Harry Styles

Perhaps we should’ve known — it happened with Justin Bieber, after all. The Canadian crooner with a moppy haircut and baby-smooth vocals was strictly for the under-16 crowd for years; no self-respecting listener with any claim to good taste would be caught head-bopping along to the Biebs. Then, he grew up — and so did the music. With the release of “Purpose” in 2015, Bieber earned himself a new respect. Now, it’s Harry Styles’ turn.

The former One Direction boybander, now 23, didn’t lack for fans before, but with his turn as a solo artist this year, he’s suddenly being taken seriously — even if we’re still afraid to admit it. Why are these songs so catchy? When did his vocal chords drop from squeaky-clean prepubescent to rock-star-on-the-rise? Or does his allure have nothing to do with pop, but with his ability to pull off one bold printed Gucci suit after another?

As Jason Wu put it: “I have to say, I’m a little embarrassed, but I do like Harry Styles. It’s amazing! But I’m not 16 anymore!” No need to hide, Jason. It’s a sign of the times.

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