janitor’s bucket to “appear” more mature, like some who have come before him. As Katherine Speller wrote on Twitter: “My kink is Harry Styles respecting teen girls and their pure unironic enjoyment of things, thank u.”
I am feeling that kink myself. The kid can also quote Paul Simonon from the Clash: “Pink is the only true rock & roll colour.” Props to Crowe, as well, who compares the studio complex Styles’ album was recorded in to The Big Pink, and for covering Styles’ relationship with Taylor Swift respectfully instead of salaciously.