Monday, August 24, 2015

Why Harry Styles Is Not Mick Jagger

It may be a little unfair picking on the lead singer of the Simon Cowell-produced, teen boy band phenomenon One Direction now that the members recently announced that they'll be going on hiatus starting next year to pursue solo careers. On the other hand, the announced split gives added ammo to my rant, which is that I'm tired of seeing comparisons between Harry Styles, One Direction's lead, and Mick Jagger...both regarding their physical appearances and their talent. 

Yes, in case you weren't aware, there's an awful lot of sites out there that have posted side-by-side shots of Styles and Jagger proclaiming them lookalikes. The comparisons accelerated after Jagger actually hung out with Styles earlier this year, supposedly after a lot of people told Mick that the kid looked like him when he was younger. Even Boy George declared that Styles is "sexually ambiguous"and "clearly wants to be Jagger."

Here's a few of those comparison photos that a few well meaning peeps put on Pinterest, Tumblr, and entertainment news sites. You be the judge.

Not that it matters, but I don't think they look anything alike. A passing resemblance, maybe, but certainly not doppelgangers as they've been labeled in some places. For starters, Styles doesn't even have Jagger's infamous lips! Besides, if David Bowie hasn't slept with Styles yet, then he doesn't resemble Jagger.

Oh! Bad joke? 

Personally, and this is totally not an insult, but there is something about Styles that reminds me more of a young David Johansen, aka Buster Poindexter.

And how's this for weirdness? I came across this old photo of Johansen where I feel he looks more like Mick Jagger than Harry Styles does:

Anyhow, photographic comparisons aside, that isn't what's important. What is, is this glaring sentence on a site called Sugarscape that made me cringe a little:

"While they're naturally both icons/iconic/bloody legends in their own right, at a glance they're actually quite similar, aren't they?"

Did a flying pig just go past my window? I had to read the sentence twice to make sure I was seeing it correctly. 

Dear Sugarscape, let's get one thing straight here. Only one of these performers is a bloody legend and an icon.

I have nothing against Harry Styles, by the way (although maybe Taylor Swift still has a grudge against him.) He and the other members of One Direction seem like decent guys. But it's absurd to label him an icon. He's only 21 years old, has only been on the music scene for a few years, and isn't exactly known for writing prolific music. I don't even think Jagger was considered an icon until the Stones had been together for a decade or two. Really, the only thing these two have in common at this point is that they are both British, both adored singing when they were kids, and they both know what it's like to have women throw themselves at their feet (although, I am sure the sexcapade stories Mick could tell Harry would put hair on his chest.) 

Also, in my humble female opinion, Mick has way more sex appeal. Just saying. Harry doesn't exactly have the Jagger swagger from what I've seen from One Direction's music videos and concert performances. 

I remember some similar comparisons between Kurt Cobain and John Lennon after Cobain's death in the early '90s. I don't think of him as a legend, either. It's possible he may have been had he lived and continued his musical career for another 20+ years, even though he was 27 when he died, the same age as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin (who were legends in my opinion, since they recorded so much great music and achieved stronger fame than Cobain within the same short period of time.) We'll never know. 

I also tried very hard to listen to some of One Direction's bubblegum pop other than the only one I was already familiar with ("What Makes You Beautiful"). No offense to their fans -- most of whom are children -- but it was torture trying to endure some of these mundane, auto-tuned sounding songs to the very end. One high spot was the folk-tinged "Story Of My Life" which ironically, was one of the few singles actually written by the group. (When I had heard enough, I washed my ears out with the Stones' "Hangfire".)

What I see happening here -- as I've seen more often during the past 20 years -- is the wishful thinking that a new singer or group is somehow going to be the second coming in the music business. Oasis got compared to the Beatles, Michael Buble got compared to Frank Sinatra, and now Styles is suddenly getting compared to Jagger, all because someone thinks his hair flops the same way. 

The sad truth is there will probably never be another band like the Beatles, at least not during my lifetime. There will never be another Frank Sinatra, another Elvis, another Rolling Stones. 

Chalk it up to luck, magic, the heavens aligning, something in the air, etc. but for whatever reason, the 20th century gave us the greatest variety of musical talent that may never happen again. And sadly, today's music business is all about who can appeal to the masses, not the talented songwriters and bands that I only learn about through my local independent radio station and a few stations on Sirius. 

The rumor surrounding Styles is that he's ready to hightail it to Hollywood to pursue an acting career after One Direction begins their hiatus. I think that's a wise decision for a "musician" who doesn't play instruments on stage and has a limited amount of songwriting experience under his belt. He may just end up carving his own path in front of the camera and giving up on music altogether. 

And hopefully that means any unfair comparisons between him and the lead showman of "The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band" can be put to rest. 


  1. >>Did a flying pig just go past my window? I had to read the sentence twice to make sure I was seeing it correctly.<<


    I'm totally with you. I agree there may be some vague characteristics that are similar (brown hair...sings...both have all their limbs), there is nothing about Harry that reminds me of Mick. And the whole vibe is different, musically and mojo-wise.

    But I like them both.

  2. To be fair, empty bands like "One Direction" existed way back then as well.

    No autotune though.

  3. I feel like he has a lot to offer in the music industry, but he's still young. He has a very characteristic voice, great style and presence, and, you know my humble opinion as a fan of him is that I can't stand One Direction's first three albums... They sound incredibly commercial and not genuine (but it's not like the industry it's very genuine nowadays) but still, the last two albums made me love the group, especially Made in the AM -it's not as bad as you may think it is- but of course if you don't like pop you're not going to like it, but for me this album sounds way better and more mature, and after listening to the songs he wrote for it I feel like he does have something to offer to the industry, obviously nothing very perplexing but yeah, I like the guy. And I think that if you're in a band you never have the chance to fully deliver what you want to deliver, you don't explore your voice enough and you never get the opportunity to innovate your sound, more if you're surrounded by other three vocalists and songwriters that you didn't know before 2010, it's kinda awkward for me, like, they were forced to get along, not like normal bands who are a bunch of friends who have great ideas together and decide to make a band. And yeah, I don't really see the resemblance that much.


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