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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

'Harry's House' feels like home

There are moments in life that feel unsubstantial.

But then, there’s the 10-second countdown to Harry Styles’ “As It Was,” music video. Personally, I know at least 10 people who were eagerly awaiting its arrival. Styles’ new album “Harry’s House,” was not just an elevation of his personal musical journey, but a landmark in the unique soft rock-pop genre.

The album emits whimsical vibes, accentuated by effortlessly picked guitar and rhythmic beats that set the tone and enrich the rock aspect of the genre. From the beginning of the first track, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” Harry introduces a playful vibe by insinuating that sushi is a perfect date food option since it’s as complex and layered as his lover. Throughout the album, he transitions from puppy love to a deeper and more vulnerable romance. This dynamic is clear through two of the album’s tracks “Little Freak” and “Matilda.”

In “Little Freak”, Harry sings about the initial stages of the relationship where you don’t know a person well yet but are still intrigued by them. The song was beautifully written in a third-person perspective with lyrics like “tracksuit and a ponytail you hide the body all that yoga gave you” and “you never saw my birthmark.” The lyrics show how often people fail to see beyond the initial impressions of their romantic partners and end up jumping feet-first into a relationship. These misconceptions often result in broken hearts, and as Harry suggests, “broken ankles.” 

This is contrasted with “Matilda,” an acoustic pop song including soft guitar. Here, Harry is reflective, trying to work through ideas from previously strained relationships and generate feelings of acceptance. The title reminds me of the book “Matilda” where the protagonist was rejected by her family for being magical but her teacher, Miss Honey, eventually believes and accepts her. Additionally, “Matilda” largely struck a chord with queer audiences who felt seen and comforted with the ending “You could start a family who will always show you love.” 

In a way, I think this contrast showcases how Harry has stopped taking life too seriously. However, he’s clearly demonstrating growth from his previous Playboy celebrity persona to a more mature and sensitive artist. Particularly, his reference to being over “whites and pinks” — the signature color for Victoria’s Secret — shows that he’s done dating models. 

Now, he’s writing about his speculated girlfriend, American actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde. In “Cinema,” he mentioned that he brings “pop to the cinema,” referring to their upcoming movie project “Don’t Worry Darling.” The Hollywood references continue in “Keep Driving” with references to a “black and white film camera.” Additionally, “Keep Driving” digs deeper into privacy problems the couple faced at the beginning of their relationship: As they “withheld clouds,” they just kept driving. 

With all of this media attention, he’s become increasingly aware of his fanbase. In “As It Was,” he playfully suggests that he “leave America” since his fans would like him to tour in places other than North America. (I stand firmly against this.) Regardless, it’s understandable he would miss his home in England. “Love Of My Life” is allegedly about the homesickness he experienced while touring around the world, ultimately reminding us that this is “Harry’s House” — and we’re just living in it. 

The former boyband member has managed to grow up. Through the exploration of his personal struggles, Styles has managed to make his house into a home. Despite this being his third solo album, he has managed to not lose his audience’s attention. We know he is going to continue outdoing himself with every album and surprising us with bops!

Album: “Harry’s House”

Artist: Harry Styles

Label: Columbia Records 

Favourite tracks: “Keep Driving,” “Grapejuice,” “Cinema”

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

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