Harry’s House – the third studio album by ex-One Directioner, Harry Styles – came out on May 20th. The long-anticipated album is finally here and many fans are already buying tickets to Styles’ upcoming album tour. Styles’ record is stylistic, atmospheric, and is aesthetically pleasing. It also is centered around the idea of home, as he explores relationships, from familial to romantic, and maintains a light, fun, and dreamy tone throughout the album. However, there is an underlying feeling of sadness and change, though it is well-hidden because of its summer and easy-going vibe. The album is like a chameleon, changing each time you listen to it. Nonetheless, Harry’s House contains a variety of bops and is undoubtedly Harry Styles’s most mature album yet.
The first track off the album is “Music For a Sushi Restaurant,” and in my opinion, is quite an ironic title. The song features a pop-synth beat and instrumentals, prominent bass and funk, as well as stacked vocal harmonies and scatting. This array of elements does not give me sushi restaurant vibes, but it is a great song. Moreover, many TikTok creators jokingly noticed the similarity to the intro song from Disney Channel’s “Ant Farm”. Most likely, it is a testament to Styles’ ability to create a nostalgic sound with his music.
Next, is “Late Night Talking,” which has a very catchy beat and melody. The synth instrumentals give it a disco-pop feel, and it is one of the songs on the album that keeps getting stuck in my head. The primary and most repeated lyric is, “If you’re feeling down, I just want to make you happier, baby.”
I was most excited to hear “Grapejuice,” the third track on the album, because I thought it was a fun and cute name. Though what I discovered was quite different from what I had expected, I was not disappointed. The track begins with distant sounds and chords and then you can hear Styles’s voice, muffled. Initially, when I listened to it, I thought it was a love song about a person, but soon realized that it is an ode to wine, the other love of his life. With lyrics like “grape juice blues,” many have speculated that this song may be Harry’s experience with being wine-drunk and hungover.
“As It Was” is the single that came out before the rest of the album, and became wildly popular because of its reminiscent qualities, from domestic metaphors to knowing “it’s not the same as it was.” This song was automatically a bop for me, so I listened to it on repeat when it first came out. Clearly, many other people felt similarly as the song topped charts all over the world, and reached number one on Billboard Hot 100. Because of that, I have heard a bit too much of it for the time being, but give it a couple weeks and I’ll be sure to be dancing to it in the summer.
Arguably one of the better songs on the album, “Daylight” is a strong ballad about love that incorporates a lot of electronic sounds throughout the song. However, the tune manages to stay soft and sweet with notable lyrics such as, “Dip you in honey so I could be sticking to you.” The food metaphors are still prevalent throughout the album, which gives the record a tinge of domesticity and a “home-y” feel to it.
My least favorite songs on the album are “Little Freak,” “Daydreaming,” and “Keep Driving.” The first two are fine, but not very memorable. The latter, however, I do not like at all because the storytelling is choppy and it felt out of place in the album. Overall, the song is a dud and I would not listen to it again.
In contrast, the 7th song on the album, “Matilda,” was a great display of Styles’s songwriting and storytelling abilities. The song reflects on family relationships and tells a story of growing up, realizing you’ve been broken, and moving on from those who hurt you. This song was most likely based on his real life experiences or people, but may also be an allusion to Roald Dahl’s “Matilda,” which is about a young girl who is neglected by her adoptive parents.
Another trending song on TikTok is “Cinema,” probably because of its allusions to mature subject matter. However, on the surface of the song, it does not seem like anything more than a fun, little tune with great bass and drums. This song is definitely catchy, because of the repetitiveness of the phrase, “You’ve got the cinema,” as a mantra.
The last three songs are also spectacular, maybe even my favorites on the whole album. “Satellite” starts out with galactic/space sounds, and then shifts to Harry Styles’s soft voice and different chords. Once the beat picks up, the song becomes very catchy with another mantra-like lyric: “Spinnin’ out, waitin’ for ya to pull me in. I can see you’re lonely down there, don’t you know that I am right here?” After a while, the song transitions to more of a rock style.
The next song, “Boyfriends,” begins with nonsense speaking, and then goes into Styles’s soft guitar strumming, which continues throughout the song. Also, the song highlights vocal stacks and harmonies amidst a compelling storyline. The song follows someone whose boyfriend is not good for them, and that they should know their worth and break it off with the boyfriend. Because of its emotional nature, the chords are slightly sad and melancholy.
Last, but certainly not least, is “Love Of My Life,” the strong love song that is a perfect ending to the album. The song introduces church choir-esque sounds that quickly become electronic, as well as a dark bass sound and/or electric guitar that continues throughout the song. The cool, electronic instrumentals juxtapose Styles’s sweet and earnest singing. The primary chorus of this song goes, “Baby, you were the love of my life,” and it reflects letting someone go and reminiscing on their relationship. The song concludes with a distant, old piano outro.
While I was not a Harry-fan prior to listening to Harry’s House, I highly appreciate his latest album and will be thoroughly enjoying these songs into the summer. I give this album a B+/A- and would recommend it to anyone who wants a good playlist for the summer.