(Un)Covered: Sign of the Times

Harry Styles vs Foxtrax By | September 20, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Sign of the Times”
Writers: Alex Salibian, Jeff Bhasker, Harry Styles, Tyler Johnson, Ryan Nasci, Mitch Rowland
Original Release Date: April 7, 2017

For someone who claims she’s not a One Direction fan, I’ve spent an awful lot of time listening to the boy band recently…and most of their solo projects.

Maybe you’re the number one Directioner on the planet or maybe you’ve spent the past seven years trying not to listen to a 1D song—either way, when the band members split and started releasing solo music, it became even harder to avoid them (I’m not saying I’ve accidentally fallen in love with Niall Horan or anything, but “Slow Hands” is a jam). Harry Styles released his self-titled album a few months ago, and since then, his first single—“Sign of the Times”—has been played pretty much everywhere. This melancholy number clocks in at nearly six minutes long, and it’s surprisingly intricate for something with such a simple melody: there’s elements of pop-rock and glam rock and maybe even a little bit of psychedelic soul. It’s not what anyone expected from the “cute” member of 1D, but it was certainly an interesting direction for him to go in.

Indie band Foxtrax took on “Sign of the Times” and made it completely their own. From the rhythmic bass that speaks to your soul to the slightly faster tempo, it sounds like a different song and you’ll love it. Because of the upbeat vibe, it’s a lot less moody than the original, almost joyous at times despite the sad lyrics. “Will we ever learn? We’ve been here before” sounds less like admonishment and more like something you’d say in good humor when you realize what a silly mistake you’ve made. And while Harry Styles was clearly inspired by music from the seventies, Foxtrax gives the single a more light-hearted vibe that would be better suited for the sixties.

Basically, if you want to wallow in sadness, you’re better off with the Harry Styles original, but Foxtrax manages to coat the darkness with lightness and it’s a nice change.