Harry Styles’ ‘Sign of the Times’ Gets Channel Cover for ‘Bridgerton’
Harry Styles just announced he has an album coming in May, but superfans might not have to wait that long to hear a new version of “Sign of the Times.” A string arrangement of Styles’ debut single, originally released in 2017, appears in the frothy period drama “Bridgerton,” which premieres its second season on Netflix this Friday, March 25. The melody starts and stops several times during a pivotal scene.
“The recording has a few short breaks before exploding into that beautiful big string swell at the end,” reveals Justin Kamps, “Bridgerton’s” music supervisor. “Sometimes having stops and starts in the song helps our editors really land those dramatic reveals. When fans see the episode, they will understand why it was used in this way. All the swirling swells and strings are very deliberate and built for that perfect moment.
The moment was a big blow for boutique publishing house and label Angry Mob Music, whose co-founder/executive producer/senior creative director Sean Harrison, as well as Debra Delshad, senior director of licensing and timing, and songwriter and performer Steve Horner, worked closely together to create the perfect timing for “Bridgerton.”
The Angry Mob team were already creating a selection of instrumental covers when the first season of “Bridgerton” premiered – performed by the Vitamin String Quartet of Los Angeles, these covers exceeded a billion streams in just a few weeks. Hearing renditions of contemporary pop songs spurred the Angry Mob into action, with Delshad and Kamps having some pointed conversations on the show’s Season 2 stages.
“Lots of dancing, balls, parties, weddings,” Delshad says of what Kamps was able to share with her about the upcoming season. “Sean and I brainstormed and came up with a list of ideas and songs.”
Delshad’s suggestions are informed largely by the likelihood of getting the songs deleted, taking into account how many writers are involved in the song, who the publishing company is, and whether the stakeholders are forward-thinking or driven. by the lowest dollar.
“I also don’t want to take away from an artist who has a song in mind at the time,” she says. “’Sign of the Times’ was always on the card. There were several authors on it, but I had a feeling. I knew Steve would be able to knock it out of the park and it would sound superb. I felt the Harry Styles camp would agree. Sometimes you have to follow your instincts. If I had to shout and shout or beg and plead for a song, I wanted to do it for this one.
For his part, Harrison thought of the covers as an album project, for which he thought continuity would be key, and chose Horner as the sole composer. Coming from a musical background himself, Harrison is a natural communicator for what Delshad expressed as needed, bringing the picks to Horner and bridging the gap between creation and sync. The result is the eight-song album of string covers called “Parallel Lines”.
For each potential cover, Horner first listens to the melody of the original, imagining it translated to be played specifically on the cello. According to Horner, “In my thinking, the cello is the leader because it’s such a rich instrument and can have such a wide range. I imagine quite simply the melody played on a cello. If that felt awkward, I would pull out a cello sound, play it, and see what it sounded like.
“If the song passed that test,” he continues, “I’d wonder if I can really capture the emotion of the song. We choose great, really iconic pop songs. If I honestly think we can’t do them justice , it’s no use. We have to be able to feel the song with strings and without words.
For his cover of “Sign of the Times,” Horner used a combination of shorter sampled strings and longer played strings, which he performed, so to speak, using a breath controller, ” blowing the notes rather than bowing them”. It’s an organic and expressive way to create the string-in-the-box versions that have a lot of character. It’s a perfect match for the Regency period sounds of “Bridgerton”.
“I always ask them to send me pieces piecemeal when the songs are sort of ready, so I can hear the direction and I can say yes or no,” Delshad explains. “When they sent me ‘Sign of the Times’, I said, ‘I have to send this now.’ They said, ‘It’s not done’ and I said, ‘It’s okay.’ need.
Kamps’ first reaction upon hearing Horner’s not-quite-finished version of “Sign of the Times” was, “Oh my god! That’s wonderful. I have to bring this to the show. A different song was used when the scene was shot. But, by the time he got to the job, showrunner Chris Van Dusen had heard the cover of “Sign of the Times” and loved it for that scene.
Kamps says, “It really is a dazzling arrangement. The original Harry Styles song hooked me right away. Hearing how we use it on the show, that moment went through a lot of permutations, and I’m glad they landed on this one. It ended up being a perfect song for the moment she finds herself in.