It looks like the veritable Justin Timberlake of 1D is going in another direction. On Friday Billboard reported that Harry Styles signed a solo contract via a record deal with Columbia Records (Bustle has reached out to Styles for confirmation but has yet to hear back). It's a move that could crush an entire generation of pop tweeny-boppers and, following the departure of Zayn Malik from One Direction last year, leaves the band with three members and much less hope of a short hiatus. TBH, all a Directioner can do at this point is sob profusely and wait for that consolation Styles album. But how long will we wait? When is Styles' solo music going to come out, anyway?
As of right now, it's hard to make a proper judgement call as details on Styles' solo endeavors are still pretty scant. However, we can look to the solo albums of boy band member's past to get an idea of how this would go down.
Case One: the actual Timberlake. In July of 2001, *NSYNC released their final studio album to date, Celebrity. (I know you barely remember, but that's the one with "Pop," if it rings any bells.) *NSYNC's subsequent tour wrapped up in March of 2002, and the band was placed on a sort of indefinite hiatus immediately thereafter. There was no crystallized moment in which Timberlake resigned from the band, he just made a conscious decision to release his own solo work. This debuted in the form of Justified, the sizzling break-out record released in November of that same year.
There was a deep lull following the boy band renaissance in the late '90s and early 2000s, until pre-teens latched onto the Disney-sanctioned stylings of the Jonas Brothers. This brings us to Case Two: Joe Jonas. After a six year tenure with his siblings, Jonas announced he was working on a solo album in May of 2010. His first single, "See No More" was out by June of the following year, with the album of the same name debuting in September.
And that's all well and good, but what does this have to do with the One Direction heartthrob? Well, allow me to offer, for perhaps the best comparison: Case Three, aka Styles' former bandmate Malik. Malik announced his departure on March 25, 2015, a day that will live in infamy (again, mostly for hysterical pre-teens on Twitter). Initial songs were released almost on the immediate, with the demo for "I Won't Mind" making it to Soundcloud March 31 of that year and a cover of Rae Sremmurd's "No Type" leaked in June. Of course, we all know that Malik's "I have all the sex now" single "Pillowtalk" came out in January of the following year, and finally Mind of Mine debuted exactly one year after leaving 1D.
And that loops us back to the status of Styles' upcoming solo music. My best guess? It's already in the works: Billboard reported in December 2015 that Styles registered four solo songs in his name with The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. In a social media-based society that is hooked by teases and previews, there's no doubt that any one of those are going to leak any day now. It's just the way things are. As for his actual solo album, I predict a much speedier debut than that of Jonas and Malik (the latter of which, let's be honest, was just trying to make a power statement with his release date). It'll be out within a year or less, you just watch.
So although this is indeed a sad day (for literal children and a handful of adults, I guess), I wish the best of luck to Styles on his new venture... and I can definitely see it as a justified career move.
Images: Giphy (2)