Harry Styles’ sweet, nostalgia-infused new single ‘Watermelon Sugar’

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On Nov. 16, Harry Styles took the stage at NBC’s Studio 8H to host “Saturday Night Live” for the first time. The 25-year-old English singer had previously performed as a solo artist on the show in 2017 and as a part of One Direction in 2014, but his most recent appearance on the show gave him the opportunity to share new music with audiences in a unique way.

Styles appeared on the show as both a host and a musical guest to promote his upcoming album Fine Line, which is set to release in December. After performing the first single from the record, “Lights Up,” Styles surprised audiences with a first-time live performance of “Watermelon Sugar.” The single, which was released during the show’s airing, serves as a sharp, sunny departure from the dark pop sound of “Lights Up.” 

As the newest addition to Styles’ musical repertoire, the single further demonstrates his growth and maturity as an artist. As a single, “Watermelon Sugar” is another promising indication of the excitement and versatility that Styles can bring on Fine Line.

On “SNL,” Styles wore a bright red suit and pink jacket to debut the song. After a seemingly rocky technical start in which the singer repeatedly adjusted his in-ear monitor, Styles launched into a warm, exuberant performance. 

The melody, now streaming on all major platforms, opens with soft strumming and keys that quickly give way to the gentle percussion beats, bass line and acoustic guitar strums that serve as a foundation for the track. From there, “Watermelon Sugar” is quickly transformed into a bold, sunny pop-funk track that incorporates a rich electric guitar and brass ensemble sound — a novel but radio-friendly release.

Unlike the mysterious, pensive lyrics of Styles’ previous single, the simple, sweet and repetitive lyrics of “Watermelon Sugar” make it an especially easy listen. The song follows a familiar pop music formula, but the familiarity serves it well — the song is a lush, comfortable new addition to the singer’s discography. And this addition is one that is sure to be played on repeat by both fans and new listeners alike.

Anagha Komaragiri is the arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Tweet her at @aaanaghaaa.