SEATTLE – Released Friday, Harry Styles’ third and latest album, Harry’s House, was long awaited by fans from across the globe. The 13-track album draws on the singer-songwriter’s signature style while incorporating unique musical elements.
Sonically, this is Styles’ most coherent and distinct album yet. Many of the tracks resemble ‘70s funk and soul, creating a vibrant feel.
Paired with metaphorical and ambiguous lyrics, the album is perfect for summer road trips or bedroom dance parties.
But while Harry’s House may seem like just another eccentric pop record, the album is deeply intimate within its exploration of emotion. With the album’s title, Styles uses the metaphor of a house to paint a picture of his perspective on love.
Like the exterior of a house, the appearance of a person is the first thing others see. Through the lively, upbeat songs that make up most of the album, Styles reflects on the playful superficiality of new love.
The opening track, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” for example, is fun and dynamic. Drawing heavily from jazz and ‘70s funk, Styles asks for “just a little taste” – a desire for spirited lust that avoids the commitments of deep love.
“Daylight” is another track from outside the house. Expressing attachment and infatuation, the accompaniment is a contrast of laid-back pop and fierce electric guitar – a metaphor for the phases of emotional longing.
Similarly, Styles sings about “something to dream about” in “Daydreaming,” a track filled with sweet, mischievous lyrics about the rush of falling in love.
But the album has its fair share of deep cuts too, most of which are disguised as illusive ear candy. These tracks reflect what lies hidden inside the house – nostalgia, trauma, doubt, and fear – aspects of romance that aren’t always apparent to the outside spectator.
“As It Was,” the album’s lead single that was released nearly two months prior, is a perfect example of this.
While the song features a catchy chorus and a joyous, repetitive instrumental, Styles croons about the realizations of loss, loneliness, and inexplicable change. Lyrically, “As It Was” is one of the darkest and most introspective tracks on the album.
Other songs are more explicitly intimate, like “Matilda.”
Inspired by the Roald Dahl book of the same name, Styles has a conversation with now-adult Matilda, singing “nothing ‘bout the way you were treated ever seemed especially alarming ‘til now” – a nod to the all-too-common normalization of abuse.
While much of the album is sonically inspired by the ‘70s, “Keep Driving” is a lyrical reflection of the 2020s. Styles paints his life and relationship as an ongoing car ride, asking, “Should we just keep driving?” as the world falls apart around him.
Describing “Riot America” and “life hacks going viral in the bathroom,” “Keep Driving” describes the reality of the last two years and the anxiety of living in a crumbling world.
The album ends with “Love Of My Life,” an acoustic and moody song about finding true love, only after it is too late. Solemn and bittersweet, it ends the album on a poignant note.
Through songs from both inside and outside Style’s metaphorical house, Harry’s House explores the endless dimensions of love, longing, and change.
Diverse in both sound and lyrics, the album is a brilliant work that will forever hold a special place in fans’ hearts.
Jasmine Zhen is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.